The Milan Eagle-Whitsitt Shows her New Book



Whitsitt shows her new book
Added by The Saline Eagle Media on June 9, 2015.
Saved under Community News, Our Schools
Tags: Beverly Jo Nichols, Claudia Whitsitt, Eric Roman, Jill Gerweck, Joyce Ervin, Martin Luther King, Milan Middle School

Photos by Joyce Ervin Photographed are Milan Middle School sixth-grade students, Skye Bell, Savannah Farris and Sophia Holmes, in Jill Gerweck’s ELA classroom holding autographed copies of “Between the Lines”.
Students wear wristbands courtesy of Claudia Whitsitt. The wristbands read, “friendship is colorblind”.
Go to slide 1Go to slide 2
By Joyce Ervin

Claudia Whitsitt is an author but also a former teacher and there seems to be no keeping her out of the classroom. She has written a book, “Between the Lines”, that appeals to young readers and teaches many life lessons. Whitsitt engaged Saline school students to help her write the book, while visiting their classroom regularly.

From there, word spread quickly, and she has been invited to address students at other schools including her recent visit to Milan Middle School. The students had been studying the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches with Eric Roman in their social studies class. Whitsitt’s book fit their curriculum timetable perfectly.

She spoke with Jill Gerweck’s sixth-grade ELA class. The students had been working incredibly hard with expository, argumentative and narrative writing in conjunction with studying the steps of the writing process

The students were excited, Gerweck said, to learn Whitsitt’s tips on writing, story ideas and sharing the ins and outs of her occupation. “Her message of kindness and acceptance was inspiring and will certainly stick with all of us who heard her speak,” she said.

The book that has just been nominated for a Michigan Notable Book Award is set in the 1960s after the Detroit riots, and Whitsitt brings to life the racial turmoil and struggle to befriend, Beverly Jo Nichols, her first black friend.

Not only a story of friendship, the book shows ways to close the chasm between white and black and a history of the times. A review by Mother Daughter Book Reviews states, “Between the Lines” tells a really heartbreaking but uplifting story, about race and loyalty and friends, in a way that any kid will relate to.”

“It was an honor and a privilege to have her in my classroom, Gerweck said, and she brought wrist bands for the students with her hashtag “friendship is colorblind” #friendshipiscolorblind and students are wearing them as a reminder to be kind.”

Whitsitt said talking to kids about how kindness can change the world was inspiring for her, as well as the students. The Dream Girls of “Between the Lines” are creating quite the stir. “I’m so thrilled to share my love of Detroit and my passion for writing with such a bright group of students”, she said.

For more information on the author and the book, visit Whitsitt’s website at

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan. She can be contacted at: jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.