A Southside High School sophomore is using a recently published book to tackle topics adults don’t always like talking about.
Elijah Owens, 16, wrote “Feeling Blue: The American Republic” to discuss the issues that disrupt harmony and unity within American Society.
Owens said the book is based on observations he made through everyday occurrences and wanted to share his thoughts with others.
The high school student noticed the various differences — race, gender, economic status — that people use to exclude others because they were not perceived as the norm. Owens said society should stop focusing on these traits.
“The fact that we’re wasting our time on it is trivial and we can be focusing on much more,” Owens said.
Owens doesn’t believe the actual traits or the accompanying experiences are trivial, rather he believes the exclusion of another person or group of people because they’re different is.
“Our differences are what make us similar,” Owens said.
Owens said the book didn’t take long to write; it was something he’d been considering for two years and hopes it can encourage readers to look past differences and even perform self reflection.
The first-time author said a person’s external reality tends to reflect their internal reality.
“It challenges us to look within ourselves, our community and nation to become more than what we’ve settled for,” said Ward 2 Director Andre Good.
Owens estimates he’s sold a little more than 100 copies in the first three months the book has been available, and he hopes to eventually sell a few thousand.
The Fort Smith student said he’s not really concerned about profits but wants to spread a message of acceptance and the significance of considering different perspectives.
“It’s bigger than me. It’s something that could help everyone, in my opinion,” Owens said. “It’s pretty ambitious but for all the right reasons. I would like people to realize that the past is not the future. In the present, you can make a future that is better than the past.”
While some might think Owens is too young or doesn’t have enough life experience to speak on the topics covered in his book, the Southside student doesn’t think so.
“There are exceptions to every rule,” Owens said. “One rule is that you gain more wisdom the older you get. Sometimes that’s not the case. It’s more psychological age than biological age.”
Owens said he wants to reach as many people as possible with his book, but it’s specifically for young adults.
Teenagers and young adults have been criticized by older generations, but Owens believes he and his peers can “promote change in society.”
Good said people shouldn’t write Owens off for his age or quiet demeanor.
“He has so much to say and do. (He has) wisdom beyond his years,” Good said.
The Southside sophomore is hosting a book signing 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Fort Smith Public Library. Those who have questions are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.