The Lafayette County Literacy Council is partnering with area schools to bring the Those Darn Squirrels, by New York Times bestselling author Adam Rubin, to life for area first graders March 18-25. The program is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council as well as sponsorships from Junior Auxiliary, Tatiana Petrovsky, and Square Books.
As part of the Children’s Book Festival hosted by the Oxford Conference for the Book, author Adam Rubin will speak to first graders from Oxford Elementary School, Lafayette Elementary School and Oxford University School on Wednesday, March 25, at The Gertrude Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The week before, The Literacy Council will deliver nearly 600 copies of Those Darn Squirrels to the schools so that each child can have his or her own copy. Fliers sent home to parents share information about the program and ways they can use the book to encourage their child to read. On March 18 and 19, a week of school activities planned around the book will be kicked off by Lafayette County Literacy Council volunteers, who will put on a parade and puppet show before reading the book to classes.
“This event is designed to turn local first-graders into lifelong readers by bringing a great children’s book to life,” says Meridith Wulff, director of the Lafayette County Literacy Council. “Thanks to this partnership between the Literacy Council, the schools, the Book Conference and our sponsors, we’re able to give every first grader a copy of this extraordinary book, incorporate it in fun and engaging ways into the curriculum for a week, and then provide the kids with the rare opportunity to hear the author speak and answer their questions.”
Those Darn Squirrels, which received a Borders Original Voices Award as well as starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, tells the story of Old Man Fookwire, a grump who only likes to paint pictures of birds that visit his backyard. The problem is, they fly south every winter, leaving him sad and lonely. So he decides to get them to stay by putting up beautiful birdfeeders filled with seeds and berries. Unfortunately, the squirrels like the treats, too, and make a daring raid on the feeders. The conflict escalates—until the birds depart and the squirrels come up with a plan that charms the old grump.