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Roswell Reads 2017

The Roswell Reads Steering Committee is proud to announce the 2017 Roswell Reads selection. We hope you will read the book, sign up for the March 18 Literary Luncheon, and check out our community events, including: book discussions, children's programs, a writing workshop, and our Happy Tails Happy Hour.

The Book

The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love

The Underdogs"Dogs are pretty much the best living beings on the planet," wrote one book reviewer. "For more proof, look no further than The Underdogs, Melissa Fay Greene's latest, elegantly rendered, and undeniably moving book." There are children so isolated—as a result of illness, disability, or calamity—as to seem unreachable. But it turns out that a profoundly solitary child may give friendship a try if the playmate who shows up is a dog. Exquisitely trained service dogs from 4 Paws for Ability, a Xenia, Ohio, nonprofit, are fanning out across the globe to families with special needs children. They are rescuing the families, offering friendship and support to the parents, while performing miracles of love and empathy with the children. The Underdogs is an expansion of "Wonder Dog," Melissa's New York Times Magazine feature article that went viral, becoming one of the most emailed and most searched-for Times articles in 2012.

The Underdogs is available for checkout in print, ebook and audio book formats at the Roswell and East Roswell Libraries and on Overdrive through the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System website Books are for sale at the Friends of the Roswell Library Bookstore and will be on sale at the Literary Luncheon where the author will sign them.

The Author

Melissa Fay Greene

Melissa Fay GreeneMelissa Fay Greene is the author of six critically acclaimed nonfiction books. They have been translated into 15 languages and honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Book Award nominations, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Georgia Author Award (twice), the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and Melissa's induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. Praying for Sheetrock (1991) was named one of the top 100 works of English-language journalism of the 20th century; The Temple Bombing (1996) has been adapted as a stage play which will premiere in February at the Alliance Theater. Melissa has also contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Newsweek, LIFE, and other periodicals. A native of Macon, Georgia, and a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio, Melissa and her husband, criminal defense attorney Don Samuel, live in Atlanta and are the parents of nine.

Please visit for more information.

12th Annual Roswell Reads Literary Luncheon

Featuring Melissa Fay Greene, author of The Underdogs

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 11:00 AM
Roswell Adult Recreation Center
830 Grimes Bridge Road, Roswell
The Roswell Reads committee is proud to present Melissa Fay Greene, the author of our 2017 book selection, who will discuss her personal and professional life experiences that led her to research and write this compelling story.


Luncheon tickets are $20 each and will be sold online only at, Search Word "Roswell Reads." Space is limited; please register in advance. Reserved group seating for six or more. The deadline for reservations is midnight, Saturday, March 11, 2017. If you cannot make reservations online, or if you miss the deadline, please contact us at or call Debbie Weiss at 770-992-6838.

Community Programs

Roswell Reads has arranged exciting community programs in connection with the 2017 Book Selection. All programs are free and open to the public.

Writing Workshop: The Art of Nonfiction with Melissa Fay Greene

Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 10:00 AM - Noon
Roswell City Hall, Room 220
38 Hill Street, Roswell
A popular guest lecturer and writer-in-residence who has worked with undergraduate, graduate and mid-career students and writers at UGA, Emory, SCAD, Yale, NYU, Boston University and Columbia University, Melissa will share with us a few of the great pleasures to be found in crafting sentences, metaphors and stories. She has reported on some of the great issues of our time—including civil rights, anti-Semitism, and the HIV/AIDS orphan crisis in Africa—but continues to find room for joy and playfulness in the prose, so fond is she of words.

RSVP online at, Search Word "Roswell Reads".

Happy Tails Happy Hour

Thursday, March 16, 2017, 5:00 PM
Lucky's Burger & Brew
1144 Alpharetta Street, Roswell
Come to Happy Tails Happy Hour and learn how the interaction between humans and animals provides a positive, rewarding experience for clients, volunteers and their pets. You will learn about the organization and their evaluation process, the required immunization and veterinary exams. Happy Tails' members experience how the unconditional love and acceptance given by their pet eases the pain of clients who miss their home, their family, or perhaps a personal pet. Lucky's opened in 2010 in Downtown Historic Roswell and has become a neighborhood burger and brew favorite. Named after the owners' dog, Lucky's offers a pet-friendly covered patio. This event will be held in The Dog House Pavilion. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Pet attendance is not required.

RSVP online at, Search Word "Roswell Reads".

Book Discussions

Area book clubs are encouraged to add The Underdogs to their book selection list. Roswell Reads has arranged for several locally facilitated book discussions. Admission is complimentary, but please help us plan by registering online at, Search Word " Roswell Reads".

