In 2021, the First Lady and her team began considering an initiative that would make a positive impact on Mississippi’s kids.
While many ideas were considered, developing a coloring book that encourages positive attributes while learning about this great state won the hearts of the team.
Working with subject matter experts, Fred the Turtle was born. The First Lady and her team developed and published an activity book that helps develop positive attributes, teaches about different communities in Mississippi, and is fun to color and share.
On March 1, 2022, First Lady Elee Reeves held a press conference at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion announcing her “Fred the Turtle” initiative.
Fred the Turtle is the story of a turtle from the Mississippi Gulf Coast who finds himself on a unique journey with one of Mississippi’s finest, Fisherman Jimmy, on a voyage across the Hospitality State.
After getting trapped in a fishing net and landing in the back of Fisherman Jimmy’s pickup truck at a dock in Biloxi, Fred and Jimmy travel throughout the state visiting several of its famous attractions- attractions like the Max Center in Meridian, the BB King Museum in Indianola, and our State Capitol in Jackson.
Throughout his road-trip, Fred asks students to take part in a variety of fun activities, such as coloring, a word search puzzle, a maze, and connect the dots.
More importantly, Fred poses a series of questions designed to encourage students to take part in “engaging and thought-provoking conversations” that are “critical to child development and problem-solving skills.”
These questions and conversations will help students to self-reflect and develop lifelong skills like coping with fear, the importance of a healthy lifestyle, developing self-confidence, and goalsetting.
The books will be delivered in five school districts across the state- South Delta, Claiborne County, Kemper County, Natchez-Adams, and Jefferson County.
Each book comes with a pack of crayons to help Fred complete his journey.
Fred was inspired by the First Lady’s childhood imaginary friend and Fisherman Jimmy was inspired by her dad.
Special Thanks to partners who made this possible: Hope Rising Mississippi, The Cirlot Agency, Department of Human Services Executive Director Bob Anderson and Dr. Chad Allgood, Child Protective Services Commissioner Andrea Sanders, Mississippi Department of Education and State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright, the First Lady’s Chief of Staff Ann Beard, along with Nicole Banes, Lydia Bethay, Jill Dent, Vicki Lowery, Shaquita Mallet, and Alicia Westbrook