Mansfield Reads! One City, One Book is a community wide reading
event that encourages all the citizens of Mansfield to read the same book at the same time each year in April. The goals of
the program are to promote awareness of the library and foster a sense of community through reading. It is based on a program
started in Seattle in 1998 which has spread across the country into many communities large and small. In 2003, with a lot
of help from Nancy Pearl at the Seattle library and very little idea of how much work it would actually take, the Friends
of the Mansfield Public Library and the library staff decided that Mansfield was the perfect size to launch this type of program.
So with the idea of using the inaugural program to celebrate the library's 75th year of service, Mansfield Reads! was introduced
to the community in April 2004 and it has been a resounding success every year since.
Previous Years Mansfield Reads! Events
Rainwater by Sandra Brown
“Warm, nostalgic, satisfying…”
That is how People magazine described the book Rainwater by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown. Those same
words could apply to the Evening with the Author event at the Mansfield Public Library for the 9th annual Mansfield
Reads! program. Guests at this highly popular event would likely add “exciting, fun and very special” to their
descriptions of the time spent with Ms. Brown.
The Friends of the Mansfield
Public Library would like to extend a special thank you to Ms. Brown and also thank our sponsors and all of the citizens who
participated this year. Stay tuned for more information about next year’s program. The tenth anniversary of Mansfield
Reads! is going to be spectacular!
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and
Clyde by Jeff Guinn
In April 2011 Mansfield read the real tale of two kids
from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and then willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and,
more importantly, fame. In Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines
exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and their troubled
Publisher's Weekly raved in its starred review of Go Down Together,
that "Guinn's richly detailed history will leave readers breathless until the final hail of bullets" and that was
certainly the case in Mansfield. Author Guinn visited the library for the 8th annual Mansfield Reads! Evening with the Author.
The library was filled to capacity and guests were treated to a lively interview of Mr. Guinn by another esteemed Texas writer,
and Friends member, James Ward Lee. Mr. Lee even prompted Guinn to tell the story of his re-enactment of the shoot out scene
in the book. On Saturday Guinn returned to the library for a Writer's Workshop where he led "the best constructed, most
practical and informative, and enjoyable workshop ever" according to one participant. Mr. Guinn also visited Mansfield
high schools to speak with students about writing as a profession.
events included book club discussions all over town, a "create your own story" raffle giveaway in honor of the theme
of National Library Week and a Barnes and Noble Book Fair weekend sale.
all over Mansfield, from the barbershops to the civic clubs, were talking about Bonnie and Clyde and Go Down Together. The
Friends of the Mansfield Public Library are proud to bring this award winning program to the community.
The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
With The Last Dickens, Matthew Pearl reopens one of literary history's greatest mysteries in his
most enthralling novel yet, a tale filled with the dazzling twists and turns, the unerring period details, and the meticulous
research that thrilled readers of bestsellers The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow. Pearl took the Mansfield community along
on the journey when he visited the Mansfield library as part of the seventh annual Mansfield Reads! program. Guests at the
Evening with the Author event listened enthralled as Pearl shared his account of writing the book. Mr. Pearl also shared his
first edition volume of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and his Dickens action figure (yes, there is one of those!) with the packed
house. The next morning the author delved even further into the experience of becoming a writer at the writer's workshop.
Students at Mansfield high schools heard about Mr. Pearl's days at Harvard and Yale while visitors to the library studied
comparisons of literary greats in a Shakespeare display from Humanities Texas. The award winning Mansfield Reads! program
is reaching citizens across the city and even into neighboring communities. The Friends of the Mansfield Public Library are
proud to showcase our library and our city with such inspiring and enlightening books and authors.
I'm Proud of You, Life Lessons from My Friend Fred Rogers
by Tim Madigan
The sixth annual Mansfield Reads! program visited Mr. Rogers'
Neighborhood. It was certainly a beautiful day in our neighborhood on the Friday the author visited all four high schools
then the library for the Evening with the Author. When Mr. Madigan shared his story as told in the book, there wasn't a dry
eye in the house. Mr. Rogers' simple philosophies and extraordinary friendship affected the author and everyone who read the
book. The author also shared his personal memorabilia in a display that allowed patrons a glimpse of the iconic Mr. Rogers
as a real person. Kids got in on the fun when Storytime at the library included books on friendship and a screening of the
television show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Book clubs had discussions and people all over town were telling their friends that
they "just had to" read this book! Mr. Madigan presented a writer's workshop on Saturday morning that gave aspiring
writers insight into the process of writing a book to finish a month filled with reading, talking with neighbors and friends
and visiting the library. Mansfield Reads! is making a difference in the lives of Mansfield citizens!
Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger
The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends
and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association, has named The Friends of the Mansfield Public Library
winners of the Best Friends Award in the category of Program Publicity for Mansfield Reads 2008: Friday Night Lights. These
awards are given annually to recognize outstanding publicity and marketing materials created by Friends groups.
