Patricia Neely-Dorsey represents pure Mississippi adoration. Not only does she promote a positive image through speaking engagements, but also through poetry and most recently in a children’s book. In 2015, Gov. Phil Bryant named Neely-Dorsey an Official Goodwill Ambassador for Mississippi. “I speak about Mississippi to schools, libraries, civic organizations, everybody, even a lamppost who will hear me,” Neely-Dorsey said laughing. This role is only an extension of how she has educated others about The Magnolia State from her college days at Boston University until now. “The things people think about Mississippi sometimes are ridiculous. People would ask me, ‘Do you have air conditioning? Do you have shoes?’ And I’d say, ‘Yeah, we’ve got shoes. We might not wear them all the time, but we’ve got them.’” Neely-Dorsey wrote “Meet My Mississippi” after realizing each of her poems contained elements of her home state, but none of them encompassed all the different aspects about the place she holds so dear. This prompted her to express all the many positive characteristics of Mississippi in one poem. “Meet My Mississippi” was published in Neely-Dorsey’s book, “Mississippi in Me.” She was then encouraged by readers to have it named as the state poem. The poem went before the House Tourism Committee in 2016, 2017, and 2018, but the bill did not make it out of committee. Since then, Neely-Dorsey has added more to the poem, which will go back into committee in January 2019. “What has been added is now in the children’s book, and I am so excited about it. I say that it is like spreading Mississippi-love across generations.” Neely-Dorsey speaks regularly at schools from kindergarten through twelfth-grade. By turning the poem into a children’s book, she felt she could better reach this audience. “Now with the book being in this form, having pictures to go along with it, it feels like a Mississippi road trip. Even kindergarteners who can’t read yet, they can look at the pictures or sit down with their grandparents and can see these places, and know that we just have a wealth of everything in Mississippi,” Neely-Dorsey said. “I wanted something that would capture the imagination, and attention, and have them say, ‘I love this.’ And I thought it was a wonderful avenue to help the poem get where it needs to go, because if it got in every home, and if the kids loved the poem and used the poem, then maybe the legislatures will see that we have something here that is a teachable moment for our children and for the world.” “Meet My Mississippi” was published by Liberation’s Publishing, LLC in West Point. Local Guntown resident Brenda Ragsdale illustrated the book. “No one could have done it like she did. She made my vision come alive,” said Neely-Dorsey. Signed copies of “Meet My Mississippi” are available at Tupelo Trophy and Gifts. Books may also be purchased at Barnes and Noble, as well as Amazon. For more information on Neely-Dorsey’s books and making “Meet My Mississippi” the state poem, visit www.patricianeelydorsey.com.