With a little hard work and ingenuity, Jace Bower fulfilled a dream last December: He published his own American history book.
It took him less than a year and a half to do it, and now he’s moved on to tackle his next book, which he plans to publish in time for the centennial anniversary of World War I in August.
Jace, who turned 16 Sunday and is a home-schooled junior in Mooresville, said he’d always wanted to publish a history book, but didn’t think he’d accomplish it before college.
The book, “The High Point History Series: American History: 1754-1945 (Volume 1),” hits the highlights of a period in American history that starts with the French and Indian War and ends with World War II, all viewed from a Christian perspective.
Initially, Jace’s mom, Sarah Bower, asked him to write something as an e-book about American history for a school project. But as Jace wrote, he realized he wanted to publish a book he could hold in his hands.
He met with a former neighbor who used to teach elementary school, Justina Sivacek, and she talked to him about how he might organize a book and set deadlines for himself.
She said he’s an independent thinker and had a vision for the book and how to make it reader-friendly for middle and high school students.
“That was his biggest goal, making it interesting and fun,” Sivacek said.
She said she didn’t know anything about his writing ability but was pleasantly surprised when she read the volume. “I couldn’t believe it. Wow: To write like this and be so young is impressive.”
Jace did research, he said, but also drew on the history sources he’s devoured since he was a child. Sivacek recalled seeing Jace play outside when he was younger, pretending to be various heroes from American history (Theodore Roosevelt is his favorite).
Of his Christian perspective for the book, he said, he wanted to point out what he sees as moments of divine intervention in American history. In his introduction, he writes, “America wasn’t lucky, it was blessed.”
Jace said the book isn’t meant to be exclusionary. “Anyone who writes a book is going to put their worldview into it,” he said.
True to its title, the 8-by-5-inch paperback is a condensed version of American history that, in about 130 pages, mostly follows military events but also includes chapters on the Industrial Revolution and the Roaring Twenties. Jace has boxes after sections that ask the reader critical-thinking questions and offer “cool facts.”
Jace is taking online courses through College Plus toward a bachelor’s degree in history. He dabbles in foreign languages – favoring Italian – and also enjoys the World War II-themed strategy board game “Axis and Allies.”
Jace recommends self-publishing to other potential young authors, saying the process cost him no more than a couple of hundred dollars. He’s holding a speaking event with other home-schooled students about the book and is looking forward to other possible speaking opportunities.
He said he hopes to inspire others and help them learn, and Sivacek said she thinks he’s achieving that with the book.
“I think it’s great because it really shows that no matter what your age, you can have any interest,” she said, “and I really hope this encourages other kids his age to take a look at history.”