Special To The Herald
NEW BRITAIN - Award-winning author, speaker and educator Dan Blanchard hopes to inspire a young audience with his new book, “A Sprint to the Top.”
Blanchard, whose column, “Granddaddy’s Secrets,” appears every Tuesday in The Herald, said the book contains accounts of hardship, developing independence and finding hope along the way.
The book, which follows Blanchard’s previous effort, “The Storm,” takes a look inside the life of 11th-grader Dakota.
“(It) opens up where the boy continues his life. [He is] delivering on his newspaper route and he sees his granddaddy’s obituary,” Blanchard said. “In the first half of the book, he doesn’t believe his granddaddy is dead. It’s a bit mysterious.”
Dakota, however, is forced to face greater obstacles than the death of his beloved grandfather, who he had not seen in nearly a year.
“He goes to a rough school, lives in a rough neighborhood and lives in a rough home. (He has an) abusive, alcoholic father,” Blanchard said. “He’s really trying to break out of his rough life.”
The inspiration for the story, Blanchard said, came from the hundreds of “inner-city” schoolchildren he has worked with over two decades.
“This story is a combination of all the teens that I’ve taught and coached, but a lot of my life is sprinkled in it,” Blanchard said.
Some of the most important things Blanchard said he hopes his readers will gain from his story are success strategies, simple motivational techniques and “a lot of hope for a better life.”
Blanchard began his journey to becoming a published author after students had told him for 10 years that he was “the most inspirational teacher” they have ever had.
The father of five said he began to set his alarm clock every day for 4 a.m., waking up to a quiet house he could write in.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be published, Blanchard said. “I’m really glad I put my trust in my students.”
Blanchard is on a book tour of Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
“A Sprint To The Top” can be purchased on Amazon.com.