Entire City Encouraged to Read One Book

It's the everyone is reading this month: "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" by Dr. Yvonne Thornton. It's a true life story of two African-American parents struggling to send their children to college. The book was selected for this year's African-American Read-In festival.

Hundreds of students from seven different schools participated in this year's Read-In Festival. Derien Rivers says he likes "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" already. "From what I read in the book it seems like it'll be a great book," says Rivers. "The events and things that occur and the passages are exciting."

Students from across the city met Monday for the African-American Read-In Festival at the University of Memphis. It's an organized effort to combat illiteracy. Illiteracy is a problem in our community according to Kay Shelton who works with Mid-South Reads. She says "yes literacy is low. Literacy is an issue, it always will be. But Memphis has been doing something about it over the years."
Mid-South Reads isn't just doing something. The group is doing a lot to combat illiteracy. They partnered with the African-American Read-In Festival and teamed up with the Commercial Appeal to bring excerpts of "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" to the Mid-South. The group's ultimate goal is to reach people who normally would not pick up a book. It seems to be working. "People were reading, people were talking about reading and people were reading to each other. That's what we're in this for," says Shelton.

You can meet Dr. Thornton and have your copy of "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" signed. She'll speak to students and sign books Friday, February 17th at the Memphis Public Library at 4:00pm. The community is invited for a second session at 7:00pm.