By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mayor Jack Reed Jr.’s education task force has plans to take Tupelo residents on a September field trip back to rural Mississippi during World War II to meet one of the best dogs ever.
Unveiled Monday, the mayor and a group of dedicated community readers announced this year’s book for the annual reading program, Tupelo Reads.
While the “trip” will be through a book, program organizers hope for everyone to go. The book this year is “My Dog Skip,” the critically acclaimed memoir by the late Mississippi author Willie Morris.
Set in Morris’ hometown area of Yazoo City, it tells of his experience as a nine-year-old with his dog as they learn about friendship, love, devotion and bravery.
“It’s a book that will appeal to old and young alike,” said Lisa Reed, the mayor’s wife and co-chair of the task force. She and about a half-dozen others selected the book from a field of 15 for the annual reading program, which combines community events with discussions related to the book.
Released in 1996, the book was made into a movie in 2000, a year after Morris’ death.
On Sept. 25, one of Willie Morris’ neighbors – former Gov. William Winter – will speak at the Lee County Library.
Other events include a public viewing of the film for a “movie night” at Fairpark. Mayor Reed also said the reading program will involve getting as many people as possible to bring their dogs to Tupelo’s Bark Park to set a record for the most dogs there at one time.
“We’re going to have a lot of fun with this,” Mayor Reed said.
Evie Boyd with the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi said the 100 kids at the local organization will participate in reading the book.
“It’s helpful for us to have students read as much as possible,” Boyd said.
Last year’s Tupelo Reads choice was the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Gilead.”