“Manners, courtesy, civility, good sportsmanship are lessons in life itself, not just at a football game,” Smith said.
Licensed by the appropriate colleges, the series includes “Hairy Dawg’s Game Day Rules” and “Buzz’s Game Day Rules” along with books with University of Alabama, Auburn University and the entire SEC.
“A mascot escorts a child through game day that includes an encounter with their rival,” said Smith, a former attorney with the law firm of Troutman, Sanders in Atlanta. In 2000, Smith was hired by the legal department of the Coca-Cola Company.
Smith’s parents encouraged the love of reading in her.
“I grew up in an environment where my parents invested a lot of time in me and my siblings, instilling a love of reading. They read to us all the time. We all grew up to be readers. That type of influence helped me to be the person I am,” she said.
Smith shared the love of reading, often tutoring and reading to children in the community.
In November 2007, shortly after marrying Charles Smith, she was diagnosed with cancer. Smith turned to reading as a means to heal after learning her illness was chronic in October 2010. Her life transformed from corporate attorney to author to philanthropist.
“I became a mystery reader (at the school of a colleague’s child). It helped me to start getting back out in the world again, to read to children again. It gave me something to think about other than what was going on in my personal life. It was very healing to me to reach out to small children,” she said.
Around the same time, Auburn University defeated Smith’s alma mater University of Alabama in the Iron Bowl in 2010. Afterwards, an angry fan poisoned famous oak trees that were more than 100 years old on Auburn’s campus at a celebration area.
“I was appalled, mortified, embarrassed. I felt really sad. It was a place that I felt memories were made and traditions started. It was a very hurtful thing to do,” Smith said.
Smith realized children emulate what adults do.
“They see how we respond to a situation. We can set an example for good or we can set an example for bad. (The Auburn situation) did not show how to handle a loss with grace,” she said.
Drawing from the experience, Smith found her inspiration to write the series. Though Smith undergoes chemotherapy five times a week, while expanding her series, she finds time to volunteer with the American Cancer Care Foundation.
On Sept. 25, 2013, the American Society of Radiation Oncology awarded Smith the 2013 Survival Circle Award for her contributions to the Atlanta cancer community. At the ceremony attended by 11,000 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Smith received the award that included a $1,000 grant that she donated to the Atlanta Cancer Care Foundation.
For more information, visit gamedayrules.com. “Game Day Rules” is available wherever books are sold.