Thursday, August 16, 2012

{Blog Tour/Guest Post & Excerpt} Can Books Teach Kids to Overcome Peer Pressure?

Welcome to our stop on Steve Theunissen's Through Angel's Eyes blog tour, hosted by ABG Reads Book Tours!

Below you will find book info, book summary and Steve's post with a small excerpt. Enjoy!

ISBN #: 978-1618973740
Page Count: 208
Copyright: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Alabama, 1963 - A world is about to explode ... Angel Dunbar's life is about to be engulfed by the flames. She'll be humiliated, spat upon, beaten and left for dead. And she'll fall in love - with a dangerous twist. Want to know what really happened when Birmingham exploded? Then you've just got to live it ... Through Angel's Eyes.

Guest Post: Can Books Teach Kids to Overcome Peer Pressure?

As a middle school teacher I see children with sharp minds and oodles of potential daily being sidetracked by that great evil of society, peer pressure - and it breaks my heart. The urge to conform among kids is so strong that they seem all too willing to betray their true selves in order to gain, if not popularity, then at least acceptance by their peers. Yet, isn't it individuality rather than conformity that is the mark of a productive member of society?

That is why I believe that resistance to peer pressure is one of the greatest lessons that we can teach our children. But how? It has been my experience that good books with strong role models can have a powerful influence on children. It was that realization that spurred me on to write my first novel 'Through Angel's Eyes.' I wanted to put in front of my students a hero drawn from real life who faced up to and overcame seemingly unendurable pressure from all sides, without denying the beauty of her inner self. At the same time I wanted to share with them the timeless wisdom of a man who had so much to teach us all about overcoming peer pressure - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By walking in the shoes of Angel Dunbar, I figured, students would be able to make the hard choices in their own lives, especially with Dr. King's words ringing in their ears.

Here's one example of Angel overcoming peer pressure in Through Angel's Eyes ...

There, comin' up the street was that old black beast of a car that I'd come to hate. The car that I'd heard at Fred's meetin' that time. The car that I'd sat in on the way to that dreadful other meetin'. The car that stood for everythin' I was trying to get Ronny away from. "Damn!" I whispered. Ronny squeezed my hand. It was those same two guys as last time sittin' in front. As they got closer, the guy in the passenger seat leaned out an' yelled, "We caught the love birds!"

The other guy let out a loud "Hurrah!" an' then they both repeated it together, "We've caught the lovebirds!"

"Ronny, they've been drinkin'!" I whispered.

"It's alright, Angel," he tried to comfort me. The car pulled up alongside us, an' they both spilled out, stumblin' onto the pavement.

"Hoping we'd come across you, Ronny boy," the one who'd been drivin' mumbled. His breath was all over us, that sick smell o' hard liquor.

"Ain't got time for no mushy stuff, now boy," he babbled. "We got biznes to do."

"What's up?" Ronny asked.

"Serious, Ronny," the other one spoke now. "Klan's been doin' some serious crap, man. Bombed King's house, bombed the Gaston. We gotta do somethin' 'bout those fascist pigs, boy!"

I looked at Ronny.

Now's the time Ronny, I thought. Now's the time to prove this to me. All the talk in the world don't mean nothin' if you don't stand up now.

"What ya gonna do?" Ronny asked.

No, Ronny, I thought. Don't even go there.

"Jus' gonna go cruising, Ronny," the driver slurred. "But, boy, who knows what we gonna find?"

He winked at me then, an' I gave him a look that made it clear I wasn't gonna play along.

"Now, you gonna drop off your woman first or she comin' too?" He smirked back at me.

"Ronny!" I whispered, grabbin' his arm.

"You guys are drunk," Ronny said, pulling away from me. "You'll drive us to our death 'fore we even see the Klan."

"Drunk!" the driver roared. "Boy, I ain't never been more sober. Now if you's too chicken to mix it with the big boys, don't come up with no wimpy excuses 'bout us bein' drunk!"

"I ain't chicken," Ronny shot back.

Oh, Ronny, I thought, you've played right into this fool's hand. I had to jump in.

"But he ain't stupid, either," I said.

The driver turned to me, an amazed look on his face.

"What the hell is this, Ronny?" he yelled. "Your tart standing up for ya. Where's your pride, boy?"

I waited for Ronny to let him have it then - to put that drunk fool in his place for callin' me a tart.

But he never did. Instead he shot an annoyed look at me.

"Shut up, Angel!" he said.

I felt foolish then. Ronny'd let me down - left me stranded. All the nice words - the dreamin' while we were alone, the promises - all that'd jus' disappeared. But it was worse than that. They were gonna do somethin' crazy tonight an' I knew now that Ronny was goin' with them. Without me, he'd be led into whatever stupid thing they did. I knew I had to save him.

The three of 'em were piling into the car.

"You can walk home from here," Ronny nodded at me. His words were harsh soundin', nothin' like the sweet, comfortin' way he'd been speakin' jus' a few minutes ago, before these two'd turned up.

"No," I glared at him. "I'm comin' with you."

The driver let out a hoot an' cried out, "Got you a feisty one there, boy!"

As I climbed into the back o' that horrible black car I jus' knew that somethin' terrible was gonna happen.

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