On Thursday, April 12, Mt. Healthy Jr/Sr High School hosted an award winning author, Tracy Lawson. The Cincinnati native has written several nonfiction history books that reflect her ancestral history in the Mt. Healthy and Springfield Township areas. She visited several of the high school English Language Arts classrooms explaining her processes she used to research and write her books. Lawson explained with students using her genealogy and ancestral data as key evidence for her information in nonfiction informational writing. In addition, Mrs. Lawson presented her exploration about her family, who owned and operated the Mt. Healthy Mill, and the mill’s impact on the surrounding community. She also stated that it was her family that built the covered bridge on Mill Rd adjacent to Miles Rd. Additionally, sharing a couple stories from her family history she described how the family traveled to New York to gain knowledge and experience grinding grain in the mill. Furthermore, Lawson shared her experience on writing four fictional novels that have a science –fiction aspect to them. She described the differences in research and writing that it took to develop these stories.
Her book, Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More: Explorations of Henry Rogers’ 1838 Journal of Travel from Southwestern Ohio to New York City (McDonald & Woodward 2012), is the journal and annotations of her great-great-great grandfather. It earned Best Nonfiction History Ohio Professional Writers’ Association 2012 and a Five-Star Selection from Readers’ Favorite Book Review. In addition, her book, Pride of the Valley: Sifting through the History of the Mount Healthy Mill (McDonald & Woodward 2017), was selected for the Ohioana Book Festival in 2018. This book delves more deeply into the history of the mill as well as her ancestor’s lives living in Mt. Healthy, Ohio. Additionally, Lawson wrote a series of fictional novels “set in a near-future alternate reality version of the United States, in which terrorist attacks on American soil continued after the events of 9/11.” These are the Resistance Series with the first titled, Counteract: Book One of the Resistance Series.
Mt. Healthy High School students gained valuable knowledge and experience with Lawson’s discussion of both fiction and nonfiction writing. Several students received answers about publishing and how they might do so with their own work. Visits and connections with authors, such as this, are another step in literacy development that continues the district’s goal of offering students opportunities for academic success in the 21st Century.