He'd asked her so many times."
This excerpt from the novel A Hole in My Heart serves as the backdrop of the story of 13-year old Darrius McMillan, an
The story itself - which chronicles how an urban teenager struggles to stay on the straight and narrow during hard times - is compelling enough. What is more intriguing, however, is that the co-author of this novel is a teenager himself.
Sixteen year-old Edward Booker, like the character he created, lives in
"He's really smart, but with the obstacles he goes through, he can hardly think," he said. "People want to know who their father is. Their mother is on drugs. I just started writing there, trying to help them out."
A Hole in My Heart is a story of anger and pain. It details how Darrius struggles with barriers as he tries to get back the mother he once knew.
"His grandmother gives him advice and encouragement," Booker said. "A Hole in My Heart is a story of faith, hope and the power of prayer."
Booker said his own grandmother has shared plenty of wisdom and support throughout his life. He credited the inspiration he received from Rose Jackson-Beavers, his co-author and aunt, who also grew up in
Booker created most of the book's characters. Jackson-Beavers, a career social worker, said she added some flavor to the story, based on cases she has worked throughout her 20-year career.
Many St. Louis-area teens are already raving about the 109-page novel, and they flock to book signings on both sides of the river. Seventeen-year-old Winnie Caldwell, a junior at
"If more authors would focus on writing for teens, a lot more kids my age might be encouraged,"
The authors said some of the biggest supporters of the book have been young black males. They have heard from students from
"Adults are seriously reading it," Jackson-Beavers said. "What they said to us is, ‘I didn't know that our behavior impacted kids like this.' And it's good to hear the kids' point of view. They make it clear that what we do helps them or hinders them. Teachers can definitely use this book to initiate some serious dialogue with all parties."
A Hole in My Heart, published by Prioritybooks Publications of St. Louis, is available at local book stores and through Amazon.com and Borders.com.
Tags: Books, Adolescents, Teenagers, Children, Psychology, Urban, Urban Education, African-American, Media by Sistrunk