Michael J. Bowler Children of the Knight

ISBN 13: 9781623806552

Children of the Knight

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9781623806552: Children of the Knight
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Winner of the 2013 Gold Medal from The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles?

This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation.

With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army--the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.

Can right truly overcome might? Arthur's hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same.

Children of the Knight Series:
Children of the Knight (Children of the Knight Book 1)
Running Through A Dark Place (Children of the Knight Book 2)
There Is No Fear (Children of the Knight Book 3)
And The Children Shall Lead (Children of the Knight Book 4)
Once Upon A Time In America (Children of the Knight Book 5)
Warrior Kids (standalone set within the Children of the Knight universe)

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From the Author:

People ask me all the time, "What inspired you to write Children of the Knight?" The answer is both easy and sad - society. I've been a volunteer within the juvenile justice system of Los Angeles for almost thirty years and a high school teacher for twenty-five. The idea for this book goes back fifteen or twenty years when I got to know and understand gang members better, as well as other disenfranchised youth I met within the system or at my high school. I saw the success of Homeboy Industries here in L.A. and the effect its founder, the always inspiring and charismatic Father Greg Boyle, had over gang members, even to the point of having enemies work side by side and ultimately become friends. I talked with lots of gang members, homeless kids, gay kids, drug addicts, high school drops outs, and many who combined more than one of these "offenses against society." I got to know these kids - they were the ones I gravitated to, and they to me. They seemed to know instinctively that I was open to them and would not shove them away or reject them like most grownups had already done and continued to do. 
 
Over time, I began to wonder what might happen if an adult, a strong leader, came along and united these marginalized kids and turned all their collected might toward positive endeavors. As young people who'd been rejected and unloved, these kids had engaged in nothing but antisocial, destructive, and criminal behaviors. That's where all of their negative energy and feelings were being directed. After all, since society had rejected them and who they were as human beings, they rejected society and all its conventions and phony platitudes about doing what's right. Society had wronged them so they felt they had the right to wrong society. But if that negative energy and "might" could be collected, harvested almost, by someone who made these kids feel loved and important and who convinced them that working together made them much more formidable than working alone, they could effect real change in society for the good, not the bad, and the adult world would have to pay attention.
 
It seemed to me that the time of King Arthur with all the warring, feuding groups and clans of ancient Britain seemed very much like the gangs, tagging crews, and other posses of rejected kids we have roaming our streets today, especially here in LA. It wasn't a big leap from that thinking to the idea of King Arthur, himself, with his philosophy of "might for right," bringing together these lost kids and sparking a revolution.
 
Another reason I wrote this book was so these disenfranchised kids could have some heroes of their own to root for. Gay boys (more than girls) are mocked and bullied and made fun of to the point that a huge number, relative to the overall teen population, commit suicide or attempt it. There are also an inordinate number of gay kids in detention, roughly fifteen percent, and I've personally known a large number whose rejection by society and their own families led them to drugs or other negative choices. As a consequence of those choices, they ended up in juvenile hall. Teen gang members are vilified and excoriated in the media or made into mere thugs by Hollywood. Abused kids often suffer in silence because they are too afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone what happened to them. These kids need more stories about them, with characters like them, in settings they know - like the inner city, lousy public schools, run-down housing projects, or even street corners that become home when they've been kicked out of the house by cruel, unfeeling parents. 
 
The teen characters in my book have all been screwed over by their parents and/or society for most of their lives, even rich girl Reyna, and yet they rise to the level of heroic when given the opportunity. They overcome their past abuse, neglect, and rejection to become young people of great significance, achieving results adults could only dream of. Lance, the main character, is a particularly strong role model  - a kid rife with fears and insecurities and deep-seeded pain who overcomes these traumas to inspire the city and the world. All these ostracized kids, more than most, need positive images of themselves, and my book, in its own small way, seeks to provide those images.
 
I also hope to mainstream for general readership these kids that society disdains. As much as I want gay kids, the abused, and the gang-affiliated or former gang-affiliated kids to read this book and its sequels, I really want so-called "regular" teens and adults to read it, too. Many teenagers honestly don't know anyone who's gay or in a gang or even who was abused. I've met plenty of adults, and too many kids, who want nothing to do with, as Reyna puts it in my book, "Those people." On TV and in movies gay boys are usually portrayed as stereotypically effeminate, and so non-gay kids laugh at that and think all gay boys fit the same mold. The gay boys in my book are not the least bit feminine but are, in fact, quite badass, brave, and rather epic. I want readers to know that gay boys, like non-gay boys, come in all shapes and sizes and talents and are, in fact, just like every other boy.
 
Same goes for the teen gang members. According to the news and the media, they are nothing more than monsters. But in reality, for anyone willing to take the time to know them, they're no different than anyone else's kids, except they grew up with a lethal absence of hope in circumstances most of us wouldn't wish on our enemies. Most gang members I've gotten to know would love to have never gotten caught up in the lifestyle. They have dreams and aspirations and want a good life, just like non-gang-affiliated kids.
 
Sadly, there are even a lot of people who don't take abuse seriously as the reason behind some teens committing criminal acts. Trust me, physical and sexual abuse of kids is rampant in this country and most of it goes untreated. Especially with boys, that internalized pain and humiliation will rise to the surface eventually and the result won't be pretty. So yes, I'd like "mainstream" readers to walk in the shoes of these kids so they can maybe understand them a bit and therefore not be so quick to judge them.
 
 This book is the first of five. It's one long book, actually, as part II, Running Through a Dark Place, begins exactly where I ends and III, There Is No Fear, starts where II concludes, and so on until the conclusion of the series. The total story covers about four years in the lives of these kids, so it's a genuine coming-of-age story. I want the readers to live with my kids and bear witness to their growth and maturity and accomplishments. In their fight for children's rights, they go from the barrios of L.A. to the White House, a joint session of the U.S. Congress, and beyond, and I think readers will be happy, and feel inspired, if they stick around for the entire journey. 
So there you have it, my thinking that went into the planning and writing of Children of the Knight. It's a story close to my heart because the kids are all based on real people I've known, and their rejection by society still sticks in my soul like a knife. Hopefully, this book will get into the hands of teens and adults everywhere, and hopefully those readers will come to love "my kids" as I do.

About the Author:

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a master's in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and a master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and volunteering within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.

You can find Michael at michaeljbowler.com.

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9781623809256: Children of the Knight [Library Edition]

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ISBN 10:  1623809258 ISBN 13:  9781623809256
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Book Description Harmony Ink Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles? This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation. With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army-the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo. Can right truly overcome might? Arthur s hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same. Seller Inventory # FLT9781623806552

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Book Description Harmony Ink Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles? This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation. With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army-the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo. Can right truly overcome might? Arthur's hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same. Seller Inventory # FLT9781623806552

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