Malcolm Mitchell reads to children at the Sandy Springs library branch with Robin Perry, director of Coca-Cola Collaboration Centers. (Claudia Strange/Fulton County Library System)

Malcolm Mitchell went from the gridiron to the library, taking time on a recent Saturday to read his latest children’s book to kids at the Sandy Springs Library Branch.

Mitchell is an NFL Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots and a University of Georgia football alumnus. He shifted his career to that of poet, author, and youth literacy advocate after retiring from the NFL due to knee injuries. He visited the library branch on Mount Vernon Highway as part of the ReadCamp competition.

“I was honored to read my book ‘Hey Georgia’ to the kids and families at Sandy Springs Library. Congratulations to the branch for its outstanding performance in my Foundation’s READCamp program,” Mitchell said. “Thank you Fulco Libraries for offering a top-notch experience. Keep reading.”

Mitchell read aloud from his book along with Robin Perry, director of Coca-Cola Collaboration Centers.

“Kids were able to tackle the Summer Slide with Head Coach Malcolm Mitchell this summer as part of the Library System’s Summer Reading Program. The Sandy Springs Library was the overall champ among library branches in Fulton County, earning them this special honor,” said Claudia Strange, spokesperson for the Fulton County Library System, in a release.

Children and their parents asked him how he came up with the ideas for his books and what was next for him as an author.

Mitchell started with an icebreaker in which he learned everyone’s favorite candy and where they are from before starting to read from his book.

He created the Share the Magic Foundation and Read with Malcolm, a youth literacy initiative. One of the sponsored programs was ReadCamp, a free, virtual summer reading training camp for children in Pre-K to 8th-grade classes.

The library system continues activities with kids in 2023 with ReadBowl. This free reading competition pits kids in PK-8 aged teams around the globe in reading for the most minutes, Strange said in her release. The competition starts on Jan. 9, the day of the American College Football National Championship. It culminates with a live crowning of the World Champions of Reading on the morning of the National Football League’s (NFL) Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 12.

Children and parents join with Malcolm Mitchell after he read from his latest children’s book. (Claudia Strange/Fulton County Library System)

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.