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Book influenced by life in Florence

Staff writer

A new book, “Ann of Sunflower Lane,” is laced with influence from the author’s Florence upbringing.

Author Julie Sellers, born and raised near Florence, graduated from Marion High School. She now lives in Atchison.

Life in the Flint Hills is brought to life in her title character, 15-year-old Ann Alwyn, who finds herself living with grandparents she never had met until she was removed from her father’s care.

“I think growing up in the Flint Hills has influenced my outlook all of my life,” Sellers said. “I could see the horizon to really feel I had my bearings.”

In Sellers’s story, seeing the horizon was good for Ann and helped her see her new home, Sunflower Lane farm, as a place of new opportunity.

“She sees the horizons as opportunity and she sees all of this area where she’s come to live as home,” Sellers said.

Ann’s father had been found by courts to be a neglectful parent, so she was sent to her grandparents’ home in 1989. She told herself it was for only one summer and her father would find a steady job and make a stable life for her.

Ann’s grandfather gave her a copy of the book, “Anne of Green Gables,” by L.M. Montgomery. In reading it, Ann identified with the title character.

Sellers’ book is not based on “Anne of Green Gables” but shows the influence of Ann’s love of reading.

Over time, Ann came to see the Flint Hills as home and integrated herself into life in the Flint Hills. She came to new understandings of family, friendship, and love and uncovered a difficult truth about her past.

Last modified Oct. 5, 2022

 

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