Maurice Smith has always wanted to write a book. Once he turned 50, he made his dream a reality when he wrote and released “Uncle Charles and Me” in February. The book chronicles the relationship between an uncle and his nephew, who is based on Smith’s son Myles.
“The book captures his visits with his uncle in Norton, near Big Stone Gap,” Smith said. “There are adventures of fishing in the river, finding scorpions, riding bicycle, and cooking.”
Smith’s sons, (Christian, Noah, and Myles) inspired the book. He said they are excited about and proud of him for writing it. Smith said the book shows the difference having positive family members, especially male role models, can make for children and how it shapes their future by giving them life lessons.
Smith lives in Chester and is currently an assistant principal at Prince Edward Middle School. His involvement in the development of children started when he coached soccer.
“I transferred this into teaching for six years, and through 13 years of administration, I could influence learning even more,” Smith said. “I’ll continue to teach and influence children for the rest of my life through my profession, [through] writing books, [through] my mentoring program ‘Young Gentleman for Life,’ and as a father to three boys.”
Smith plans to continue adding family members in his books, as he has two more books on the way.
“Uncle Charles and Us” will be the other book, [and it] will involve
my youngest son, Noah, a girl (niece), and their other adventures with Uncle Charles,” Smith said. “I will [also] write a book about my grandmother and my adventures with her on the train to Philadelphia, learning about different parts of the train and the connection with a family visit. It will be called ‘Choo Choo Grandma.'”
The lockdowns have affected his book signings, but he has already had a virtual reading and is planning on doing another this month. Schools in Virginia are closed for the rest of the school year and Smith said educating in the era of COVID-19 has been an ongoing process.
“Like others in the state, we [principals] are providing the leadership needed for our teachers to continue the learning of all our students. We have used learning packets and online learning through Zoom, Google Hangout/Meets, Google Classroom, and others,” Smith said. “It has been an ongoing process to make sure students continue to learn and be ready for the opening of school.”
Smith has received positive feedback for the book, which has had social media buzz. Current and former Prince Edward students have expressed their excitement about the book. Smith said it was donated to the elementary and middle schools and is available at the local library in Farmville.
Smith said he hopes “Uncle Charles and Me” will show that you can always reach your goal if you work hard enough. He provided advice for those interested in writing a book.
“Write and indulge in your creativity and let those ideas hit the paper running,” Smith said. “Write about what you are passionate about in your heart. The passion will drive you and sustain you to the end, and it makes your writing so much easier.”