Literacy Mid-South's Choice Picks

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The year's not yet over, but it's not too early for Literacy Mid-South to announce its Books of Choice for 2015. They are, for adult readers, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (W.W. Norton) by Mary Roach (on what science knows of eating and digestion, including Elvis Presley's death); and for young readers, The Fourteenth Goldfish (Random House) by Jennifer L. Holm (a coming-of-age tale about an 11-year-old and her scientist grandfather, who's traveled back to being a teenager).

Literacy Mid-South's goal with its annual Books of Choice program: to get Mid-Southerners of all ages reading — and in 2015, reading about science.

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Thanks to funds provided by the International Paper Foundation, Literacy Mid-South will be distributing 600 free copies of The Fourteenth Goldfish to local schools, community organizations, and nonprofits in March 2015 to serve as a jumping-off point for reading groups. That's in addition to Literacy Mid-South distributing 5,000 other new books.

According to Kevin Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, "I personally have been a longtime fan of Mary Roach's work, so I was especially excited when this year's theme — science — was chosen and we could include her as one of our authors. Gulp is one those water-cooler books that will have everyone talking. It's fun and smart — and there's one chapter involving an eel in a dog's stomach that had my eyes bulging.

"When the publisher sent us an advanced reader copy of The Fourteenth Goldfish, I knew we had found our match," Dean added. "Not only is the story engaging for kids and families, the kids will learn about famous scientists along the way. Even though the book was written for kids (and is begging for a Disney show based on the premise!), I had a great time reading it. Families will have a fun time reading it together."

Look for Literacy Mid-South to be hosting several events in March for Read Across America Month, including, Dean said, science experiments for kids, special giveaways for book clubs, and a whole lot more. •

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