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“My Father Said I Could,” written by Anita McLaurin of San Antonio, Texas, was nominated in April for a 2018 Author Academy Award, an honor bestowed for literary merit and publishing excellence in the writing and publishing industry. McLaurin is now among the top 10 finalists.

“My Father Said I Could” is contending for an award in the children’s literature category, which tells the story of four African-American siblings who have big dreams and how they overcome doubt, fear, and naysayers by listening to one steady, comforting voice. This inspiring book teaches children how to explore their own unique gifts and talents, and how to accept the twists and turns that life brings while continuing to pursue their own destiny despite the many voices they hear along the way.

The National Center for Fathering reports that an estimated 24.7 million (33%) of children in the U.S. live absent their biological father. According to Kids Count 2016 (a project of the Annie E. Cassey Foundation), 66% of African-American households where single parent. Nearly every child has aspirations of what they want to be when they grow up. As adults, many of these same people aren’t working in their gifts and talents. According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report, millions of adults are squandering their talents and wasting their time in jobs feeling trapped and dissatisfied. Many times, especially without a father in the home, this is the life children see modeled before them and the cycle begins. Despite these facts, McLaurin wants children to know that there is still hope.

“Out of hundreds of books from authors throughout the world, only ten in each category secured an opportunity to present their books at the red-carpet session at the Author Academy Awards,” said Kary Oberbrunner, founder of Author Academy Elite and the Author Academy Awards. “Our goal is to help further connect this global community of authors, maintain excellence and integrity of the book publishing industry, and raise awareness that the stories being told and the authors who write them are worth our attention.”

Entries are being reviewed and evaluated on popular vote, social contribution, and overall presentation (cover, content, flow, and originality) by the Academy’s voting committee comprised of best-selling authors, literary agents, and industry leaders.

McLaurin, also a motivational speaker and lifestyle coach, will join other Author Academy Elite authors on Oct. 25 at the Polaris Barnes & Noble in Columbus, Ohio for a book signing event. A few days later, she is scheduled to present the message from the book to the student body of Urban Concern in South Linden, Ohio. Urban Concern is committed to helping inner city youth in their community overcome challenges and thrive. And while risk factors in this area are decreasing, South Linden remains among the poorest neighborhoods in all of Central Ohio, as reported by the Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University.