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Professor, her daughter write book about program in Lincoln County

Feb. 08, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A Marshall University professor and her daughter have joined forces to pen a book about a former youth development program made up of adolescent girls in Lincoln County.

Dr. Linda Spatig, a professor of educational foundations in Marshall University's College of Education and Professional Development, has co-written a book with her daughter, Layne Amerikaner, a communications specialist at People for the American Way in Washington, D.C.

The book is titled "Thinking Outside the Girl Box: Teaming Up With Resilient Youth in Appalachia."

Spatig spent more than 12 years studying a girls' resiliency program in Lincoln County. She said she began writing the book in 2006, when she was given extra time and assistance through her selection as a Drinko Fellow.

"Having the extra time and the assistance gave me the idea to put all that work together in the form of a book to tell the story of that program," Spatig said, in a news release.

In the Lincoln County program, the primary focus was on girls in adolescence. The adults used a variety of approaches, hoping to develop leadership in the girls to help them recognize, and build on, their own strengths.

One way to do that was to provide challenging activities for the girls. For example, Spatig said, they did a lot with the arts. They worked with Colleen Anderson, a well-known poet from West Virginia, and published a book of poetry. They also worked with Ron Sowell of Mountain Stage, writing several songs and publishing two CDs.

The book was published by Ohio University Press and already has been released. Spatig said she is "thrilled" with the publication, particularly since her daughter co-wrote it with her.

"Even though it was based on research, we wrote the book as a love story," she said. "We tell the story through key relationships with key individuals."

A reception and book signing will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at Empire Books in downtown Huntington. Both authors will attend, along with some of the girls featured in the book.

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