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Amarillo Reads club kicks off

'Cold Sassy Tree' selected

By Bruce Beck
bruce.beck@amarillo.com

In the works for months, Amarillo Reads has settled on "Cold Sassy Tree" as its first communitywide book club selection.

Amarillo Reads, part of the Celebrate Education program spearheaded by the Amarillo Globe-News and its corporate partners, officially kicked off with a celebration Thursday at the Central Library.

Celebrate Education is a yearlong program designed to bring awareness to and begin to address the issues of raising the education level of the Amarillo workforce.

"Reading is good for you," said Mayor Debra McCartt. "A lot of thought went into selecting 'Cold Sassy Tree.' It contains a good lesson, and it's one that would be enjoyable to all ages. It has lasting appeal, and I hope you'll join me (in reading the book)."

"Cold Sassy Tree," by Olive Ann Burns, tells of the passions and intrigues of the people who populate a small Georgia town whose sense of propriety is challenged.

McCartt admitted she's not a reader by nature but "really enjoyed 'Cold Sassy Tree.' "

Celebrate Education and Amarillo Reads are yearlong initiatives, she said.

"I think we've picked the perfect book (to begin with)," McCartt said.

The novel's selection came independently of the announcement that the Amarillo Opera would stage a version of "Cold Sassy Tree" on April 26 at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts.

"This couldn't have worked any better, now that the Opera's doing this," said Les Simpson, publisher of the Globe-News.

For the next month or so, the branches of the Amarillo Public Library will have events tied to "Cold Sassy Tree" to enhance the experience and make the communitywide effort more enjoyable, said Stacy Yates of the library.

McCartt also will be at Hastings Books, Music & Entertainment, 2001 S. Georgia St., at 10 a.m. Saturday to share coffee, talk about books and encourage participation in Amarillo Reads.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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