Noonday Nosh Book Club

Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Noon
Roswell Library
115 Norcross Street, Roswell
For information: 770-640-3075

Wine & Cheese Book Discussions

East Roswell
Monday, March 13, 2017, 7:00 PM
The Arts Center on Fouts Road
9100 Fouts Road, Roswell
Enjoy wine and cheese and a lively book discussion of The Underdogs, while surrounded by beautiful art. The book discussion will be led by Debbie Weiss, founder of the Women's Book Reviews website.

West Roswell
Monday, March 13, 2017, 7:00 PM
Wildwood Springs Clubhouse
11755 Wildwood Springs Drive, Roswell
Join a lively neighborhood book discussion facilitated by retired high school English teacher Nancy Gore.

Community Outreach

Happy Tails Pet Therapy will be at the Literary Luncheon to provide information about their handler/pet teams. Happy Tails currently has a membership of 350 volunteers who regularly visit more than 125 facilities in metropolitan Atlanta, with many more eagerly awaiting visitations. Happy Tails seeks community support in the form of donations, in-kind goods or volunteer services. Donations are tax deductible and will help Happy Tails continue to serve the community.

Learn more at

Children's Programs

Children's Book Selection: My Buddy By Audrey Osofsky

My Buddy*Recommended for Grades K-5
My Buddy is a story about a service dog, Buddy, and his young owner who has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair. They meet at a special camp that matches children with service dogs where they learn to trust and listen to each other. They work together so the boy can become more independent and perform everyday tasks such as dressing, going to school, shopping, participating in sports and more. My Buddy is available for checkout through the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.

Happy Tails/READing Paws: Come and Read to a Dog!

The Happy Tails/READing Paws program helps improve children's reading and communication skills by giving them the opportunity to practice reading in a nonjudgmental atmosphere: reading to registered therapy animals and their owner/handler. Reading blocks are 15 minutes (eight available at Roswell Library and four at East Roswell Library). Additional dates may be available. Parents must stay in the room while the child is reading.

Roswell Library
115 Norcross Street, Roswell
For information, call 770-640-3075
Saturday, March 4, 2017, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

East Roswell Library
2301 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell (Storytime Room)
For information, call 404-613-4050.
Saturday, March 11, 2017, at 10:30 AM Reading with Bentley
Thursday, March 16, 2017, at 3:30 PM Reading with Colby

Registration is required through the library, along with signed parental permission.

Meet Me and My "Buddy" and Other Service Dogs

Come meet a student and his/her service dog. Learn how they got their dog, how the dog was trained and how it has made a difference in their lives. Parents are required to stay with their children.

Roswell Library
115 Norcross Street, Roswell
For information, call 770-640-3075
Saturday, March 4, 2017, 1-2:30 PM (Children's Department)
RSVP online at, Search Word "Roswell Reads".

Mission Statement

Roswell Reads promotes the value of reading, literacy, and lifelong learning through the shared community-wide experience of reading and discussing a common book. Readers are able to collectively examine relevant issues, establish bonds, and forge a better understanding of their community and society.

The Roswell Reads Steering Committee

  • Marilyn Baron
  • Kayron Bearden
  • Deanna Boe
  • Kathy Cioffi
  • Lisa Dossey
  • Andie Gambrel
  • Nancy Gore
  • Swalena Griffin
  • Simone Hanson
  • Vanya Hristova
  • Becky Lukovic
  • Julia Padgett
  • Marlena Salters
  • Deanna Smith
  • Linda Smither
  • Judy Stanton
  • Debbie Weiss

2017 Sponsors

The Roswell Reads committee gratefully acknowledges our sponsors:

  • The City of Roswell
  • Friends of the Roswell Library
  • Friends of the East Roswell Library
  • Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System and the Roswell and East Roswell Libraries
  • Roswell Rotary Club

Previous Roswell Reads Book Selections

  • 2016: What Stands In A Storm, by Kim Cross
  • 2015: The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande
  • 2014: Someone Else's Love Story, by Joshilyn Jackson
  • 2013: Sweeping Up Glass, by Carolyn Wall
  • 2012: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin
  • 2011: My Name Is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira
  • 2010: Outcasts United: A Refugee Soccer Team, An American Town, by Warren St. John
  • 2009: Them, by Nathan McCall
  • 2008: The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards
  • 2007: The Valley of Light, by Terry Kay
  • 2006: Rocket Boys, by Homer Hickam