Raleigh au­thor’s de­but in­volves a chicken and Norse mythol­ogy

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Read - BY CINDY SCHAE­FER

Paul Tillery IV strug­gled with aca­demics dur­ing his early school years. That changed when he dis­cov­ered a love of read­ing in the third grade. His per­for­mance and at­ti­tude im­proved, some­thing he hopes to pass along to to­day’s new read­ers.

His de­but chil­dren’s book, “Thun­der­cluck!” (Macmil­lan Chil­dren’s Pub­lish­ing Group), was born out of an award­win­ning an­i­mated short film. The book, aimed at ages 7 to 12, tells a big­ger story.

“I wanted to tell the kind of story I would’ve loved at that age,” Tillery says. “It’s a quirky story be­cause I was a quirky kid.”

“Thun­der­cluck!” tells what hap­pens when a magic mishap grants the power of thun­der to a chicken, who must then face an evil chef. The tale takes place amid Norse mythol­ogy and fea­tures an­i­mals, ac­tion and comic fantasy. The chicken’s men­tor, a young Brun­hilde, is a Valkyrie in train­ing. The pair’s bond was in­spired by Tillery’s own re­la­tion­ship with his older sis­ter, Sadie.

Tillery’s co-il­lus­tra­tor, Meg Wit­twer, says it was that bond that ap­pealed to her. “I wanted to be a part of some­thing that en­cour­ages find­ing fam­ily in friend­ships, as well as show­ing you can find strength in those friend­ships.”

Tillery lives in Raleigh.


“Queen of Zaz­zau” (Afro­cen­tric Books) by J.S. Emuak­por chron­i­cles the jour­ney of a real-life West African queen, Amina of Zaz­zau. Dur­ing the wan­ing of the Song­hai Em­pire, as smaller king­doms rise to promi­nence and with for­eign in­va­sion im­mi­nent, Amina must de­fend her peo­ple. Fiercely de­ter­mined, she jour­neys to the spirit world and tracks down the God of War in an ef­fort to defy the proph­esy.

Emuak­por, who lives in Apex, was born and raised in West Africa.

Durham’s Henry Ad­di­son Jr. shares the hard­ships and joy of growing up in ru­ral North Carolina dur­ing the 1940s and 1950s in his novel, “Mem­o­ries of a Good and Sim­ple Life” (lulu.com). De­spite the chal­lenges of liv­ing with an al­co­holic fa­ther, the au­thor tells of a boy’s love of life and its many ad­ven­tures and follows him to adult­hood with a glimpse of cor­po­rate life.

Tri­an­gle-area au­thors: We want to hear about your new book. Send in­for­ma­tion to book­[email protected]­sob­server.com. As space per­mits, we will men­tion self-pub­lished books by lo­cal au­thors that are for sale on com­mer­cial sites.

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