before we were yours book cover two little girls sitting on suitcase                  maroon background with formal invitation look                 lisa wingate author photo in blue shirt


     Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate has been chosen as the featured book for the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library’s 2020 CommunityREAD.
     Through the lives of one fictional family, Before We Were Yours recounts the shameful true history of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society    in Memphis, which ran a black market baby business between the 1920’s and 1950. The Home provided over 5,000 orphans to well-to-do families—hiding the fact that many of the children had been stolen from poor families, desperate single mothers and maternity wards. 
     In Memphis, Tennessee in 1936, twelve-year-old Rill Foss must protect her four brothers and sisters when they are wrenched from their family’s shanty riverboat and taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. In the present day, Avery Stafford, the successful daughter of a
United States Senator attempts to solve the mystery of her grandmother’s past. 
     Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and New York Times Bestselling Author of thirty novels. Her work has won or been     
nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, The Carol Award, and the Christy Award.   Her blockbuster hit, Before We Were Yours remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over one year and has editions in 35 countries.   Before We Were Yours has been a book club favorite worldwide and to date has sold over 1.5 million copies.
     Copies of the Before We Were Yours are available for loan at the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library and will be provided to area school      libraries. 
     CommunityREAD is a month-long community event that encourages reading and promotes the benefits of literacy.  Originally created by the      Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation in 2003, the administration of CommunityREAD was assumed by the Findlay-Hancock County      Public Library in 2012. Each year, a different book is chosen and read by community members during the month of March. Various events are        planned throughout the month at the library and throughout the community.  CommunityREAD 2020 and Lisa Wingate’s presentation are funded    by a Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation grant, business and private sponsors, and the library’s general fund.  For further information about CommunityREAD, visit or call the library at 419-422-1712.    

Community READ History

Community READ was started in March 2003 as a way to celebrate the Community Foundation’s ten-year anniversary, bring attention to the fact that illiteracy is an issue in Findlay and Hancock County and help promote the HancockREADS endowment fund.  Local residents were asked to read and discuss a book and its related themes with friends and family during March of each year. Over the years, selected adult and children’s books have included:       

Previous CommunityREAD Selection

  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and The Fall of Freddie the Leaf  by Leo Buscaglia (2003)
  • The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews and The Traveler’s Gift by Mark Kimball Moulton (2004)
  • Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam and Blueberries for the Queen by John and Katherine Patterson (2005)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson (2006)
  • Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed written by Emily Pearson (2007)
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis and The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern (2008)
  • Marley & Me, Marley, A Dog Like No Other, and Bad Dog, Marley! all by John Grogan (2009)
  • Teach with your Heart by Erin Gruwell, The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco and Don’t Be Silly Mrs. Millie by Judy Cox (2010)
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Best Friends Forever by Beverly Patt, A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai and Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells (2011)
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova, The Graduation of Jake Moon by Barbara Park and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox (2012)
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett, The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz and Flower Garden by Even Bunting (2013)
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine, Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton, and Raul Colon and Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds (2014)
  • Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff, I Survived: Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis, I'm the Scariest Thing in the Jungle! by David G. Derrick, Jr., Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen (2015)
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart, Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown (2016)
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey, The 7 Habits of Happy Kids collection by Sean Covey (2017)
  • Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo, Maddie’s Fridge by Lois Brandt, Wish by Barbara O’Connor, Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (2018)
  • The Only Child by Rhiannon Navin (2019), The Rabbit Listened , The Distance to Home, Lost in the Sun

In December 2011, The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation approached the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library about assuming the administration of CommunityREAD in 2013 with the understanding that the Community Foundation would continue to support CommunityREAD through the grant process.  In January 2012, the library Board of Trustees approved the library becoming the program administrator.

discussion questions in square shape                                         read alikes                                                       two girls sitting on suitcase


            photo of valley with trees                                           maroon square with discussion questions maroon background with words Read Alikes  


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