Saturday, October 19, 2013

Book of the Month: The People In The Park

18 Oct 2013 13:35 Africa/Lagos

Award-Winning Author Fills Void with Young Adult Book Featuring African American Teen Facing Family Scandal

"The People In The Park" by Margaree Mitchell Mixes Diversity With Contemporary Teen Issues

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sometimes an innocent conversation can lead to a great idea. That's exactly what happened when Margaree King Mitchell's ( nieces were visiting from Atlanta. When the discussion turned to books, her nieces expressed dismay that they couldn't find books with characters they could identify with. Mitchell had no idea that books featuring African American teens weren't being published. So she visited local bookstores and libraries. And as her nieces had complained, Mitchell found no books featuring African American teens. An award-winning children's book author, Mitchell had been thinking of writing teen fiction for a couple of years. Now that she had heard her nieces' plaintive cry, the idea that had been percolating in the back of Mitchell's mind suddenly seemed relevant and much needed.

Margaree Mitchell.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

"I'd been thinking about a story featuring an upper class African American teen who suddenly had to cut back and learn to live on less," says Mitchell. "After talking to my nieces, I decided to make writing the book a priority."

The People In The Park, which is set in an affluent suburb of Kansas City that snakes along the Missouri River, is the story of 16 year old Lauren Moffit, who is privileged and overprotected by her wealthy parents. She is one of few African American students in a prestigious prep school in a predominately white neighborhood. Nothing can prepare her for the devastating scandal that rocks her world when her father is charged with investment fraud. Lauren struggles to keep her head high, while learning to live on less, and dealing with shame, friend betrayal, and heartbreak. But it's not until she hears the stories of the people in the park, where she takes her daily run, that Lauren realizes she can rise above her family 'situation.'

"I started writing the story in the midst of the recent recession," Mitchell says. "I wanted to show that teens can face adversity and come out whole on the other side without turning to alcohol or drugs. In the process I hope I've written an entertaining story for all teens as well one with characters with which my nieces can identify."

Mitchell thought of calling the book Scandal or Shame, but settled on The People In The Park. "I walk in a park much like the one in The People In The Park. I see the same people every day. They stop to talk, share wisdom, and life stories," Mitchell said. "I wanted the same sense of community for Lauren, my main character. She finds strength and support from the people in the park."

The People In The Park is available wherever books are sold.

About Margaree King Mitchell

Margaree King Mitchell ( is the author of When Grandmama Sings, Uncle Jed's Barbershop, and Granddaddy's Gift.

Margaree King Mitchell
(913) 708-8038

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