How a speech turned into a book for young adults

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Jerald L. Hoover is an award-winning Young Adult fiction author and has garnered success and multiple accolades over the years. He was awarded Best New Male Writer of the Year by the Literary Society in Virginia in 1993 for his novella My Friend, My Hero. He was also listed as a bestselling author among black writers from 1994 – 1996 in various African American publications and was awarded the WritersCorp Award by President Bill Clinton in 1995.

Hoover’s series of YA fiction, known as “The Hero Book Series” is a group of Young Adult Fiction geared toward young black men ages 12 and up.

His first title in the series “My Friend My Hero” has become recommended reading in many classrooms throughout the world.

However, Hoover’s success did not come easy. In Episode 188 of Class Dismissed Hoover tells us about the challenges he had to overcome to first get published in the 1990s. He says he was rejected by publishers over 40 times.

To hear our full interview with Hoover listen to Episode 188. You can also hear any of our episodes of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcasting app or iTunes.

About “My Friend My Hero”

Bennett Wilson has the world at his fingertips. One of the top basketball players in New York State, he is destined to lead Mount Vernon High to the state championship for the first time. Many of the nation’s top colleges are already reaching out, eager to sign him to their roster. Scholarships are guaranteed. Still young, Bennett is seduced by the promise of fame and fortune.

Yet all is not as it appears. Bennett’s life is plagued with strife and conflict. The oldest of three, he has grown up with his single mother in the tough inner-city projects of Mount Vernon. Life is hard but Bennett refuses to choose the fast life of the streets. He knows his only ticket to freedom is through basketball and academics.

Bennett’s dreams come to a screeching halt when he learns his sick mother has fallen far behind on her rent and is threatened with eviction. He knows he can get easy money on the streets, but at the cost of ruining his future. Will Bennett finally succumb to a life he’s avoided and if he does, what will it cost?

You can learn more about The Hero Book Series at this link.

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