WAXAHACHIE — She’s back, has added rocks and is more popular than before.
Gaining momentum on her Facebook group, “Rocks-a-Hachie,” 12-year-old Jules Minyard has grown from 70 members to 1,873 since July and is now adding an interactive program with the Nicholas P. Sims Library.
“It’s so crazy that it’s gaining momentum and we’re kind of sitting back like, ‘It’s rocks, what’s going on,’” chuckled Tammy Minyard, mother of Jules. “After the interview with the Daily Light, she [Jules] did an interview with CW33 News, a Chick-Fil-A rock painting event, and an interview with the Ennis newspaper about her painting rocks and hiding them out in the community."
“So she’s kind of out of her element, but she’s gained so much confidence from this and has currently started this new program with the library called ‘Reading Rocks,’” she added.
“I really wanted kids like me who struggle with reading to go to the library,” Jules expressed her reason for starting the program. “So I thought it would be cool to have a picture on a rock that matches a book.”
As stated in a previous Daily Light article, the object of the rock finding quest is simple — paint a rock, hide the rock through clues on Facebook, and seek it out to either re-hide or take home.
Now adding an educational element, Holly Browning, the children’s librarian and community liaison at the library, went on to explain how the game works.
“So we decided in order to get a rock you have to check out a book, so hopefully that helps kids with their reading through these really awesome rocks, and you go and hide it for someone to find,” Browning began.
“And if you find a rock, you come to the library and collect your prize, and can either check out a book of the rock character you found, or hide another rock for someone else to find. So it’s not judging a book by its cover but judging by its rock,” she laughed.
What began as a need to see more kids in the library, Jules developed the idea, extending the game throughout the school semester and across Waxahachie with the tag of the library’s seal on the back of each character rock.
“The library is a very popular place for people to hide rocks and is a safe place to go, especially during the summer because of summer reading and all of their programs,” Minyard recognized. “And since school has started we’ve noticed when we go that there’s hardly anyone there.”
“So Jules was like, ‘We should paint rocks with book characters and see if the library will let us hide them.’ So I talked to the library about it, and Holly was extremely receptive, and she was like, ‘I love this idea, let me talk with the other librarian’s.’ So a week later they said yes, and it’s been going since the beginning of October,” she included.
Asking a couple of artists to help with the project, Browning notes how the project has been gaining traction through all ages.
“The first person to find a rock was a lady who was walking her cat around the courthouse, and it was a ‘Pete the Cat’ rock, which is really ironic," Browning chuckled. "And she brought it in and got a price for returning it.”
“Since then, almost all of our rocks are out somewhere hidden, and we’ve had students coming in and collecting their prizes while also checking out a book. So it’s been great,” she affirmed.
With a compilation of 60 story rocks, the characters range from Clifford the Big Red Dog to Narnia, The Magic School Bus, and countless more, giving locals one more reason to love reading.
“The main reason we started this was to spread joy, and this just adds to it,” Minyard noted. “All of these ideas are Jules', but I think one of her goals was to get kids back into the library and to say that its open all year and not just in the summer.”
“Maybe if books had matching rocks, maybe kids would be more apt to go to the library, or out to find a book rock - and I think she was right,” she added.
“I hope other kids like me will like this because it’s a lot of fun,” Jules concluded.
To connect with Rocks-a-Hachie Facebook group, search “Rocks-A-Hachie” in the search bar and click “Join.”
To contact the Nicholas P. Sims Library, visit simslib.org or call (972)-937-2671.