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About Jerrie Oughton
Literary dreams for Oughton may have begun in Raleigh classrooms in the late 50's, but it took her tenacity to make it pay off almost 40 years later when she became a published author. The Magic Weaver of Rugs, her 2nd book was published spring of 1994 by Houghton Mifflin Co. and was also named by the National Council for Social Studies as one of the notable books of the year. Both picture books were featured in Smithsonian Magazine in their year-end celebration of the best in children's books.
Oughton's first novel for young adults, Music from a Place Called Half Moon, takes place in the mountains of North Carolina. This novel won the 1995 Bank Street College Award for exceptional literature for young people and was nominated for the South Carolina Junior Book Award for 1997-98. The War In Georgia, Jerrie Oughton's second novel for young adults was honored by the American Library Association by being placed on the 1998 list of Recommended Books for Young Adults. Perfect Family, a novel of teen problems, is a favorite among teenage girls. A gripping story of teen love gone awry in the fifties, its subtle message is one of empowerment for young women in today's world.
Since publication of her first book in 1992, Jerrie has made author visits to over three hundred schools and universities in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, and Ohio. Jerrie delights in visiting schools and sharing her message of hope and hard work paying off.
The Good Hostage is Jerrie's first adult novel
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Thirteen-year-old Shanta Cola Morgan is an orphan who lives with her grandmother and her bedridden Uncle Louie. It isn’t exactly a typical family like other kids have.
But during the scary summer of 1945, as World War II rages overseas and new neighbors move in across the street, hard times and conflict creep into Shanta’s life as stealthily as kudzu in the Georgia countryside. As Shanta, her grandmother, and Louie dig deep to keep love and humor in their home, Shanta learns how a family sustains each other—and discovers the painful truth that there are worse things than not having parents . . .
When Edie Jo Houp's father opens the "biggest can of worms you ever did see" by suggesting that the Vine Street Baptist Church ope its Vacation Bible School to all the children of Half Moon, North Carolina - including the Indian children - practically everyone in town turns on the Houps. Thirteen-year-old Edie Jo isn't sure how she feels about ther daddy's idea. That summer of 1956, however, is one of change and growth. Up at her own private place, she meets and Indian boy named Cherokee Fish. A tentative connection develops between them as they begin to share their secrets and dreams. As the tensions that summer reach their peak, Edie Jo ultimately learns that "friendships don't shape on color."
Rebellious sixteen year old Janie Rutherford had never spent much time thinking about Heaven. But now she’s there. In The View From Here, Janie struggles to adapt and overcome her fear of not belonging. First she encounters The Teacher, an enormous black woman clad in a silver robe, who belittles Janie’s link to the past – a photo that she brought from her life on earth. As if it weren’t already confusing enough, The Teacher then hands Janie a snapshot of a boy. “I don’t know this person,” Janie protests. “You will,” The Teacher replies. Then turns away and calls out, “Next . . .”
On the other hand, her housemother, Mother Weir is a breath of fresh air for Janie. Old, but a rebel in her own right, she rules the home-place with a comforting but firm hand, assuring Janie and the other residents that it’s perfectly all right that the Hereafter is not all skittles and beer. When Mother Weir takes Janie window shopping, first they see the next county up, which may one day be Janie’s future. Window #2 looks into a nursery full of babies which becomes Janie’s favorite place in the Hereafter. And, through Window #3, she revisits earth where her family is still grappling with her untimely death. Her memory floods back, and Janie remembers it all, including who the boy in the mysterious photo is and why she must carry him with her into the Hereafter.
The lessons she is beginning to learn in the Hereafter come from many sources. On earth, Janie put God inside a box. Here a peer mentor who calls himself Papa De guides her as she takes God out of the box and comes to understand there are no boxes strong enough to contain him.
It has been said that life is a journey. Janie Rutherford discovers that so is Heaven.
I suppose you could call it a love story. Maybe even a ghost tale. I guess you might say it’s about finding courage to “dance in the brokenness of life.” You would definitely be walking on the edge of truth if you accused me of filling in the blanks with my imagination.
But this I know for certain: you can believe it; because somewhere out there are a man and a woman and a girl who lived this story.
Thelma Wooten, retired high school Spanish teacher, experiences all of the above. The challenges of teaching and parenthood did not begin to match her life as it plays out now in the small eastern North Carolina town of Whitleyville. Bundle in an angry daughter, a hearing-impaired husband along with her own arthritic knees and she has challenges enough. She doesn’t need two kidnappers and their halfwit buddy, Wafford Buncombe, but she’s got them all.
Award-winning children’s author Jerrie Oughton stretches out for a debut adult novel about life on the fast track in small town America.