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One Book, One Community

One Book, One Community is a grass-roots reading initiative that strives to create conversation and bridge differences through the shared experience of reading the same book. By creating conversation, we discover that we have more in common with each other than we think!

2024 One Book, One Community Title:
"Things Seen From Above" by Shelley Pearsall

Author Shelley Pearsall

A shift in perspective can change everything.

April is looking for an escape from the sixth-grade lunch hour, which has become a social-scene nightmare, so she signs up to be a “buddy bench monitor” for the fourth graders’ recess.

Joey Byrd is a boy on the fringes, who wanders the playground alone, dragging his foot through the dirt. But over time, April realizes that Joey isn’t just making random circles. When you look at his designs from above, a story emerges… Joey’s “bird’s eye” drawings reveal what he observes and thinks about every day.

Told in alternating viewpoints–April’s in text and Joey’s mostly in art–the story gives the “whole picture” of what happens as these two outsiders find their rightful places.

Shelley Pearsall is the author of seven nationally recognized books for middle grade and teen readers. She is a passionate believer in the power of books to build bridges and start conversations. Her novels are used in classrooms and libraries nationwide, and they have been translated into multiple languages.

Shelley’s novel, THINGS SEEN FROM ABOVE, features a neurodiverse boy with a unique visual gift. It was an Amazon Book of the Month pick in 2020. Her earlier novels have been recognized by numerous school and library associations. TROUBLE DON’T LAST received the prestigious Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2003. THE SEVENTH MOST IMPORTANT THING was an ALA Notable Book selection along with ALL OF THE ABOVE, which was named a 2020 Mathical Honor Book for its math themes and connections.

Other awards and nominations include: ILA Teacher’s Choice, Junior Library Guild, Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year, ALSC Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Booklist Editor’s Choice, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, BCCB Blue Ribbon Book, Notable Social Studies Trade Book, along with numerous state reading award nominations.

Before becoming a full-time author, Shelley taught in Ohio’s public schools and worked as a museum educator where she created museum theater events and educational programs. She holds a master’s in education (M.Ed). Over the last 20 years, Shelley’s guest author visits and writing workshops have reached more than a quarter-million students around the world. Currently, Shelley and her husband Mike divide their time between Scotland and the US (Ohio). Shelley is represented by Writers House agent, Steven Malk. Visit Shelley’s websites for more details: www.shelleypearsall.com and www.onebookoneday.com.

2023 Writing Contest Winners

Contest Sponsored By: Tuscarawas County Writers Guild

September 1 through October 6

Contest Submission Details:

Essay Theme: Who was your greatest influencer?

In 3,000 words or less, tell us how about who was your greatest influencer. Submissions must be typed and double space. Submit three (3) copies of your story. Cover page must contain contact information: name, age group, address, phone number, story title, and word count. Pages of story must be numbered and contain the story title. Do not put your name on the story pages because we are doing “blind” judging.

Entries must be postmarked no later than Friday, October 6, 2023, to be considered for the contest.

Mail Submission To:
Tuscarawas Co. Writers Guild
461 Robinson Drive SE
New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Contest Open To: Grades 9 through 12 grade and adults

Prizes (for adults and students): Cash prizes awarded to the top three teens and the top three adults.  

Winners announced at the events on Monday, November 6, 2023, at Kent State Tuscarawas.

2023 One Book, One Community Programs & Events

Book Clubs Discussions Community List

Continuous Book Club
Tusky Branch – 209 South Main Street, Tuscarawas
September: Views from the Hot Seat by Michael Gunther
Read the monthly book selection then come in and rate the novel 1 to 5 stars.

Girls’ Night Out Book Club
Main Library – 121 Fair Avenue, New Phila
Thursday, September 14 at 6:00PM

Strasburg Book Discussion
Strasburg Branch – 356 Fifth Street SW, Strasburg
Thursday, September 14 at 6:30PM

Afternoon Book Discussion
Main Library – 121 Fair Avenue, New Phila
Thursday, September 19 at 1:30PM

Teen Tuesday at Dover Library
Thursday, September 26 at 3:00PM
Tell Your Story: Write or tell a story using ideas from random
story generators like the Story-Matic game. Free snacks will be served!

Chautauqua Book Club
Deis Hill Park  (Dover City Park)
Thursday, September 28 at 12:00PM

After Hours Book Club Meeting and Book Month Block Party   
Gnaden Library
Thursday, October 12, 2023 at 5:00pm
Michael Gunther will be the guest speaker.

Murder Mystery Book Club
Sugarcreek Branch – 120 South Broadway, Sugarcreek
Monday, October 16 at 11:00AM

Bolivar Book Club
Bolivar Branch – 455 West Water Street, Bolivar
Tuesday, October 17 at 6:00PM

Teen Tuesday at Dover Library
Tuesday, October 24 at 3:00 PM
Tell Your Story 2: The Spooky Sequel
Challenge yourself to write the scariest stories while enjoying freshly made s’mores.

Claymont Public Library Book Discussion
Jerry’s Restaurant 
103 W McCauley Drive in Uhrichsville
Thursday, October 26 at 12:00PM (noon)

OBOC School List

Literacy Connection Day for Local High Schools
Kent State Tuscarawas in New Phila
Monday, November 6, 2023, from 10:00AM to 1:30PM

Final Culminating Event: An Evening with Author Michael Gunther

Monday, November 6 at 7:00 PM at Founders Hall of Kent State Tuscarawas

Join us as at this free community event featuring author Michael Gunther.  Gunther will discuss his book Views From the Hot Seatshare his journey to being a published author, and take questions from the audience. A book signing and light refreshments will follow the program.

