Category: Books

Darrick Campbell, a Maywood Native and Author, Talks Debut Book

Sunday, October 1, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Maywood native Darrick Campbell recently completed his first book, a memoir called “My Father’s Son,” which is available for $12.99 at Campbell said he’s working on getting the book on Amazon in the near future. During an interview earlier this month, Campbell talked about his inspiration for the book and the purpose he’s found in writing it.

Continue reading “Darrick Campbell, a Maywood Native and Author, Talks Debut Book”

Novelist With Maywood Ties Explores Suffocating Reality of Race

Marian Thomas photo.jpg

Marian L. Thomas takes a break from a book signing and discussion inside of AfriWare Books in Maywood on Saturday to talk about her most recent novel, “I Believe in Butterflies.” | Michael Romain/VFP

Monday, June 5, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

In the opening scene of Marian L. Thomas’s new novel, “I Believe in Butterflies,” Emma Lee Baker, one of the lead characters, is standing on a bridge “during the heat of the day” and staring at fish.

“I ain’t crazy. I just like staring at freedom,” Baker says through the book’s first-person narration. Moments later, the reader finds out the 76-year-old woman’s grim discovery — the body of a young girl who appears to be no older than 14, her blonde hair “wrapped around her neck like it was the thing that choked the poor life out of her.”

Thomas flips the script, so to speak, on a very familiar literary occurrence — instead of a black male found dead, the victim of a lynching; here is white innocence itself, a young blonde female teen, symbolically lynched by the very standard of beauty and power meant to be her protection. Before long, racism makes victims of us all, Thomas’s novel proposes.

Race and its many, suffocating complications, loom over much of the author’s body of work, which includes a children’s book, a play and six novels.

But it took leaving relatively integrated Oak Park and moving to Atlanta for Thomas to start working through those many complications.


In Oak Park, Thomas lived with her maternal grandparents, who were one of two black homeowners on the block, she said. The reality of race here, however, wasn’t quite as domineering as it was in Atlanta.

For the most part, Thomas’s grandparents lived the American Dream, which they earned through a degree of thrift that’s rare nowadays. Thomas’s grandmother, a nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital and her grandfather, a baker, bought their Oak Park house and their Cadillacs in cash.

“They drove Cadillacs that were paid for and they would drive a car until it just fell apart,” Thomas, 45, recalled during a recent interview after a book signing event held Saturday at AfriWare Books in Maywood.

 “We don’t do that today, but that was them. They paid cash for everything,” she said of her grandparents. “They didn’t believe in credit cards. In the book, Emma Lee Baker talks about how her husband was able to afford the home she still lives in and how it was unheard of for African Americans to own a home.”

In 1988, Thomas moved to Atlanta with her father and stepmother. She was only one of two black seniors in her high school’s graduating class. Thomas said her father now lives in Maywood.

“Growing up in Oak Park, I didn’t really understand the whole black, white, interracial dynamic until I moved to the South, which is a very different culture,” she said. “It was an eye-opener.”

If moving to the South sparked an awareness of grand themes that would define her work, Thomas’s time in Oak Park fertilized her passion for storytelling. It was in the library at Oak Park and River Forest High School where she wrote he first short story, which became the basis for her first novel, “Color Me Jazzmyne” — published two decades and many rewrites later.

The book climbed to the top of the Amazon bestseller’s list and won a Sankofa Literary Society award.

Thomas had by then graduated from college magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business. She said she was pushed by an old boss to rework her high school short story into a novel.

Now, Thomas, who works full-time as a digital marketing professional, is experiencing a fresh surge in popularity and appeal. Her message, though, is as age-old as her grandparents’ thriftiness.

“Emma talks about her fish and why she loves her fish, which she call ‘freedom,’” Thomas said. “That’s because that’s how God meant for all of us to be [just as fish are fish, people are people]. We should focus on being men and women. Race shouldn’t be the first thing we think about. The message in the book is to treat each other as humans.” VFP

For more local literary news, ‘Like’ VFP on Facebookfacebook logo

Maywood Native, Author to Visit Walther Christian Academy, March 24 | Maywood Library to Remove Late Fees, March 20 – April 1

Edmond Kelley

Dr. Edmond Kelly. | Photo: Edmond Kelly/Facebook

Dr Edmond KelleyMarch 20, 2014 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

[Walter Christian Academy Release]: Dr. Edmond Kelly who was raised in Maywood and graduated from Walther Lutheran High School in 1995 recently announced the publication of his first book How ONE Choice Directs Your Destiny.

How ONE Choice Directs your Destiny is a self-inspirational book set as a three-part series that prepares a person to learn about their truth, trust their decision-making, and remaining in triumph once they have overcome.

The book is also an introduction to his philosophy, Mind Interpretation Theory, which focuses on teaching how to make righteous decisions, which will help begin the process of working smart, not hard, and living a life in excellence.

Walther Christian Academy, located at 900 Chicago Avenue in Melrose Park, will host a book-signing for Dr. Kelly on Friday, March 247 p.m. The public is invited to attend to hear from Dr. Kelly and copies of his book will be available for purchase.

Dr. Edmond Kelly Jr. has worked in the education field for fifteen years, but truly gained knowledge and wisdom during his time as a young boy in ministry and through receiving his Masters of Counseling in 2012 and doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in 2015 from Liberty University.

Dr. Kelly and his wife Felicia are blessed with two, beautiful children, Zoey and Elicia. He believes when making any decision, family should be the first thought in mind. He accredits his family as the guiding light to completing the book.

As a philanthropist, author, and co-founder of Crossover Gear clothing line, he felt that education will be the driving force to bless others in need. Through counsel and mentorship, he has created developmental programs for youth, such as, Heroes Of Tomorrow youth ministry.

He produced campaigns called the BACK UP Plan: Bullying Awareness Constitute Knowledge & Ultimate Protection, Crossover Cares Foundation (which will create scholarships for college bound students, contributed to charities yearly) and Operation The latter focuses on prevention of violence in the city of Chicago.

His passion for blessing others kept him grounded, humbled, and focused on making decisions to reach his own destiny, which is to give.

Maywood Library to Remove Late Fees 

Amnesty Week Slide_2.jpg