TUPELO – Residents will come together this month for a series of events celebrating the Willie Morris book “My Dog Skip.”
They include a student art show, a public movie showing and a keynote address by a former governor.
The 1995 book by the late Mississippi author is the subject of this year’s third annual “Tupelo Reads!” program. The goal is for residents of diverse ages and backgrounds to read the book and then join together for several events.
“We really want people to read the book,” said Lisa Reed, chairwoman of the Tupelo Reads committee. “It is a sweet, poignant book about growing up during the war (World War II) in Mississippi and the touching story of the dog.”
The program culminates on Wednesday, Sept. 25 with a keynote address by former Gov. William Winter, who will speak at the “Lunching With Books” event at the Tupelo Public Library between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Winter, who once lived next to Morris, will speak about both the book and the man.
Two events will precede Winter’s remarks. The Rev. Paul Stephens of All Saints’ Episcopal Church will hold a “blessing of the dogs” at Tupelo’s Bark Park near Veterans Park at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15.
That will be followed by a “Downtown Double Header” on Friday, Sept. 20. Fifth-grade students from Lawndale Elementary will create artwork based on the book and display it at the GumTree Museum of Art, with a reception beginning that night at 6:30.
Later that evening, the 2000 movie based upon the book will be shown at Fairpark, beginning at 7:30.
All events are free and open to the public.
“The whole vision of this is to promote literacy and to celebrate it,” said former Mayor Jack Reed Jr., Lisa Reed’s husband and a member of the committee.
Members of the Tupelo Boys & Girls Club read the book during the summer, and two Tupelo schools included it on their summer reading lists. Tupelo High School also will have an essay/film competition based upon the book.
Past books in the program were “Tuesdays With Morrie” and “Gilead.”
At A Glance
THIS YEAR’S “Tupelo Reads!” book is “My Dog Skip.” There will be three community events this month:
• Blessing of the Dogs, Sunday, Sept. 15, Tupelo Bark Park, 4 p.m.
• Downtown Double Header, Friday, Sept. 20: Student art show and reception, GumTree Museum of Art, 6:30 p.m.; Movie in the Park, Fairpark, 7:30 p.m.
• Keynote by William Winter, Wednesday, Sept. 25, Tupelo Public Library, 11:30 to 1 p.m.