Yanceyville native Wes Carter received quite a bit of adoration and attention inside Danville’s Midtown Market this past Saturday.
Carter, who works at Midtown, wasn’t on the clock Saturday but there to promote and sign copies of his new book entitled “Malachi,” which addresses childhood bullying.
However, Carter wasn’t there for the praise or to have people ask for his autograph. His intentions were selfless. He was there to carry on the giving spirit he learned growing up in Yanceyville.
“My life has been about giving back,” Carter said. “My sister and I were both taught to give back and pay things forward and that’s what this book means to me.”
Carter was sitting at home night, watching the news, when a story came on about a young girl who had committed suicide due to the endless bullying she had suffered at school.
Deeply affected, Carter whipped out his laptop and got busy writing the book — his second — which he finished in a matter of hours. Once done writing, Carter reached out to local artist Richard Hozba, who agreed to draw illustrations for the book, completing Carter’s process.
While Carter has already published a book about his battle with Type 1 diabetes, “Malachi” sits closer to his heart.
“It’s just the meaning of the book,” Carter said, smiling. “I was excited about my first book but I’m really excited about this one because it’s going to reach children. Children are our most valuable asset and when I saw about the bullying on TV and how people were committing suicide and being tormented by it, it really hit me to the point I got really emotional about it and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got to do something about this.’”
Once again, Carter’s giving spirit is homemade.
“I grew up in what we call West Yanceyville now and it’s just that camaraderie and community spirit,” Carter said. “When I look at Caswell County, I look at the fire departments we’ve got and the community spirit when something bad happens, people gather around each other and it’s a good thing.”
Carter’s book revolves around an elephant named Malachi who is bullied by the other elephants at the watering hole due to his size. His parents encourage Malachi to stand up for himself, which he does, putting an end to the bullying. From there, Malachi endures a pair of mishaps but survives and eventually becomes the leader of the elephant herd.
In the end, the book has a simple message, one that Carter wants to pass on to readers.
“That they’ll take up for themselves,” Carter said. “That, and they’ll let somebody know about it. It’s not good for a child to hold all that anger and frustration in so I hope this book will encourage people to stand up for themselves and let their parents or teachers or principals know about the bullying.”
The name Malachi comes from Carter’s deep-rooted faith.
“I feel like God gave me this idea so I came up with Malachi because I realized Malachi is a chapter in the Bible so I sat down at my laptop and I thought about a little elephant because kids like elephants,” Carter said.
The book has only been available for purchase since Oct. 15, but Carter has seen the book fly off the shelves and judging by the reaction of his readers Saturday at Midtown, he’s received quite a bit of praise.
“I’ve already sold a bunch and the feedback I’ve been getting is so positive,” Carter said. “It’s all positive. They like the book. They like the illustrations. It’s got a good message.”
The other day, Carter was in Old Dutch Supermarket in Danville, talking to a few of his friends and employees, telling them about his new book. According to Carter, a few of the baggers spoke up and shared with him their own personal experiences with bullying.
“One of the baggers was talking about how he got picked on in school because he had ADHD,” Carter said. “However, he told me how a lot of those some people came back up to him later in life and apologized for picking on them and now they’re friends.”
He’s also received a stamp of approval from his toughest critics: His family.
“My son, [David Carter], told me, ‘Daddy, I read the book and you’re really onto something here,’” Carter said. “I put a lot of heart and soul into this book.”