As part of its commitment to central Maine’s children, the Rotary Club of Waterville created the Rhoda Reads Early Literacy Program. The club’s goal is to assist pre-school children up to age five and help them develop a passion for reading, a skill that is crucial for their future academic and vocational success.

Throughout 2013, Rotarians received training on how to read to young students and were matched with ‘reading buddies’ at childcare providers and preschools in the Waterville area. Each Rotarian was equipped with a tool kit that included a variety of books, along with a stuffed ‘Rhoda’ owl that serves as the program mascot.

As part of the literacy project, Rotary also asked Pulitzer Prize-winning Maine author Barbara Walsh to create a story that reflected the club’s commitment to community.  Walsh wrote “Rhoda’s Rescue,” a tale about an owl who uses her special powers to help her forest friends. The book is illustrated by Maine artist Abby Grieg.

Rhoda’s Rescue will be released to Rotarians and the public internationally in early October. The first book signing will be Sunday, October 5th, 2:00-5:00 pm Imageat Waterville’s Harvest Festival at Head of Falls. Following a reading by the author, both Walsh and Artist Grieg will sign books during the event.

“Rhoda’s Rescue” is also available online, in Maine book stores, and through Maine Authors Publishing at<> or 207-594-0091. For more information about the Rhoda Reads project, please contact the Rotary Club of Waterville<>