A select group of young teens recently joined the ranks of authors with the publication of “Running for Hope” (CreateSpace). Written by 30 John Hope Franklin Young Scholars, the book is a hybrid production with the late John Hope Franklin relating his experiences in a graphic autobiography format woven together with the story of a young teen struggling with similar issues.
Thirty sixth- through ninth-graders were a part of the project. “Two years ago, we focused on John Hope Franklin’s life, learning how to fly fish, getting orchids and looking at his papers,” said Izzy Salazar, 14. “We mapped out an early plan for the book that week.”
The group spent 18 months on the project, doing field work that included walking around downtown Durham to the places the main character visits in the book.
“I’ve learned that collaborating with twenty-some other people is pretty difficult and you’re going to have to compromise,” said Izzy, a ninth-grader at Durham School of the Arts.
Franklin was a celebrated historian and member of the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame who died in 2009. The John Hope Franklin Young Scholars program, which seeks to give teens a first-hand experience exploring history, is part of Duke University’s Center for African and African-American Research. “Running for Hope” was released in January to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Franklin’s birth.
▪ “Whisper Falls” (Spencer Hill Press) by Elizabeth Langston is the first in a Young Adult time-travel series. Set in 18th- and 21st-century Wake County, it is the story of a teen mountain bike racer who, after meeting an indentured servant girl from 1796, must risk his own life to change history and rescue her from a tragic fate. Langston, a software engineer, lives in Cary.
▪ Children will marvel at Sara Venkat’s macro photography of insects and small creatures in “Tiny World in Focus” (Shanti Arts). A short verse and fun facts accompany photos of each creature. Venkat, who counts photography as a favorite hobby, is a family physician in Raleigh and Cary.
▪ “Eddie & Sunny” (Down & Out Books) by Stacey Cochran is an uplifting novel about a couple’s perseverance despite tragedy and separation. Cochran, a writing instructor at N.C. State University, was inspired by his work on a documentary about women and children living in homeless shelters. He is also chair for the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention to be held in Raleigh in October.
▪ “Behind My Smile” (Epic Books) by Raleigh’s Leslie Robin Weeks examines the age-old question: Is it possible to have it all? The story follows gifted women facing painful challenges and unexpected life lessons who learn that happiness can be found in God and friendship.
The novel is the first for Weeks, who has had several magazine articles published. She will participate in a celebration of local authors at 2 p.m. April 12 at Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh.
Walt Wolfram discusses “Talkin’ Tar Heel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina” (UNC Press) on UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch” at 5 p.m. Thursday. Wolfram, a linguistics professor at NCSU, has studied speech patterns in the state since 1992. He and his colleague and co-author, Jeffrey Reaser, write: “We claim that there is more dialect variation in North Carolina than in any other state.” The program is available online at http://nando.com/117.
Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.