Young Palmetto Books: Growing S.C. readers
By Megan Sexton, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-1421
The S.C. Center for Children’s Books and Literacy works every day to grow, educate and shape the next generation of South Carolinians. And what better way to do that than with its own just-launched series – Young Palmetto Books.
Young Palmetto Books, a new series of educational South Carolina-focused books for young readers published by the University of South Carolina Press, introduced its first two offerings this week – “Fragments of the Ark: A Novel,” a reprint of a young adult book by Louise Merriwether that follows the exploits of a runaway slave during the Civil War, and “Greek Revival from the Garden: Growing and Cooking for Life,” a family cookbook by USC First Lady Patricia Moore-Pastides. Four additional books for the series are in the publishing pipeline.
The series will feature books written by a South Carolinian or about a place in the state, said Kim Jeffcoat, the series editor and the executive director of the Center for Children’s Books and Literacy. The center is also home to USC’s mascot-led literacy program Cocky’s Reading Express, an outreach program that offers a perfect vehicle for understanding children’s book needs.
“Cocky’s Reading Express visits schools in every part of South Carolina. We see what the children of South Carolina are reading and we see what they don’t have. We can see where there are gaps and where there is a need,” Jeffcoat said. “We want great quality books that express what the kids of South Carolina are like. South Carolina has so many great stories to tell.”
Young Palmetto Books, which targets an audience from birth through age 18, was created through a partnership between the USC Press and the Center for Children's Books and Literacy, part of the USC School of Library and Information Science. A series editorial board, led by Jeffcoat, identifies new projects with connections to South Carolina authors and subject matters.
Jonathan Haupt, director of the USC Press, said the collaboration helps “grow our customer base.” “Partnering with SCCCBL is what makes Young Palmetto Books possible for the USC Press. Kim Jeffcoat and the rest of the center staff, along with our Young Palmetto Books editorial board, bring the skills and knowledge to help the Press select, develop and share only the very best books,” Haupt said. “It’s an ambitious idea dedicated to taking a leading role in fostering a more literate, more inspired, more informed and more service-minded generation of South Carolinians.”
And it offers a chance to publish some exciting work by new – and established – authors. Moore-Pastides, author of the popular Mediterranean cookbook “Greek Revival: Cooking for Life,” said she was excited about the concept of a “family cookbook.” Her new book, which will be available at the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia May 18-19, offers guidance on how to pursue healthy eating, starting from the ground up. It includes gardening tips, recipes and cooking methods that foster a happy and healthy relationship with good food.
Other soon-to-be-published books include the story of how a third-grade cabbage seed project grew into a national nonprofit organization, written by teen Katie Stagliano; a Jonathan Green-illustrated book about Robert Smalls, an African-American hero of the Civil War; and a heartfelt remembrance of Tom Feelings, an award-winning African-American artist and children’s book illustrator, written by his daughter, Niani Feelings.
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