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BOOK CORNER: New novel addresses racial tension at school

The Booker T. Washington High School community is in an uproar following the shooting death of a black male student by a white male teacher. In an effort to calm matters, the school’s principal starts an extracurricular activity for the students.

Mr. Wilder, a highly opinionated, middle-aged white man, with a racist upbringing is hired to teach creative writing at the school. His students include three troubled black boys.

As the murder investigation of their schoolmate continues, Mr. Wilder and his students work to find common ground and help each other overcome some of life’s most difficult obstacles. That’s the basis for, “Mr. Wilder” by Shelton Johnson.

As a father, it was important for Johnson to create this novel, he said. Johnson’s plan was to make the novel about three young black men learning lessons from a middle-aged white man via creative writing, but he decided to incorporate racial issues into the plot as he witnessed racial tension escalate across America.

In “Mr. Wilder,” Johnson opens the minds of readers by producing a book that puts the issue of racism into a perspective that will hopefully resonate with readers of all backgrounds. He hopes his book will allow people to see the ignorance of racism.

Shelton Johnson

“It is my prayer that this book brings an end to the racial divide in this country that I call home, and initiates world peace. If not, at least spark conversation about the other real topics, ‘Mr. Wilder’ addresses,” Johnson said.

Other issues highlighted include fatherlessness, drug addiction, anger, coming of age, resilience, death and survival.

In addition to being an author, Johnson is a government employee and he leads the teenage ministry at his church. He lives with his family in Southern Maryland.

“Mr. Wilder” is available for $25 (paperback) and $20 (Kindle) at