Alexandria, VA – This has been another excellent year for young, mature, new, and veteran writers. A growing number have found the courage to pen a work, publish it, and then, for the braver few, follow up with a second work. This month’s article features the Best of 2022, five books that have an impact on readers.
King’s Broad Arrow, by Kathryn Goodwin Tone
This action-filled coming-of-age novel is the story of a young man, Sam Nevens, who is skeptical about fighting in the Revolutionary War. During his remarkable journey, he learns what is worth fighting for and what it takes to summon the courage to do so. Sam’s fortitude is constantly tested. He has a rough start when captured and trapped on a British prison ship. After escaping, he must hide in occupied Boston, where he meets Paul Revere and assists him in the search for gunpowder.
Sam lends a hand to Thomas Paine in printing The American Crisis. Sam learns the delicate art of debate in philosophical discussions with George Washington. And what is a historical thriller without a lovely spy? Sam meets plenty of charmers along the way. By the end of his journey, Sam evolves into a confident young man who knows why, at times, it is essential to fight, even when immeasurable odds are against you. Kathryn fills the reader with fascinating historical details in this page-turning adventure story.
Waiting for a Sign Volume 2, by Kevin Keating
Once again, Kevin captured the youthful memories of baby boomers who lived during the “Golden Age” of baseball, from the mid-1940s to the early 1970s. Kevin Keating has made a science of getting autographs, and the stories and the friendships developed are even better. Kevin grew up in suburban Chicago. With his dad’s help, he acquired signatures of baseball players in town to play, or play for, the Cubs or White Sox. Eventually, he wrote to players directly or through the Hall of Fame. Kevin estimates he had amassed more than ten thousand autographs before he graduated high school.
This book is about players’ stories and the warm relationships Kevin established with them. “I didn’t fully understand it when I started as a kid: collecting autographs is so much more than a signature on a baseball or piece of paper,” Keating says. “It’s about the one-on-one, intimate moments shared with the star players.” Kevin shares his experiences and interactions with quite a few characters of the game, including Elmer Flick, Casey Stengel, Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors, and the immortal Roberto Clemente.
Explore Virginia with Me, by Rebecca Greene; illustrated by Harry Aveira
Julia, a bright-eyed and eager graduate of the first grade, is greeted by her mother as school goes into summer recess. The young lass was excited about the upcoming family road trip to explore Virginia. Julia stood over her neatly packed suitcase and listened as her mother spoke from a different room. “Don’t forget to bring your camera, binoculars, and sketch pad.”
A rising second grader packing for herself! Wow! That is how you teach responsibility. Explore Virginia has other subtle messages for parents and children alike, e.g., the wonderful gift of spending time as a family. Virginia is full of great places to explore: the Luray Caverns, Virginia Beach, and Colonial Williamsburg among them. Rebecca smartly peppers state facts in throughout the book. Rebecca’s first children’s book was My Perfect Cupcake.
Solve, Not Serve, by Kelly Griffin
In her work, Solve, Not Serve: What Other Nonprofit Management Books Won’t Tell You, author Kelly E. Griffin goes right to the core of stagnation within the nonprofit sector. Drawing on decades of experience as a strategist and management advisor, Kelly is a proponent of a long-overdue paradigm shift within the social sector. She includes critical essentials borrowed from the for-profit world, such as accountability and the use of best practices for marketing and branding. Kelly advises those jumping into the arena of nonprofits to be a brave and bold impetus in decision-making. Griffin offers compelling ideas and strategies for solving the most significant problems our society faces today. This guidebook will motivate employees, volunteers, and financial supporters of the nonprofit sector to define priorities better, have a clear sustainable leadership succession, and push back against unreasonable funder expectations. Solve, Not Serve empowers and inspires readers, especially those dedicated to making the world a better place.
Love Times Infinity, by Lane Clarke
First-time author Clarke takes on sensitive issues in her first novel with the guile of a well-seasoned writer. Love Times Infinity hits three essential topics: self-acceptance comes from within, not from others; therapy is a viable option for teens dealing with mental health issues; and children of sexual assault have their own voices and opinions. The author uses pop culture references and down-to-earth syntax to deliver her powerful messages.
In today’s hyper-paced, chaotic world, life is a juggling act. A damaged family, personal trauma, and high school pressures are the perfect storm for a teenage tragedy. Michie, the main character, is at an early life crossroads. She is tackling decisions about her ambition to attend Brown as a first-generation college student, a blossoming teenage romance, and an estranged mother. There are landmines and pitfalls aplenty. Lane Clarke says, “The pressure on teenagers is big. Juniors and seniors are asked to make lifelong decisions: Am I good enough? Do I need to sell my trauma to have a chance? How am I going to pay for my dream?” This well-written work provides good insight into modern teenagers’ issues.