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'Seventh Most Important Thing' author talks inspiration, process

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    "The Seventh Most Important Thing" by Shelley Pearsall was selected for the One Book, One Community program this year.



Shelley Pearsall speaks to a crowd of more than 100 people at the Medina Performing Arts Center Tuesday evening. Pearsall is the author of "The Seventh Most Important Thing," which was selected for the One Book, One Community initiative. LYDIA MAINZER / GAZETTE


MEDINA — For 15 months, library and community leaders have led a community literacy project centered on one goal: to get the entire community to read one book and come together to talk about it.

Shelley Pearsall’s “The Seventh Most Important Thing” was that book and One Book, One Community was that project.

The initiative culminated with Tuesday’s visit by Pearsall, who spoke to more than 100 community members, teachers, parents and students at the Medina Performing Arts Center.

With the partnership of the Medina County and Wadsworth libraries as well as the United Way of Medina County, a copy of Pearsall’s book was given to sixth- and seventh- graders in Medina County schools.

Pearsall said she gives a lot of credit back to book clubs and librarians for helping her get to where she is today and thanked the audience for reading locally.

“I bet we could all think of a book, librarian, or library moment that changed your life,” she said, giving an example of how she learned about the book publishing process from a librarian when she was 13.

Pearsall’s book was inspired by a piece of art by James Hampton, “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly,” as well as from the emotions following her father’s death. The book deals with an angry young boy who is dealing with grief after his father’s death and ends up doing community service after getting in trouble with police.

“This book should be read over and over again,” said Carol Schmidt of Medina. “You learn something new each time you reread it.”

Schmidt said the library’s promotion of the book inspired her and she encouraged her book club to read what students were reading.

“You got to think about the way you view life and how you can turn everyday negatives into positives,” she said.

The 45-minute author visit was followed by a 25-minute question and answer session. Pearsall answered questions regarding her writing process, favorite authors and book characters, how she gets her inspiration, and what her new book will be about.

Pearsall, whose first book wasn’t published until she was 36 years old, told future authors to be very persistence in the process and learn from rejection.

Following the presentation, Pearsall was available for a book signing and met community members one-on-one.

Earlier in the day, Pearsall visited Highland Middle School, Wadsworth Middle School, and the Medina County Juvenile Center and spoke to students about her book and answered their questions.

Medina County Library and Wadsworth Public Library employees said they were satisfied with the 15-month long project that included a variety of activities for librarygoers to participate in at the different library branches.

This event was about “the entire community coming together over one very special book to read, discuss, create, and inspire,” Medina readers advisory librarian Mary Olson said.

The Medina Library will host a One Book, One Community Celebration at 6 p.m. Friday celebrating “The Seventh Most Important Thing.” Those of all ages are invited to gather a group of family and friends to build a work of art with the seven most important things. To participate, register at

Contact Lydia Mainzer at (330) 721-4060 or

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