A Day for the Books with Malcolm Mitchell

By Kim Myers, Get Troup Reading Director

Smiles, laughter, and sunshine were just some of the reasons Nov. 9 was such a special day as Get Troup Reading, a Get Georgia Reading Campaign community, and the Troup County School System hosted children’s book author, Super Bowl-winning football player, and UGA alumnus Malcolm Mitchell to Troup County.

Mitchell, who created a youth literacy initiative called Read with Malcolm and established Share the Magic Foundation to transform lives through literacy, kicked off the day by speaking at the Early Bird Chamber of Commerce Breakfast. He shared his story of growing up in Valdosta where he experienced many of the same problems students in Troup County experience today.

He then visited the three area high schools and hosted a Reading Rally with second graders. Each student was given their own copy of Malcolm’s book, The Magician’s Hat, as they entered the sports facility to participate in a high energy pep rally for reading with the band, cheerleaders, and student-athletes cheering them on as they entered.

The day ended with the first-ever Get Troup Reading Family Festival at Southbend Park. More than a dozen community organizations focused on our community’s family and children were on hand to distribute information about their programs. Kona Ice, Crave Cookies, Kimble’s, and New Ventures provided food and drink to all in attendance.

Kids enjoyed face painting, balloon animals, and a bike giveaway sponsored by Pedal Forward of Hogansville. Four hundred copies of Mitchell’s newest book, My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World, were given away to Troup County students.

The highlight of the beautiful fall afternoon was when Mitchell walked onto the grassy field filled with eager children and autographed copies of the book. He spoke to everyone who stood in line to talk with him while also engaging local kids in running out for passes with footballs they brought for him to sign.

Mitchell’s visit was not only an inspiration for the kids he talked with but also the teachers, business leaders, and parents that he shared his smile and story with that day. The Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading Grant (L4GA), Troup County School System, Magnolia Society of The United Way, and all of the local vendors and sponsors made the day a success.