Pittsboro woman, granddaughter write kids' book

Rita Bhan of Pittsboro has always had a close relationship with her 10-year-old granddaughter. Now the two have created a lasting legacy.

Bhan teamed with granddaughter Lilia “Lili” Shirin Bhan of New York City to write “Chippy’s Dreams” (Dog Ear Publishing), the story of a girl and her pet guinea pig and the subsequent lessons of acceptance, friendship and love.

“‘Chippy’s Dreams’ began innocently enough when Lili was just 7 years old,” Bhan said. “She desperately wanted a puppy, but ended up adopting a guinea pig instead. ... She wondered if Chippy might have preferred being adopted by a boy instead of a girl.”

When Chippy began to show up in Lili’s stories, Bhan began to write them down and eventually showed Lili how to create a storyboard. “The excitement of being a first-time author gave Lili confidence and motivated her in ways I could not have dreamed,” Bhan said.

“Every grandparent wishes to create memories with his or her grandchildren that live long after they are gone, and ‘Chippy’s Dreams’ has certainly delivered.”

Profits from sales of the book will benefit animal rescue organizations.

New titles

▪ “The No Death Option” (AIMS Consulting), by Brian Keith Ellerby, is a novel about the fictional Youssef Aziz, who immigrates to the U.S. to escape persecution from Saddam Hussein. Unknown to his family and close associates, Youssef maintains close ties with one of the radical Islamic factions in his native Iraq. Ellerby lives in Raleigh.

▪ Sylvia Perkins of Raleigh turns to memories of her childhood in “My Mother’s Restaurant” (LuLu). Perkins’ father found a bride in Rome and brought her to America in 1928. When he died seven years later in the midst of the Great Depression, his widow was left to provide for their children in an unfamiliar country. Armed with intense determination and unconventional wits, she faces hard economic times and a domineering father to prove she is capable of handling this momentous task.


While studying Shakespeare during a summer program in England, B.P. Morrison became fascinated by Oxford’s literary community. Inspired to write in rhyming verse, he penned “Monsters in the Mirror” (BookBaby), which he describes as “a heavy cup of Carroll, a dash of Lewis, and maybe even a tablespoon of Tolkien.” Morrison is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill.


▪ Jon Thompson’s second collection of poems, “Landscape with Light” (Shearsman Books), meditates upon landscapes in iconic American films. Included are poems on “Chinatown,” “Grapes of Wrath,” “North by Northwest” and “Birth of a Nation.” Thompson is a professor of English at N.C. State University.

▪ “Fighting Cancer One Patient at a Time” (CreateSpace) by Dr. Susan J. Mellette is a collection of poems about the difficulties and triumphs of treating cancer patients from the 1950s until the 1990s. Mellette pursued a career in medicine at a time when female physicians were rare, becoming the first female oncologist in Virginia. Proceeds from her book go to scholarship funds, including one at Meredith College in Raleigh. Mellette, a Raleigh native and Meredith alumna, died in 2000.

Writers’ conference

Registration is open for the N.C. Writers’ Network spring conference to be held April 18 in Greensboro. The day will feature workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing from experience, writing about war and the art of the pitch. See for more information.


Author Virginia Gray is scheduled to be interviewed on the on-demand podcast of “The Book Club with John Austin” on Tuesday at Gray, a North Carolina native and Wake Forest University graduate, wrote “The Carrot” (Virginia Gray Novels), the story of an ambitious woman’s decision to take a coveted promotion in her home state. The novel is set in North Carolina, with Raleigh playing a key role.


Folklorist and scholar William Ferris will talk about “The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists” on UNC-TV’s “Bookwatch” at 5 p.m. Thursday. Ferris is a professor of history and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-CH.

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.