We're pleased to announce the 2016 book selection: Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell

Set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi and inspired by his Mississippi childhood, Odell tells the story of two young mothers, Hazel and Vida one wealthy and white, the other poor and black who have two things in common: the devastating loss of their children and a deep loathing for one another.

Embittered and distrusting, Vida is harassed by Delphi's racist sheriff and haunted by the son she lost. Hazel, too, has lost a son and can’t keep a grip on her fractured life.

After drunkenly crashing her car into a manger scene, Hazel is sedated and bed-ridden. Hazel's husband hires Vida to keep tabs on his unpredictable wife and to care for his sole surviving son. Forced to spend time together, the two women find they have more in common than they thought.

This is the story of a town, a people and a culture on the verge of a great change that begins with small things — like unexpected friendship. 

2016 One Book, One Lakeville Event

Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Lakeville Area Arts Center

Free tickets are required and available at, search Jonathan Odell.

About the author

Jonathan Odell was born in Mississippi and grew up in the Jim Crow South. He became involved in the civil rights movement in college. In 2003, along with Minneapolis civil rights leader and city councilperson Don Samuels, Odell founded the Institute for Authentic Dialogue to spark conversations across race. Jonathan Odell is the author of the acclaimed novel, The Healing, which explores the subversive role that story plays in the healing of an oppressed people.

Odell holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and was active in human resource development for more than 30 years. He also built a successful practice as a Leadership Coach to executives in Fortune 500 companies.

Odell’s work appears in anthologies, national periodicals, newspapers and a soon-to-be published volume of essays about growing up in Mississippi. 

Jonathan now lives in Minnesota, but stays in Mississippi long enough each year  to keep his citizenship papers up to date


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