For the fifth Mansfield Reads! program the Friday night lights came on in April. When this book
was chosen it met one of the goals of the Mansfield Reads! program right away; people were definitely talking about it! By
the time April was proclaimed Mansfield Reads! month by the mayor, the library book club was talking about it, the citizens
who attended the screening of the major motion picture based on it were talking about it and the lucky patrons who were part
of the Evening with the Author were most certainly talking about it! The Pulitzer Prize winning author of Friday Night Lights,
H. G. "Buzz" Bissinger, came to town and brought one of the main characters in his book with him. Mr. Bissinger
and James "Boobie" Miles kept students at all four MISD high schools enthralled when they visited and talked about
the book with creative writing, journalism, and English classes as well as members of the football teams. Then a standing
room only library audience was treated to a discussion that was both interesting and touching. As "Buzz" and "Boobie"
recalled their experiences with this book people really saw for themselves what an impact a book can have. The Friends of
the Mansfield Public Library are proud to showcase our library with such highly esteemed books and authors.
Partner in Crime by J. A. Jance
The fourth Mansfield Reads! program hit the big time! The big time New York Times bestseller list,
that is. Bestselling author J. A. Jance was coming to town. Mansfield Reads! chose her book Partner in Crime and everyone
in town got in on the mystery. There was even a crime scene in the library. The murder scene from the book was recreated so
everyone could follow the clues in the book in their own library. The Friends sponsored a Clue tournament, book clubs held
discussions, and writers attended a workshop with the author. Ms. Jance spent a day at Mansfield High School where students
asked questions and got their books signed. The highlight of the program was an evening with Ms. Jance. She shared stories
from her life, insight into her writing and even her poetry. Mansfield citizens were treated to a truly special evening. The
Evening with the Author event packed the library and has become one of the most talked about and enjoyable events in the city!
Presidential Anecdotes by Paul F. Boller, Jr.
The Friends of the Mansfield Public Library soon realized that Mansfield Reads! had become a part
of the community. Once the book was chosen this year, it was decided to get as many people as possible in on the fun. In cooperation
with the Mansfield News Mirror a six week presidential trivia contest was held. Each week questions were posed in the News
Mirror. Contestants sent in their answers to become eligible to participate in a live trivia game with Mr. Boller himself
at the "Evening with the Author." The library book club and even the high schools were all talking presidential
trivia. People all over town were reading their own copy of the book. Mr. Boller is a preeminent national presidential historian
who has appeared on the Today show, NPR, and is a professor emeritus at TCU. Not only is he smart and witty, he has written
many books on the Presidents as well as their inaugurations and their wives. He was bound to be a tough judge at the live
contest but one Mansfield citizen did prevail and was awarded a trip to Washington D.C. to do his own presidential research!
During the month, the library also sponsored a Teddy Roosevelt exhibit in conjunction with the Texas Council for the Humanities
that included photographs and his personal writings. This year we were able to proclaim "We know our Presidents!"
Next year? Stay tuned. You never know what mystery might be around the corner.
Had a Good Time, Stories from American Postcards
by Robert Olen Butler
The Friends of the
Mansfield Public Library were given the Best Friends Award by FOLUSA, the national Friends of Libraries group, for Outstanding
Publicity Materials for a Special Project in the large public library category in recognition of this project.
The big question this year was "how can this year ever be as good as last?" The answer
was invite a Pulitzer Prize winning author and choose a great book. Had a Good Time is a series of short stories Mr. Butler
wrote based on turn of the century postcards in his personal collection. The book was both entertaining and interesting and
the author proved to be the same. Jeff Guinn has called him "the best living American writer, period." Mr. Butler,
who won the Pulitzer Prize for another of his books of short stories titled Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, regaled the
crowd at the "Evening with the Author" event and had them all in stitches with a reading from one of the humorous
stories. He had done a simulcast with all three high schools via their new distance learning labs then met with select groups
of students in each high school library earlier in the day. By the time he conducted his writer's workshop at the library
the next morning, all of Mansfield had indeed had a good time. In addition to the lucky people at these events, the people
who participated in the book discussions, those who came to enjoy the Turn of the Century Carnival, and those who visited
the library to see Mansfield's own American Postcards from the collection of Della Icenhower all agreed that the second annual
Mansfield Reads! was simply outstanding.
The Good Old Boys by Elmer Kelton
This program was the winner of the Library Project of the Year Award from the North Texas Regional
The first Mansfield Reads! was a big celebration. The Friends
even gave away a diamond in honor of the library's birthday. The library showed the movie version of The Good Old Boys complete
with popcorn. There was a brown bag lunch, a book discussion with the library book club and throughout the library there were
many displays on the Old West. Then Mr. Kelton came to town! What a treat for all the citizens of Mansfield. Mr. Kelton was
voted the All-Time Best Western Author by the Western Writers of America. He is the winner of seven Spur Awards and Governor
Rick Perry said he is "truly a Texas legend". Mr. Kelton certainly lived up to that description in the eyes of Mansfield.
He entertained the high school seniors at Mansfield High during the day then mixed and mingled at the first "Evening
with the Author" event. He was interviewed by Jeff Guinn, book editor of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, then answered
questions from the crowd and signed books until the last person in line was happy. The next day was the Big Birthday Bash.
Mr. Kelton cut the cake then signed more books while the citizens celebrated. The first Mansfield Reads! was indeed a big