Lucky readers have the opportunity to secure a signed copy of local author Malcolm Ater's newest book to have under the tree Christmas morning. Ater will be on hand at Four Seasons Books on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. to autograph his newest work, "The Hermitage House Miracle."
The book, designed for middle school readers, addresses many issues faced by young teens and preteens in today's world. Especially appealing to boys, Ater suggests that the content addresses many social issues such as bullying, smoking and the adverse effects of alcohol.
"But there is no preaching in it," he said.
The book has already secured accolades winning the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for best contemporary fantasy. The books has also been selected as a finalist for the Best Children's Book by WV Writers, Inc.
"Tyler's Mountain Magic," Ater's first book was also a winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in Sports in 2012. "Tyler's Mountain" also secured the award for Best Book Length Story in 2011.
"The Hermitage House Miracle" tells the story of young Jamie who finds himself orphaned and living at the Hermitage House, an orphanage on the brink of closure. The story tells of his journey in remembering his past that had been blocked out and his desire to find his way back to what he believes to be his home.
Partially set in Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown, Ater uses his knowledge of his own home to paint the story of Jamie's journey while also incorporating the magic and wonder of video games and a bit of magic.
Ater, who makes his home in Shepherdstown, is a special education reading teacher at Harpers Ferry Middle School where he has taught for 23 years. He served as head wrestling coach at the school from 1997-2001 His record as head coach was 110 wins and 14 losses.
In addition to his coaching, Ater spent many years announcing high school baseball games on the radio with partner, Tom Tucker. The two were selected the the Associated Press as the Best Sports Broadcasting Team for Small Market Radio in West Virginia.
With the varied honors and talents, Ater finds his most satisfying role as teacher to students who, between 2005 and 2009, had the highest combined special education reading achievement test scores of any middle school in West Virginia during that time frame.
He has contributed human interest stories to a vareity of magazines as well as having written three educational 16-page comic books, two for The American Cancer Society, Taking a Chance...With No Change to Win, and So You Want to Stop? You Can!. His other educational comic was for the Centers for Disease Control and endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General, "What You Know About Aids Can Save Your Life.
Ater enjoys writing and already has plans for his next work.
"I have a rough draft, but it still needs a lot of work," he said.
Ater will be on hand to sign books at 3 p.m. Both Tyler's Mountain Miracle and The Hermitage House Miracle will be available for purchase.