Young Palmetto Books
Giving young readers something new to leaf through.
South Carolina, we are routinely enveloped by the nostalgic
surroundings of our humble beginnings as an agricultural
society, of our beloved palmetto tree and the strength
it symbolizes, and of the heroism and courage of many who
brought honor and pride to our state.
The Young Palmetto Books imprint
that debuted this May seeks to ensure
the significance of these elements of our
society are not only taught, but embraced,
by the youth of our communities.
The University of South Carolina
Press and the South Carolina Center
for Children's Books and Literacy
(SCCCBL), a program in the School of Library and Information Science,
launched this book series with the goal
of featuring South Carolina-centric material
that aims to enrich literacy efforts
for children of all ages.
"One of the things that I have always
wanted to do is to find out where the
gaps are in good children's literature,"
said Kim Jeffcoat, SCCCBL executive
Through the center's book collection
and reading programs conducted
around the state, Jeffcoat noticed a lack
of material that specifically focused on
South Carolina. She discussed the idea
of Young Palmetto Books with Jonathan
Haupt, director of the USC Press.
"This is not something that university
presses usually do," Haupt said.
"We're really looking for…ways to share
South Carolina's history and culture
with younger groups of readers and get
them excited at an early age, so that they
continue to be interested and invested in
those topics as adults."
In keeping with the press's mission of
enrichment of the state's cultural and
natural legacy, Young Palmetto Books
focuses not only on material pertaining
to South Carolina, but also relies on the
talents of writers and artists who have
a connection with the state. The first
book in the series, "Fragments of the
Ark," tells the account of Civil War-era
slave Robert Smalls and his daring commandeering
of a Confederate vessel.
USC's first lady, Patricia Moore-Pastides,
is the author of the second book,
one that encourages the use of personal
gardens and offers recipes that utilize the
produce of those gardens.
The series and its new Young Palmetto
Books logo were unveiled at SCCCBL at
an April reception. Haupt and Jeffcoat
hinted at upcoming projects. Moore-
Pastides also spoke about her book and
the need she sees for younger generations
to have a voice through the medium of
literature. Keeping with that mission,
two adolescent authors are scheduled for
As the initiative grows, a wider variety
of books will be published in 2014,
including the graphic novel "AIDS
in the End Zone." Lowcountryartist Jonathan Green
will illustrate a new edition of Louise Meriwether's "The
Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls."
"There's a lot of potential for a really
great young adult series or children's
series to come out of this," said Jeffcoat.
"By connecting authors and illustrators
in South Carolina we can also provide
for them a network…where they can
Haupt also believes in the future opportunities
this imprint will present.
"We have a responsibility…to positively
impact the lives of South Carolina
children with these kinds of books,"
He anticipates that the project will
foster "good, positive national attention
for South Carolina" and will fuel the
success of Young Palmetto Books, adding
"we certainly wouldn't turn down a
Reprinted from InterCom, the college alumni magazine
Story By: Kayla Anderson & Design
By: James Chamberlain