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Traveling the World Inspired by Books

Ann of Sunflower Lane by Julie A. Sellers
Ann of Sunflower Lane by Julie A. Sellers

Hello, Radio Readers! I’m Julie A. Sellers, author of the novel Ann of Sunflower Lane, for the High Plains Public Radio Reader’s Summer Book Club Reading List. If you’re a fan of reading, if you remember or still relish spending summer days devouring books, if you have ever discovered a kindred spirit in a work of fiction as I did growing up and still do—then Ann of Sunflower Lane is the book for you. This Meadowlark Press publication is a story of family, community, friendship, and home, interwoven with the power and importance of literature in our lives.

Ann of Sunflower Lane is the story of fifteen-year-old Ann Alwyn. It’s May 1989, and Ann doesn’t have much choice in her life: It’s live with the maternal grandparents she’s never met at Sunflower Lane Farm near Storey, Kansas, or go to a foster home when her father is found to be a neglectful parent. Still, she’s positive it’s only for that summer and that her father will make good on his promise to give up being a musician, get a steady job, and provide a stable home life for her back in Denver. At Sunflower Lane, Ann discovers she strongly resembles the mother she never knew and that everyone from her strict grandmother to her more understanding grandfather avoids talking about her mom. Ann’s vivid imagination conjures up numerous explanations for this silence, fueled by her voracious reading and subtle clues that accumulate over the months. She finds herself torn between learning the answers to her questions and dreading what they might be.

When Grandpa gifts her an old edition of Anne of Green Gables, Ann immediately identifies with the title character, orphan Anne Shirley, on multiple levels, especially when her father fails to keep his promise to bring her back. The weeks and months unfold at Sunflower Lane, and along the way, Ann makes a best friend for the first time in Corrie Addair and discovers a temptingly handsome challenge to her grandmother’s “no boys” rule in Corrie’s brother, Cameron. As Ann integrates herself into the fabric of life at Sunflower Lane and Storey, she meets a community that broadens her notions of home, family, friendship, and love. But when she uncovers a difficult truth about her past, the consequences could be life-altering.

Ann of Sunflower Lane has been selected by the Kansas National Education Association’s Reading Circle Commission as a Recommended Title. Cheryl Unruh, author of the award-winning Gravedigger’s Daughter: Vignettes from a Small Kansas Town, says of the novel, “I loved this character, this book. Readers of all ages will fall in love with Ann of Sunflower Lane. Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, Professor Emerita and founder of the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island, describes Ann of Sunflower Lane as, “a love-letter to books and reading”. What more fitting summer read than one that celebrates reading?

As an author, I’m often asked what inspired me to create this character, this world, this story. I’m certain the inspiration rests somewhere in those beautiful summer hours I spent reading, discovering new authors and stories, traveling the world through books from my home in the Kansas Flint Hills. I invite you back to that very setting and to come home to Sunflower Lane.

Julie A. Sellers
Julie A. Sellers

Julie A. Sellers was raised in the Flint Hills near Florence, Kansas, and she currently resides in Atchison, Kansas. She is the author of the novel, Ann of Sunflower Lane (Meadowlark, 2022), a Kansas National Education Association Reading Circle Recommended Title and a 2023 Finalist for the High Plains Book Award. Her book Kindred Verse: Poems Inspired by Anne of Green Gables (Blue Cedar Press) was released in 2021. Julie’s creative work has appeared in publications such as Cagibi, Wanderlust, Unlost, The Write Launch, Kansas Time + Place, and 105 Meadowlark Reader. She was the Kansas Authors Club Prose Writer of the Year (2020, 2022, 2023), and the Overall Winner in Poetry (2022) and Prose (2017, 2019, 2024) in the Kansas Voices Contest.

Julie A. Sellers, Author
Ann of Sunflower Lane (Meadowlark, 2022)--Finalist, 2023 High Plains Book Award
Kindred Verse: Poems Inspired by Anne of Green Gables (Blue Cedar, 2021)
Kansas Authors Club Prose Writer of the Year (2020, 2022, 2023)

Facebook: @julieasellersauthor
Instagram: @julieasellers
Goodreads: goodreads.com/julieasellers

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