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Byrd Baylor books at heart of kid-friendly 'monsoon literacy' event at Fox Theatre

Byrd Baylor books at heart of kid-friendly 'monsoon literacy' event at Fox Theatre

Fans of Byrd Baylor — kids and grown-ups alike — can celebrate the late Tucson author's works and the Sonoran Desert at the "Monsoon Literacy Celebration" at the Fox Theatre on Sunday.

The free event, 2-4 p.m., will feature story time and literary activities for kids ages four to 10, such as writing poetry inspired by Baylor's works, as well as EcoKids activity kits and desert-themed stickers provided by Pima County. Plus, they'll be able to meet Kit the Fox, the mascot for the Fox, and Boomer the Bear, mascot for Bear Essential News.

The program will be "a joyful celebration of literacy and our home in the Sonoran Desert amidst the glorious monsoon season," organizers said.

The event will also include a screening of the Academy Award-nominated animated short film "The Gruffalo," based on the Julia Donaldson book. Segments of the movie "Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert" interwoven with recordings of Baylor reading some of her work, will also be on the Fox's big screen.

The author and environmental activist Baylor died in June 2021. She was an essayist and novelist, but her picture books for children have garnered her popularity and affection. Her written work showcases the Southwest, the vibrancy of the Sonoran Desert and Native American culture.

Nature is the most prominent theme in her books, such as "Everybody Needs a Rock." Baylor was the recipient of Caldecott Honors for a trio of books she wrote and had illustrated by Peter Parnall, "The Desert is Theirs," "Hawk, I'm Your Brother" and "The Way to Start a Day." The event — sponsored by the county's Clean Air Program — has been created to honor her and her work.

Bianca Morales is’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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fox theatre, literacy, monsoon, pdeq

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