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COLUMBIA — The S.C. Center for Children’s Books and Literacy works every day to grow, educate and shape the next generation of South Carolinians. And what better way to do that than with its own just-launched series, Young Palmetto Books.

This new series of educational South Carolina-focused books for young readers, published by the University of South Carolina Press, introduced its first two offerings this week: “Fragments of the Ark: A Novel,” a reprint of a young adult book by Louise Merriwether that follows the exploits of a runaway slave during the Civil War, and “Greek Revival from the Garden: Growing and Cooking for Life” by USC first lady Patricia Moore-Pastides. Four more books for the series are in the publishing pipeline.

The series will feature books written by a South Carolinian or about a place in the state, said Kim Jeffcoat, the series editor and the executive director of the Center for Children’s Books and Literacy. The center is also home to USC’s mascot-led literacy program Cocky’s Reading Express, an outreach program that offers a perfect vehicle for understanding children’s book needs.

Young Palmetto Books, which targets an audience from birth through age 18, was created through a partnership between the USC Press and the Center for Children’s Books and Literacy, part of the USC School of Library and Information Science. A series editorial board, led by Jeffcoat, identifies new projects with connections to South Carolina authors and subject matters.

Moore-Pastides said she was excited about the concept of a “family cookbook.” Her new book, which will be available May 18-19 at the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, offers guidance on how to pursue healthy eating, starting from the ground up. It includes gardening tips, recipes and cooking methods that foster a happy and healthy relationship with good food.

Other soon-to-be-published books include the story of how a third-grade cabbage seed project grew into a national nonprofit organization, written by teen Katie Stagliano; a Jonathan Green-illustrated book about Robert Smalls, an black hero of the Civil War; a celebration of discovery and learning found in the true story of a Nobel laureate in physics from Greenville by Rachel Haynie; and a heartfelt remembrance of Tom Feelings, an award-winning black artist and children’s book illustrator, written by his daughter, Niani Feelings.

From Young Palmetto Books

“Fragments of the Ark: A Novel,” by Louise Merriwether (A reprint edition of a young adult novel inspired by the life of Robert Smalls)

“Greek Revival from the Garden: Growing and Cooking for Life,” by Patricia Moore-Pastides

The books will be available in May at the South Carolina Book Festival.

Forthcoming in the series

“First, You Explore: The Story of the Young Charles Townes,” by Rachel Haynie

“Tom Feelings, My Daddy,” by Niani Feelings with Dinah Johnson

“Katie’s Cabbage,” by Katie Stagliano with Michelle Martin

“The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls,” by Louise Meriwether, illustrated by Jonathan Green

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