Claudia Whitsitt is an award-winning author and retired special education teacher living in Michigan. Her experiences with identity theft and stalking led her to write IDENTITY ISSUES, which she published as her second novel and as part of the ongoing Samantha Series.
Her first release, THE WRONG GUY, debuted with rave reviews. That plot was also based on personal experiences—she attended Eastern Michigan University on the heels of the serial murders of seven college coeds, dubbed “the Michigan Murders” by the media. The brutal reality of those murders was a rude awakening for a naïve college Freshman.
Although retired, Claudia continues to teach through her school visits, recognizing that as a teacher, she has learned countless lessons from her students and their families about hope in the face of despair, about the hidden talents each of us possesses, and about how simple acts of humanity can touch and enrich lives.
Claudia’s adult books include THE WRONG GUY and the Samantha Series which includes four installments: IDENTITY ISSUES, INTIMACY ISSUES, INTERNAL ISSUES, AND INHERITED ISSUES, Available from Amazon.com. She began writing for Middle Grade students three years ago. This has led to the publication of the Kids Like You Series, including BETWEEN THE LINES, BEYOND THE LINES, AND BROKEN LINES. For more information about Claudia or her novels, visit claudiawhitsitt.com
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YOUR FREE STORY
A Reader’s Favorite
BETWEEN THE LINES
Between the Lines tells the story of three girls who become friends during the racially-charged aftermath of the 1967 Detroit Riots.
Hattie Percha is crushed when the riots start on her tenth birthday, and when she must move away from her treasured childhood home and friends, attending public school for the first time, she’s afraid her life is over. Then, she meets Beverly Jo Nichols, her first black friend, and Crackers, a fearless tomboy. Despite opposition from Hattie’s mother and a racist teacher, the unlikely friends join forces. As the self-proclaimed Dream Girls, they challenge bigotry and intolerance, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto what’s most precious to them all, their friendship.
Growing up in Detroit, I was always concerned about differences and wanted life to be fair. I’m not sure if I was born this way or if my upbringing rooted this belief in me, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that life is anything but fair. Still, I made it my personal mission to try and help people settle their differences in an equitable manner, and be kind to everyone, no matter how different they were from me.
When the Detroit riots started on my fifteenth birthday, like Hattie, I was devastated. But the riots also cemented this sense of wonder in me. Why couldn’t all people get along?
Crackers, Beverly, and I met in college, and when I came to write a novel for my students, I couldn’t think of a better place to begin than with a story inspired by our true friendship, one that has lasted for over forty years.
Some people would call me naïve, I suppose, but I firmly believe that with the right education, much like Jane Elliot’s diversity training, we could learn to celebrate differences and live together in peace. I’m sure that my sense of fairness, my fascination with learning more about how all of us negotiate the world, and my desire to make a difference led me to teaching and to the field of special education.
Writing Between the Lines was a somewhat selfish endeavor for me. Now I can spend more time back in the classroom, where my heart belongs.