Kathryn Richardson Hood, EdS is an Ole Miss alum, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist in private practice in Oxford. She is the author of a series of illustrated educational and entertaining children’s books to help parents and children understand childhood mental health issues and how play therapy can help.
Last year, Kathryn Richardson Hood released Ole Miss From A to Z, which takes each letter of the alphabet and tells a story about Ole Miss. She’s sold nearly 1,000 copies; in fact, she says, Barnes & Noble on the Ole Miss campus informed her at homecoming that it was their best selling children’s title.
The success prompted Hood to her next project: an Ole Miss-themed activity book to more actively engage young readers. Hood’s new Ole Miss Activity Book, illustrated by Ariane O’Pry, and its accompanying CD are now available at shops in Oxford, Memphis, Jackson, and other towns in Mississippi.
“I came up with the idea of the Activity Book as a way to reinforce the information about Ole Miss and Oxford that was included in Ole Miss from A to Z in a fun way,” Hood says. “Then I decided to include even more things about Ole Miss that I think would be beneficial for future Rebels to know, like the Fight Song, the g-rated version of Hotty Toddy, and the inspirational story of Chucky Mullins.”
Once Hood got rolling making up the crosswords, word scrambles, word searches, and other activities for the book, she decided to include information about the SEC, such as SEC school team names, hometowns, colors, and mascots.
“I included activities about baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, track, and soccer. Those activities test and at the same time teach children’s knowledge of the main terms used in each of these sports,” Hood says.
“It is a wonderful way of alumni sharing their deep loyalty and love for Ole Miss with the children in their lives,” she says. “Ole Miss from A to Z teaches children about the history, traditions, famous people, and places associated with Ole Miss in verse—using rhythm and rhyme, like Mother Goose. It is a wonderful way for children to enjoy learning.”
Even for non-Ole Miss fans, Hood says the book makes a great gift for the Rebels in the family.
“When I was signing books at Mistletoe with the Olde Tyme Commissary (in Jackson), a young girl’s mother, who was an avid Mississippi State fan, frowned at me and my book as she was passing my location. The girl picked up the book and started to read it. Her mother, who had no interest whatsoever in a children’s book about Ole Miss, hurried her along. Later the little girl came back dragging her mother with her and used her own money to purchase the book for her cousin who loves Ole Miss.”
Red and Blues
Included in Ole Miss Activity Book is a song on CD titled “Ole Miss Rebel Blues.” She penned the lyrics and enlisted several local musical talents to round out the song.
“I am a child therapist and have always believed in the power of art and music to get through to the emotions of children,” Hood says. “The song started out as a song just for children about Ole Miss with verses they could add movement to. It includes verses about Hotty Toddy, Fins Up, Lock the Vaught, and Red and Blue. I started out by writing the words to the song to an old blues tune which I had seen a teacher use with his Kids Love Blues Band.”
A chance encounter with a local musician led to the development of the song.
“I was looking for a musician to sing and play the song at my first book signing at the campus bookstore during last year’s Missouri game day,” says Hood. “I was leaving the music building empty-handed at the same time a young man was leaving. I didn’t know him or anything about him, but I stopped him and asked him if he could play and sing the blues. It was Silas Reed of Silas Reed N Da Books.
“He brought his guitar and speakers and we had a jam session in the bookstore, where people joined in singing and dancing to the “Ole Miss Rebel Blues.” Now I have a professionally done CD of the song with some of the area’s top musicians playing and singing on it. I would especially like to mention Damein Wash, who is the vocalist on the song, who also sang on a song called “So Long” that won in the R&B category in the American Songwriting Awards this year.”
Other musicians on the recording of “Ole Miss Rebel Blues” include Bryan Ward, Ricky Burkhead, Mark Yacavone and Buki.
For more information, visit KathrynHoodBooks.com.
Tad Wilkes is HottyToddy.com lifestyles editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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