Book ‘Em has something for everyone on Saturday

By: By Crystal Edmonds - Contributing columnist
Avie Banks

What does a book mean?

For some, it is an inspiration, a history lesson, or a cathartic means to deal with tragedy; for others, it is friend. Some may even call a book a transporter taking them to faraway lands — a fantasy. Whatever one calls a book, it has adoring fans.

On Saturday readers and aspiring writers are invited to attend Book ‘Em where they will be able to speak with acclaimed authors such as fiction author Jill McCorkle and poet LeJuane Bowens, two of the event’s headlining authors; moreover, attendees may listen to Avie Banks of Charlotte speak of her work, “Ninety-Five Days in the NICU,” that addresses the experiences of having her second premature baby in the neo-natal ICU. It is an account of defying the odds. Harriett Hill of Raleigh will tell of “H’yoanh’s Experience” — a young woman who escapes persecution by the Viet Nam communists and flees to Cambodia and Thailand before coming to the United States. For the outdoor lovers and hiking enthusiasts, Randy Johnson will speak of “Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon.”

Books also connect to fine arts such as art. Chalk artist Katie Bush will speak of that connection. Bush is co-founder of the Georgia Chalk Artist Guild and creative director at Aqua Aura Chalk Designs in Georgia. She creates 2D and 3D artwork. She will create two art pieces on the sidewalk leading to the A.D. Lewis Auditorium. Materials for the project are to be eco-friendly.

For aspiring writers, panel discussions are designed to offer insights for writing fiction or poetry, getting published, and marketing one’s work. Morning panel sessions include Jerry Bradley and Tiffany Upchurch-Rivera discussing poetry as healing power. Both Bradley and Upchurch-Rivera are military veterans. Bradley, author of “One Step Forward, One Step Back,” has had his writings appear in 14 anthologies. He has numerous poetry workshops, including one for the Cumberland County Library. Upchurch-Rivera, author of “Ruined Womb: From Infertility to Inspiration,” is a radio intern at Fayetteville State University Radio Station Bronco-iradio and a poet with IAMsoul.

Two sessions are designed to offer insight for getting published. Authors Wendy Fields and Richael Reed are to offer the author’s perspective. Fields is the author of two faith-based books, “It was God and It Was Good Too.” Reed, author of “Silhouette of Her: Naked and Unashamed A Poetic Journey of Faith,” is an inspirational speaker, coach, licensed professional counselor and addictions specialist. The second panel session presents the publisher’s stance. Representatives from The Dancing Lemur Press and Prospective Press will offer advice to new writers of the nuances of being published.

Book ‘Em is not just for adults; children may venture to the Children’s Corner where activities include games, a bouncy house, face painting, and manicures. They may also enjoy readings from Jane Pait, author of “The Little Red-Haired Angel” and Deborah Watkins, author of “Read? Yes, I Can!”

A schedule of the day’s events is available on the Book ‘Em website: .

New this year is attendees will be able to purchase books directly from each author. Both cash and credit cards will be accepted. Authors will have a price list visible at each station.

Book ‘Em is free and open to the public. Book ‘Em will be held in the A.D. Lewis Auditorium at Robeson Community College from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Children’s Corner activities will commence at 10 a.m. and end at 1 .pm.

As the event supports organizations that highlight literacy, attendees are also encouraged to donate to the cause. For example, there will be an auction for two autographed books: “The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks and “Speaking in Bones” by Kathy Reichs. “The Longest Ride” is a modern Western romance. It was a New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a major motion picture. “Speaking in Bones” is about a forensic anthropologist who investigates and solves crimes with a team of science and law enforcement experts. The book is actually the basis for the long-running television series “Bones.”

What does a book mean? For each person, the answer is different. Everyone is invited to Book ‘Em Saturday to add to their collection of books, converse with authors, and support literacy.

Up-to-date information may be retrieved by accessing the website—

Avie Banks Banks

By Crystal Edmonds

Contributing columnist

Crystal Edmonds is the English Department chairperson at Robeson Community College.

Crystal Edmonds is the English Department chairperson at Robeson Community College.