Well Read: UWG’s Children’s Book Continues to Delight Thousands
Monday, June 5th, 2023
Today’s mascots are more than just a person inside a costume. Take the University of West Georgia’s Wolfie for example. Since his introduction in 2006, he has evolved into an identity for the institution and a positive means to promote community and celebrate the joy of the college experience.
And in 2021, Wolfie got the opportunity to tell his origin story when he – along with help from some of his closest friends – wrote a popular children’s book, “Wolfie Finds His Howl,” and hit the road on a highly anticipated book tour to schools, libraries and other special locations.
“Part of being a first-choice university is ensuring you win the hearts and minds of young people, and while this is a children’s book, we have discovered that it’s also a resounding success with adults, as well,” said Dr. Tressa Kelly, UWG’s first lady who spearheaded the “Wolfie Finds His Howl” project. “Telling the story of how Wolfie came to be our mascot is a great opportunity to remind young and old of what the University of West Georgia is all about: being a place of belongingness, connectedness and becoming the person you want to be.”
In the past 18 months, Kelly and Wolfie have traversed nearly 1,000 miles through six Georgian counties to participate in readings and deliver books to children ranging from preschool through second grade and their families. As the daughter of educators, Kelly knows firsthand the difference this makes in childhood literacy.
“Children who learn to read at grade level by third grade enjoy a far higher rate of academic success than those who don’t,” she informed. “Putting books into the hands of young children not only provides an opportunity for bonding with a parent or caregiver over a good story, but it also helps establish a habit of reading for information or the sheer pleasure of it.”
It is estimated that nearly 5,000 children and their families have participated in “Wolfie Finds His Howl” community visits, with more on the horizon in the 2023-24 academic year. Kelly added that 100 percent of the book’s proceeds support student scholarships at UWG.
“All proceeds of ‘Wolfie Finds His Howl’ go directly into the UWG scholarship fund so that generations of Wolves – maybe even the young readers who enjoy this book – will benefit from the educational experience that UWG provides,” she concluded. “We just want them to have an affinity to the university and bring them into the Pack from the very beginning.”