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Scioto students participate in community read project
Not a Drop to Drink
Students throughout Scioto County have received copies of the book “Not a Drop to Drink” by Ohio author Mindy McGinnis, to participate in a community read project.

Books were distributed to every eighth-grade student at Bloom-Vernon, Green, Minford, Northwest, Notre Dame, Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, Sciotoville, and Valley school districts. The program is a collaborative effort involving Portsmouth Rotary, The Scioto Foundation, Portsmouth Public Library, Shawnee State University, South Central Ohio ESC, Portsmouth Area Ladies (PALS), and Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Each year, Portsmouth Rotary has donated dictionaries to local schools as part of its literacy program. As technologies have changed and fewer children are using physical dictionaries, Rotarian Jay Willis said the group wanted to update its program.

“This came about because actually West Schools brought this author, Mindy McGinnis, out here to talk to their kids last year. My kids go to West and they came home raving about her,” Willis said. 

McGinnis is a young adult librarian from Cardington, Ohio. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English literature and religion. She had visited Portsmouth West to share her debut novel, “Not a Drop to Drink.” Published by HarperCollins in 2013, the story is about young woman defending her pond in a world where water has become a scarcity. The book was a 2015 featured title in the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio program. 

“I contacted Mindy through e-mail and we started corresponding, and I got to know her. I actually met her in person at the Ohioana Library Association meeting in April last year,” Willis said.

That sparked the idea to replace the current Portsmouth Rotary program with an event to recognize Ohio authors.

Through this new collaborative program, individual copies of McGinnis’s title, “Not a Drop to Drink,” have been supplied to eighth-grade students at participating school districts. Additionally, copies of the title, along with its sequel, “In a Handful of Dust,” will be supplied to each of the school libraries and the Portsmouth Public Library.

“The Portsmouth Public Library received the grant for $1,700 from The Scioto Foundation to obtain the rest of the books. We are very excited to participate in this community read for young adults,” said Portsmouth Library Director Paige Williams.

In preparation for McGinnis’s visit, the Portsmouth Public Library Young Adult Department will host a series of public events at its Portsmouth branch location, including:

• Short story group, April 5 at 2:30 p.m., 
• "Page to the Stage" Theater Group on April 19 at 2:30 p.m.,
• Teen book group to discuss "Not a Drop to Drink", April 26 at 2:30 p.m.
• Author Meet-and-Greet and book signing April 26 at 4 p.m.; and,
• Author Talk, April 26 at 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, eighth-grade students throughout the county will read the book in their classrooms, and attend a special lecture with the author at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University, in Portsmouth, Ohio, at 9 a.m. on April 26. 

During her visit, McGinnis will speak to students in public relations and young adult literature classrooms at Shawnee State University. She will also participate in a forum titled “Podcasting Ins and Outs for Teens” on April 25 at the Portsmouth Area Children’s Theater at 7:30 p.m., followed by a public signing at 8:30 p.m. 

“I’m very thankful to Rotary for having this program, and all of the community involvement to get books into our kids hands,” said Portsmouth West Middle School Librarian Sheree Barnett. 

For more information about Mindy McGinnis, visit her website at www.mindymcginnis.com.  For more information about the ESC, visit online at www.scoesc.org, or follow on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
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