One Book, One Community Through the Years

Views From the Hot Seat by Michael Gunther is a collection of 64 writings about small-town America published from 2013-2022. It is full of shared thoughts, opinions, and recollections focusing on a variety of topics ranging in part from high school sports, childhood, education, and occasional political observations, to personal revelations. The book has two objectives: to entertain and to allow readers to think.

Michael Gunther spent 44 years teaching students to appreciate the roles of writing and reading in their lives. His 35 years of high school teaching and coaching allowed him to create relationships with students that extended beyond the classroom. While teaching high school, he and his students wrote a series of six books paying tribute to the area’s Vietnam veterans titled Vietnam Veterans: The Tuscarawas Valley’s Survivors and another two-part series paying tribute to area role models titled We Couldn’t Have Done It Alone.

A lifetime resident of Tuscarawas County, Gunther was raised in Gnadenhutten, and he and his wife Anne raised two daughters and have been Dover residents for over three decades. Today their family also includes three grandchildren.

From two-time National Book Award finalist Deborah Wiles, a masterful exploration of one of the darkest moments in our history, when American troops killed four American students protesting the Vietnam War on May 4, 1970 at Kent State University. As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened and why. Told in multiple voices from a number of vantage points — protestor, Guardsman, townie, student — Deborah Wiles’ Kent State gives a moving, terrifying, galvanizing picture of what happened that weekend in Ohio . . . an event that, even 50 years later, still resonates deeply.

Just Smile and Say Hello is Trang Moreland’s inspirational true story of growing up in poverty in Vietnam and her journey to success as a businesswoman in America. “You’ll be swept far away to a little hut with a dirt floor where my family and I lived for many years. You will venture into our rice paddy where I would swim in a bomb crater left over from the Vietnam War. You’ll learn about my brother and sister’s arranged marriages. You will meet my mother, and learn of her struggles. Then, you’ll journey with me to America, a strange place far away that spoke a language I did not know. You will learn how, with very little money, I was able to go to trade school and become a successful business owner.

Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up—and then make up—with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good.

You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.

Website: www.CatherinePrice.com

One of the best parts of a young child’s day is opening a lunchbox and diving in. But how did that delicious food get there? From planting wheat to mixing dough, climbing trees to machine-squeezing fruit, picking cocoa pods to stirring a vat of melted bliss, here is a clear, engaging look at the steps involved in producing some common foods. Health tips and a peek at basic food groups complete the menu.

The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement, a major motion picture, and the critically acclaimed graphic novel White Bird.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 

Website: www.WonderTheBook.com

Christmas Jars shares the story of Hope Jensen, an aspiring journalist who uncovers the remarkable secret behind a holiday phenomenon: money-filled glass jars anonymously given to people in need. Hope desperately wants to post the story, but doing so would be a breach of trust to the family who entrusted her with the secret. What she decides to do will change her life forever. A heartwarming story that will restore your faith in humanity and make you want to start your own Christmas Jar tradition.

Website: www.jasonfwright.com

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Websites: www.jayasher.blogspot.com

I know where Bernie Jones is; with one late-night phone call, Rick Niece is transported back over forty years to cherished childhood memories of small town DeGraff, Ohio. His daily newspaper route, the sights and wonders of a traveling carnival, the sounds of Christmas caroling-the idyllic memories all circle back to one special relationship. To Rickie, being friends with Bernie Jones was no different than being friends with any other boy in town. Bernie’s physical world was confined to a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop him from being an intrepid daydreamer, adventurer, and hero to Rickie. The unique friendship the boys forged defined an era in both their lives. When he left for college, Rickie promised Bernie they would meet again. Now, decades later, he is making the pilgrimage back to Ohio to fulfill that promise.

Website: www.RickNieceBooks.com

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the “contest era” of the 1950s and 1960s. Evelyn’s winning ways defied the church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated views of housewives. To her, flouting convention was a small price to pay when it came to raising her six sons and four daughters. Graced with a rare appreciation for life’s inherent hilarity, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit. The story of this irrepressible woman, whose clever entries are worthy of Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, and Ogden Nash, is told by her daughter Terry with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit will always triumph over poverty.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

Website: www.raybradbury.com

Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.

Website: www.jerobison.blogspot.com

The Good Good Pig celebrates Christopher Hogwood in all his glory, from his inauspicious infancy to hog heaven in rural New Hampshire, where his boundless zest for life and his large, loving heart made him absolute monarch over a (mostly) peaceable kingdom. At first, his domain included only Sy’s cosseted hens and her beautiful border collie, Tess. Then the neighbors began fetching Christopher home from his unauthorized jaunts, the little girls next door started giving him warm, soapy baths, and the villagers brought him delicious leftovers. His intelligence and fame increased along with his girth. He was featured in USA Today and on several National Public Radio environmental programs. On election day, some voters even wrote in Christopher’s name on their ballots.

Website: www.symontgomery.com

Odessa, Texas isn’t known to be a place big on dreams, but the Permian Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom and bust of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday Night from September to December, when the Permian high school Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true.

Website: www.buzzbissinger.com

The Man Who Created Paradise is a message of hope at a time when the very concept of earth stewardship is under attack. The fable, inspired by a true story, tells how Wally Spero looked at one of the bleakest places in America—a raw and barren strip-mined landscape—and saw in it his escape from the drudgery of his factory job. He bought an old bulldozer and used the machine to carve patiently, acre by acre, a beautiful little farm out of a seemingly worthless wasteland.