Join the conversation! We invite you to get involved with the 2014 One Book, One Community project featuring the book Side-Yard Superhero: Life Lessons from an Unlikely Teacher, by Rick Niece. Trust and friendship can go no deeper when a small-town newspaper boy befriends a young man with cerebral palsy, and a lifetime of adventure unfolds.
Complete One Book, One Community Information
The Tuscarawas County Literacy Coalition will once again be sponsoring its annual One Book, One Community project featuring the book, Side-Yard Superhero: Life Lessons from an Unlikely Teacher, by Rick Niece. One Book, One Community is a grassroots reading movement that aims to bring people together by giving them a shared experience. “When we all read the same book, we all have something to talk about,” says planning committee chair, Cherie Bronkar. “One Book, One Community’s goal is to break down the barriers between different groups of people and to strengthen Tuscarawas County.”
Although life’s journey takes him far from his childhood home, Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., never forgets the people he meets and the lessons he learns as a young man growing up in picturesque DeGraff, Ohio, population 900. A small-town newspaper boy who becomes a lifelong educator himself, Dr. Niece is deeply touched by the endearing residents of DeGraff who shaped his youth, especially Bernie Jones. Confined to a wheelchair with severe cerebral palsy, Bernie becomes Rickie’s friend, inspiration and superhero, opening a world of compassion, trust and adventure to them both. When he leaves DeGraff to attend The Ohio State University, Rick promises Bernie that he will visit him again. Unfortunately, when Bernie’s parents pass away, Bernie disappears, too, taken in by a distant relative. Forty years later, Rick learns that his boyhood friend is living in a nursing home. Returning to Ohio, he visits the never-to-be-forgotten Bernie Jones of a childhood long past and a promise finally kept.
“We are challenging the community to read Side-Yard Superhero, to participate in a book discussion group, and to come to one of this year’s events,” says Jim Gill, TCLC President. “Books are very powerful tools and are a way to create community. We feel Rick Niece’s book will be appeal to many because of its nostalgic look at 1950’s Ohio and because of the book’s theme of compassion and life-long friendship.”
Following in his father‘s footsteps, Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., is a lifelong educator who has served as a classroom teacher, a public school administrator and a university professor, provost and president. In 1997, he was named President of the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, and remains steadfast in his devotion to the University’s success. After his retirement on July 1, 2013, he was named President Emeritus of the University of the Ozarks. A small-town boy who has maintained his small-town values, Dr. Niece remembers his childhood with fond nostalgia. Dr. Niece is the recipient of multiple awards, both as an author and an educator. He and his wife, Sheree, are now retired and living in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.
2014 One Book, One Community Events
Community Book Discussions
Tuesday, September 16 at 1:30 PM at TCPL in New Philadelphia
Tuesday, September 16 at 7:00 PM at TCPL in Bolivar
Tuesday, September 16 at 1:30 PM at TCPL in Tuscarawas
Tuesday, September 23 at 10:00 AM at Gnadenhutten Public Library
Thursday, September 25 at 6:30 PM at TCPL in Strasburg
Friday, September 26 at 12 Noon at Chef Ernie’s in Uhrichsville (sponsored by Claymont Public Library)
Friday, September 26 at 4:30 PM, Kids Event: Lending a a Paw at TCPL in New Philadelphia
Monday, October 6 at 6:00 PM at Uncommon Grounds Coffee Shop in Dover (sponsored by Dover Public Library)
“Small Towns, Big Stories” Art Show
Featured works courtesy of Tuscaraswas County Board of Developmental Disabilities & Starlight Enterprises, Inc., and Avenues of Adventure, a Horizons, Inc. program. Works by local artists will be on display from September 15 through October 15 at Dover Public Library, Tuscarawas County Public Library, Claymont Public Library, Gnadenhutten Public Library. Works will be comprised of a small town theme and feature local attractions.
The Great Hamburger Eating Contest
Sponsored by the Cattle Association and held at the Tuscarawas Farmer’s Market. A wondrous event in any small town is a hamburger eating contest and to commemorate Frank Tully’s amazing triumph at Taylor’s Restaurant, featured in the book, we will hold our hamburger eating contest on Wednesday Sept 24th at 6:30pm at the Farmer’s Market located at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. Join us for the fun and prizes to the winners.
“Small Towns, Big Stories” Photo & Essay Contest
To commemorate small town life in Tuscarawas County we are asking for entries that that bring our county’s history to life and share fond memories of the past and/or present. Writers and photographers of all ages are encouraged to submit their views of small town life. Essays should be approximately 500 words and photos can be present day or historical. Submissions should be sent to Cherie Bronkar via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.Essays and photos will be on display during the cumulating event at the Kent State Tuscarawas Academic Learning Commons located across from the Auditorium in Founders Hall.
An Evening with Author Rick Niece
Monday, October 13 at 7:00 PM
Kent State Tuscarawas, Founders Hall
Join us as we welcome author Rick Niece to the Tuscarawas Valley! Niece will discuss Side-Yard Superhero and will answer questions from the public. A book signing will follow the event, which is free and open to all.
The 2014 One Book, One Community project is sponsored by the following: Kent State Tuscarawas, United Way of Tuscarawas County, Dover-Phila Federal Credit Union, Barbour Publishing, Barnett Realtors, Pissocra-Mathias Realty, and the Friends of the Library. For more information about this year’s project, please contact Cherie Bronkar at email@example.com or 330-339-3391.