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Take an age-old problem: coaxing your child to eat foods that are good for him. Inject a brand-new technology: in this case, Bitcoin. Voilà: a finicky eater with a fantastic appetite for a cutting-edge financial network.

Jaden Shelton, 9, of Fairfax, didn’t like trying new foods, but he did want to write a book. One day, as Jaden faced down a blueberry, his father, Zachary Shelton, asked, “Why are you afraid of this little thing?” Jaden’s answer evolved into “The Scary Blueberry,” a book about a boy who overcomes his fear of trying something new by being reminded of all of the things he’s capable of doing.

With the writing complete, father and son began navigating the self-publishing process. Coincidentally, in May they attended a Bitcoin conference in Silicon Valley. Developed in 2008, Bitcoin is a type of alternative currency known as a cryptocurrency, which means it is difficult to counterfeit. Its issuance and transactions are carried out collectively by an online network. There is no central authority — no bank, no credit card company, no Federal Reserve.

Bitcoin went mainstream in early 2012, but according to Zachary Shelton, the concept is as inscrutable to most adults as the Internet was in 1990.

But not for Jaden, a student at Oak View Elementary. After he interviewed several entrepreneurs at the Bitcoin conference, Jaden and his dad became intrigued by the possibilities of the digital, or virtual, currency. They decided to make “The Scary Blueberry” available for purchase only in Bitcoin until Nov. 5.

The experiment was a success. Jaden, now known as “The Bitcoin Kid,” sold 40 copies of his book, which this week becomes available on The book also captured the attention of blueberry producers, who have asked to use it in their promotions.

Better yet, Jaden has become the youngest author ever to publish a book exclusively available in Bitcoin. According to Zachary Shelton, Bitcoin appeals to the next generation of tech-savvy twentysomethings, “the sons and daughters of the Bill Gateses and Steve Jobses.”

To learn more about Jaden’s book and Bitcoin, and to watch his interviews, visit his blog, “The #1 Bitcoin Resource for Kids,” at For a tutorial on Bitcoin, visit

Clifton writer tackles medieval tale

What happens when the hammer falls? That’s the question posed in a new historical novel by Clifton resident J. Boyce Gleason that rides the storm following the death of Charles the Hammer, a Frankish statesman and military leader considered to be the founding figure of the European Middle Ages.

According to KIRKUS Reviews, “Anvil of God” opens in the last year of Charles’ life. Not technically a king, he was de facto ruler of Francia from 718 until his death in 741. His military prowess allowed him to take over a good portion of western Europe — including what is now Germany and France. As he is dying, he divides his kingdom into three parts, one for each of his sons.

One portion goes to the eldest, Carloman, a Christian zealot; another to the middle child, the great warrior Pippin. The final third, which includes the prized city of Paris, goes to the youngest, Gripho, half-brother of Pippin and Carloman and product of Charles’ marriage to a pagan.

Gleason chronicles the chaos that ensues when a dangerous mix of ambition, devotion and betrayal consumes the family. “It is a story of a family in crisis,” he said. “Only this family’s choices have consequences that resonate throughout a continent.”

Sibling rivalry, a widow’s determination and changing allegiances force Charles’ children to confront a pending civil war, pitting brother against brother, Christian against pagan.

“Historians can tell you what happened in history,” Gleason said. “I like to explore why.”

“Anvil of God, Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles” sells for $33.95 in hardcover, $23.95 in softcover and $3.99 as an e-book. It is available at, and For more, visit

New novels invite readers to escape

Author Juliet Philip is making a splash in the Indian fiction world with her debut young adult/women’s novel, “The Prostitute’s Daughter.” The book, due for its U.S. release in December through indie publisher SparkPress, is in final talks for release in India.

“The Prostitute’s Daughter” is a coming-of-age story about an Indian girl from Bombay who makes life-changing discoveries on her quest to study in the United States, even while living in a magical world of gremlins, fairies and talking objects.

Philip, who grew up in India, now lives in Herndon. For more, visit

Former Reston resident Linda Cross, the first editor of Virginia Parent Weekly and later a publications specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools and founder of the Reston Daytime Fiction Group, has published her first novel, “The Art of Escape.”

Protagonist Marty Arkus “is a woman in trouble,” according to Cross. Marty’s ex-husband is stalking her. Her only child is about to marry and leave the nest. Marty doesn’t really like her newspaper job. When she boards a Caribbean cruise for her daughter’s destination wedding, things only get worse.

Now retired in Wilmington, N.C., Cross is a founding member of Cape Fear Fiction. “The Art of Escape” is available from for $4.99 for the Kindle version.

Book teaches children about giving thanks

Author Susan Daniel Fayad wanted to convey to young children the inspiring lesson of appreciating what they have, while sharing with her own children the memory of their grandfather.

“My Grandfather’s Masbaha,” published by AuthorHouse, is a vibrantly illustrated tale replete with life lessons. In the story, 4-year-old Adam does not know how lucky he is until his grandfather, Jidoo Yousef, teaches him how to count his blessings. One summer day at his grandparents’ home in Lebanon, Adam listens while his grandfather uses the masbaha, a string of beads, to show Adam how much he has.

In “My Grandfather’s Masbaha,” Fayad shows young readers how even the simplest things can be meaningful. The 28-page softcover book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Fayad of Richmond is married to Nash Fayad, managing partner and CEO of Fayad Law, an immigration law practice in Falls Church.

Blankets needed for Syrian refugees

Meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Centreville Virginia Stake, are collecting new and gently used blankets for refugees of the Syrian civil war in Turkey. With winter approaching, hundreds of thousands of refugees are suffering from the cold.

Donations of freshly laundered and folded blankets will be accepted at 14150 Upperridge Drive, Centreville, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 26 and Dec. 3, and 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 7.

For more, contact James Outzen at 540-905-8107 or, or visit

Food for Trees update

The deadline for purchasing a wholesale Christmas tree through the Food for Trees program in McLean, highlighted in last week’s People & Places, has been extended to Nov. 24. Visit