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Local author donates books to classroom

Pictured (from left) John Smith, Professor Yvonne Trotter, Stacy McNally, Josh Menning, and Matthew Ketchum (Submitted photo)

CALCUTTA — Recently, author J.W. Kitson (John Smith) was able to donate a classroom set of his award-winning novel, Song of the Tree Frogs, to a local educator. The donation was made possible through a generous scholarship and donation from Prof. Yvonne Trotter, a former educator and administrator in the East Liverpool City Schools and a Professor of Education at Geneva College. Together, Smith and Trotter selected Mrs. Stacy McNally, an English instructor at Beaver Local High School. The novel was discussed earlier in the year in McNally’s classroom, so the selection seemed appropriate to donate the classroom set to her students.

The novel was filmed as a motion picture this past October by the award-winning Menning Films. Even though the film is still in post-production, it was recently nominated as Best Inspirational Film of the Year by the International Christian Film Festival (held each year in Orlando, Florida). Last year, Josh Menning was nominated by the ICFF as Best Director for the documentary, Gateway to Hope: Overcoming Heroin, which he and Smith produced in 2018. The film, Song of the Tree Frogs, contains numerous SAG and Christian actors such as Shannen Fields (Facing the Giants), Karen Abercrombie (War Room), Richard Cutting (National Treasure, House of Cards), Meggie Jenny (nominated this year as People’s Choice: Best Actress of the Year), Cameron McKendry (I’m Not Ashamed, Madtown), and local model and actor, Matthew Ketchum (Beast of Our Fathers). The movie is due out later this year.

Even though the school year has been abruptly interrupted, McNally was thrilled to receive the novels. Her students were treated this past October with guest speakers, including Ketchum, Menning, and Smith, and her classes were very receptive to the presentation, asking many great questions about writing, producing, and filming. The novel also has a new cover, due to the recent film, and four actors from the movie are featured, including Ketchum, who played the role of Michael Williams.

Song of the Tree Frogs is available at most major bookstores, as well as numerous e-Book formats. A book signing with several of the cover models is scheduled at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Boardman, Ohio on April 11, which is subject to possible change due to the current crisis in our nation.

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