Historical novel “Before We Were Yours” selected as 2019 Mansfield Reads! book

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The Friends of the Mansfield Public Library has selected “Before We Were Yours,” a heart-wrenching tale of familial challenges by bestselling author Lisa Wingate, as the 2019 Mansfield Reads! book.

Mansfield Reads! is an annual “One City, One Book” program that promotes literacy and a sense of community by encouraging everyone in Mansfield to read the same book at the same time.

“We are very excited to have such a popular author this year and expect to have a huge crowd,” said Yolanda Botello, director of library services at the Mansfield Public Library. “The Friends of the Library always do such an amazing job organizing Mansfield Reads! and supporting the library as a whole”

The Mansfield Public Library and the Friends are partnering to provide free programs related to the book selection leading up to the main event, Evening with the Author.

“Before We Were Yours” follows 12-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings as they navigate a life on their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat in 1939 Memphis, Tenn. When their mother is rushed to a hospital one stormy night, disaster strikes and the children find themselves separated from their parents and placed in the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. The children quickly realize the dark truth about their situation and fight to stick together. The book also follows the enlightened journey of Avery Stafford in modern day Aiken, S.C. A chance encounter leads Avery down the path of her own family history. “Before We Were Yours” is based on the real-life dubious operations of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker and New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels. She has been honored or nominated for several awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Carol Award and the Christy Award.  “Before We Were Yours” remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for more than a year, was Publishers Weekly No. 3 longest-running bestseller of 2017 and was voted by readers as the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award winner for historical fiction. “Before We Were Yours” has to date has sold more than a million copies and has been optioned for a film by MGM Studios, according to Wingate’s official Facebook author page.

The Friends are hosting Wingate on Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m. at the Summit High School Performing Arts Center. At the Mansfield Reads! Evening with the Author, Wingate will speak about “Before We Were Yours,” answer questions from the audience and sign books. It’s a free event, however registration is required. Registration opens on March 15 at 10 a.m. The Friends are offering early registration for those attending the Mansfield Reads! Kick-Off.

The Mansfield Reads Kick-Off, is 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Taphouse 16 inside Market Street. The event will preview upcoming Reads programs and include an exhibit by the Mansfield Historical Museum on the history behind the story and provide on-site early registration for the Evening with the Author. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be provided as well as a chance to win prizes.  The Mansfield Reads Kick-Off is sponsored by Market Street and the Mansfield Commission for the Arts.

The Friends of the Mansfield Public Library, founded in 1965, is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the library through fundraising, promotion and advocacy. The Friends use any money they raise to purchase materials for the library that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. They also fund the annual, citywide Mansfield Reads! program.

For more information about upcoming Mansfield Reads programing and to register for Evening with the Author event visit  http://mansfieldlibraryfriends.org/reads/2019-mansfield-reads/

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