The best part about the ALA conference in New Orleans this year was that my daughter Stephanie accompanied me and helped me launch Rhino to a host of librarians, publishers, and authors from around the world. I am hoping Stephanie doesn't carry through with her threat to publish a book called How to Take Your Dad to a Conference. Oh the stories she might tell!
But while we were safely behind our exhibit table we met hundreds of librarians from around the world (there were thousands there) and were able to get Rhino into Canada, Germany, Africa, Utah, the New England states, California, and too many other states to mention.
While pitching the story to the various librarians, it became even clearer to me that Rhino has four distinct markets:
Middle and High School Libraries
The redemptive story shows how teen boys fight for their autonomy within a school structure: Sprout befriends Rhino and Rhino later saves him. The boys also learn that bullying does not just occur among teens, it can also occur among teachers, administrators, superintendents and school board members. Rhino offers English and civics or social studies teachers a great opportunity to collaborate on one novel.
Rhino can serve as a resource for teachers in training since it shows not only student interactions but power struggles between teachers and administration, as well as superintendent and school board members. At the teacher/student interaction level, education majors will be exposed to three teens suffering from three different types of trauma, homelessness, death, and divorce. At the administration level, Rhino exposes new teachers to workplace expectations and opens the conversation about which directives are reasonable requests to fulfill expectations and which are abusive or even criminal.
Rhino is driven by a subconscious desire to overcome the guilt and shame he feels from accidentally causing his parents' deaths when he was eight years old. The new student in town, Landry, lives homeless with his "Uncle Billy," who suffers from PTSD. And Sprout, the protagonist, is about to watch his parents start moving toward a divorce. Rhino should prove to be a great tool in the tool bag of every psychologist or counselor helping adolescents work through shame, guilt, grief, and loss.
Public Libraries: Family Reading
Three of the boys in Rhino are suffering from some type of family trauma. Their compassion for each other moves them toward healing but also away from their family order. Rhino will be a great family read that allows parents to discuss with their children peer choices and consequences.
Read the first three chapters now:
But it now on Amazon: