Suncoast Empire named 2021 ‘One Book’ selection by Sarasota County

Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources announces “Suncoast Empire: Bertha Honoré Palmer, Her Family, and the Rise of Sarasota” as their 2021 One Book selection.

She spent much of each year for the rest of her life in Sarasota, investing in cattle and farming, creating communities out of marshlands, pine forests and tropical jungles. The society queen and social reform advocate excelled as a frontier entrepreneur, just as she had in every other endeavor in her life. She managed to make a good deal of money and to change Sarasota forever.

Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Director Renee Di Pilato said the book was a perfect fit to be a part of the Centennial programming for Sarasota County.

 “The One Book, One Community program encourages discussion across the community, and the Bertha Palmer story is one that still fascinates and inspires us today ” said Di Pilato. “Whether you are new to the county, or have lived here your whole life, you have likely been affected by some decision or influence that Bertha or her family had. In 2021 our department is sharing programming, displays and exhibits as part of the Centennial, and this One Book selection complements those efforts.”

The One Book, One Community program has recognized local authors as well as world-renowned writers over the years. A committee selects the One Book title and then hosts a public event with the author and readers. This celebration includes follow-up programs at county libraries and other venues. Anyone can participate in One Book, One Community by attending a library event or hosting their own book discussion.

As part of the One Book and Centennial programming, several libraries will host the program “Bertha Palmer and Her Family in Sarasota,” which will be told by author Cassell. The program focuses on the impact Palmer and her family had on the development of the Sarasota County area and features Palmer herself, as portrayed by Kathryn Chesley.

For more information on library programs, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at (941) 861-5000 or visit For more information about One Book please visit

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