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New books for young readers

Published May 31, 2016

Story by Amelia Carey, Reprinted from InterCom

Stella Friedman, daughter of Rebekah and Eric Friedman, enjoys reading "Amadeus, The Leghorn rooser" in the rooftop garden at SJMC. Rebekah Friedman is Alumni Relations and Development Coordinator for the College of Information and Communications. Photo by Alison Moons.

If there is a young reader in your life, the Young Palmetto Books series from the University of South Carolina Press offers unique books that combine entertainment and education in beautifully illustrated volumes. These books share stories of South Carolina through new ideas and vibrant artwork. The stories teach readers about life told through the eyes of those closest to the action – including puppies, roosters and grandparents. Executive director and series editor Kim Jeffcoat believes these books have much to share with young readers. “South Carolina has a lot of great stories,” says Jeffcoat.

The three newest books published in the series include Nipper of Drayton Hall, Amadeus: The Leghorn Rooster and Crabbing: A Lowcountry Family Tradition. Whether it’s architecture, colors, animals, or a family pastime, each book has something special to share. Young readers will learn about South Carolina while being endlessly entertained. All of the books follow Young Palmetto Book's mission statement, which states, "The series ... highlights South Carolina writers and subjects in smartly crafted books for children and young adults featuring educational themes and supporting materials for teachers and parents."

Nipper of Drayton Hall

Written by Amey Lewis and illustrated by Gerry McElroy, the story follows Nipper the dog throughout his adventures at Drayton Hall near Charleston. While readers enjoy Nipper’s adventures, they’ll also learn about the great architecture South Carolina has to offer. Lewis was inspired to write the book based on her connection with the Drayton family. Lewis dedicated the book to her friend, Anne Drayton Nelson, whose family owned Drayton Hall until the 1970s. Lewis herself spent time at Drayton Hall when she was young. She believes the story is important to share because of its fun and educational aspects. “Nipper of Drayton Hall is a story about real people and a real dog who lived 100 years ago,” said Lewis. The watercolor illustrations from Gerry McElroy paint a picture of life as it was when Nipper roamed around Drayton Hall.

Amadeus: The Leghorn Rooster

Young Palmetto Books has also republished the story of Amadeus: The Leghorn Rooster, written by Delores B. Nevils and illustrated by Jonathan Green, a South Carolina native. Amadeus is a rooster living on St. Helena Island in South Carolina. The book describes Amadeus’ relationship with the other animals he meets, teaching readers a great deal about friendship. The story of Amadeus goes hand in hand with the vibrant and colorful illustrations from Jonathan Green. Color is one of the main focuses of this children’s book. Jeffcoat described the process
saying, “We picked a complimentary color from each illustration for the pages with text.” The story of Amadeus accompanied by Green’s rich illustrations makes this the perfect read for any child with an artistic side.

Crabbing: A Lowcountry Family Tradition

Crabbing: A Lowcountry Family Tradition, is the newest book in the series. Written by Tilda Balsley and illustrated by Monica Wyrick, the book showcases a favorite family pastime in South Carolina, through the story of boys learning about crabbing from their grandfather. The book features a guide to the activity while sharing a story. Monica Wyrick’s illustrations were inspired by Edisto Island in South Carolina, further establishing its South Carolina connection. Wyrick hopes
the book teaches readers from South Carolina and beyond what is so unique about this tradition. Wyrick said, “I think it is so important for children to read books about faraway places and times, as well as books about places that they know or might be able to go to. It lets them know that what is in books can be real, and that maybe they could even write a book!”

Readers both young and old can learn what is so special about South Carolina from these books if they haven’t realized it yet. A reader who picks up one of these books is sure to find something that is just as educational as it is enjoyable. The books feature beautiful illustrations that tie into fresh storylines. The stories and artwork focus on the unique South Carolina connection. Writer Amey Lewis said, “As a born and bred South Carolinian, I am proud of much of our history. I like passing along this history to readers, young and old, throughout the state and hopefully beyond.” 

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