Dr. Marilyn Sue Shank’s novel for young readers, “Child of the Mountains,” is set in rural West Virginia in 1953 and features the resilient and determined Lydia Hawkins. Lydia’s tight-knit family is torn asunder when her grandmother and younger brother die, and her mother is jailed unjustly. Suddenly Lydia has lost all those dearest to her.
Shank will speak at the West Virginia Book Festival at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Charleston Civic Center. She will autograph books immediately after her talk.
Shank earned her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Kansas, where she majored in learning disabilities and behavior disorders and minored in counseling psychology and families with disabilities. She has taught general and special education at elementary, secondary and college levels. Shank’s work has been published in professional journals, and she co-authored the first four editions of “Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools.” “Child of the Mountains” is her first novel.
The 12th annual West Virginia Book Festival will be held Oct. 13 and 14. The two-day event celebrates books and reading and offers something for all age groups. A variety of authors will attend, participating in book signings, readings, workshops and panel discussions. Activities for children include special programs and a section of the Marketplace filled with children’s activities. Admission to the festival is free.
The event is presented by The Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc., Kanawha County Public Library, the West Virginia Humanities Council, The Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail and is sponsored by The Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation, Pam Tarr and Gary Hart and Books-A-Million. For more information, visit www.wvbookfestival.org.