One Book, One Community: St. Johns Reads Presents “Before We Were Yours”

“But the love of sisters needs no words. It does not depend on memories, or mementos, or proof. It runs as deep as a heartbeat. It is as ever present as a pulse.”Lisa Wingate, Before We Were Yours

The St. Johns County Public Library System is excited to announce that St. Johns Reads 2019 is going to be very special! We have chosen Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours as our next community reads title, and Lisa Wingate will be visiting St. Johns County!

Before We Were Yours depicts the story of a horrifying and little known piece of depression era history. From Lisa Wingate’s webpage:

“An engrossing new novel based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals––in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country––Before We Were Yours brilliantly fictionalizes and brings to life a shocking facet of America’s past.”

St. Johns Reads will feature a full month of programming and events centered around the community reading Before We Were Yours. Scheduled programs include a presentation by the St. Johns Riverkeeper, Craft programs, food programs featuring a “Taste of the Old South,” and many more events touching upon the culture and era surrounding this power story.

As a finale to St. Johns Reads, Lisa Wingate will be making a personal appearance at the St. Johns County Convention Center at World Golf Village on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 2 pm. Her appearance is funded in partnership with the library’s seven Friends of the Library groups and a grant from the Florida Humanities Council (FHC) through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The author of 30 books, Ms. Wingate will be reading from Before We Were Yours, discussing her work and her process for researching and writing. Books will be available for purchase and signing by Ms. Wingate, courtesy of the Bookmark Independent Book Store in Neptune Beach.

The book is now available in multiple formats at your St. Johns County Public Library System. For further information or to place a hold on your copy of this outstanding book, call your branch library or visit our website at We also invite you to download our printable brochure

“Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

april, 2019

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