The ‘Unfadeable’ author has a long history of helping children find their voice

“I love seeing middle school kids become young leaders,” said Indianapolis-based author and teacher Maurice Broaddus.

One minute he sees them in class at Oaks Academy Middle School, and the next they’re participating in protest marches, community betterment, positive change, he said.

That’s certainly the case with Bella Fades, the 13-year-old protagonist of Broaddus’ new novel, “Unfadeable.” And that’s the case with Bella Faidley, the former student who inspired the savvy character.

“She basically said, ‘Mr Broaddus, write about me,'” he said with a laugh.

He did just that, drawing on his personality and his passion for activism.

In the book, the character confronts corrupt city officials who steal money for community programs.

Through Bella’s experiences, readers could learn how they too can speak truth to power. They see how Bella asks questions, seeks information, and attends government meetings that are open to the public.

For Bella, the most difficult thing is to be heard. Adults reject her because she’s a kid. She screams and stomps, so they think she’s acting right.

But with the help of a retired private detective named M – whose concerns mirror her own – Bella figures out how to become a loud and clear voice for herself and her community.

Like his character, Broaddus had a “heart for social causes” from an early age.

“As a child, I became curious and concerned about the world, mostly through ministry in my church,” he said.

This concern was fueled over the years by work with homeless teenagers and jobs as a scientist and later as a college professor.

He was also shaped, Broaddus said, by the people and issues of the city of Indianapolis, where he has lived since he was 10 years old.

Broaddus is very involved with the local Kheprw Institute. This organization helps people work together on affordable housing and food initiatives, such as community gardens. Broaddus particularly enjoys helping out with Café Creative, a performance space for artists and writers.

All of these experiences are in the book. The neighborhoods of the city come to life. Real people are mentioned, such as artist William Ryder. Quick-witted M is based on two friends, and Broaddus dedicates the book to them and to Bella, his former student.

The protagonist is a homeless (or homeless) teenager, similar to those Broaddus worked with. Like some of her friends, Bella is a street performer; its label, or special signature, is “Unfadeable”.

A popular writer of adult fantasy, horror and science fiction, Broaddus published his first children’s novel in 2019. “The Usual Suspects” is inspired by the college antics of his two now-adult sons. It takes place at the same school Bella attends in “Unfadeable”.

The same day he spoke with KidsPost for this profile, Broaddus began writing his third mid-level novel, set in 1930s Indianapolis. Same town, different times – but this book will also explore the challenges of telling the truth.

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