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Herndon Resident Releases New Book

Mother and teacher writes about survival and never giving up.

When Janiesha Sellers first moved to Herndon, she was told never to give up. She was also told that it doesn't rain 365 days out of the year, and that the sun always comes out.

Today, she is a published author.

"Same Planet, Different World," which hit the bookshelves earlier this month, is Sellers' story about surviving physical, mental and verbal abuse while growing up in New York.

"I took that abuse and turned it into writing," said Sellers.

Written over the course of 20 years, from her elementary school days until age 30, Sellers' story consists of 17 short chapters summarizing the ups and downs of her life, each accompanied by a poem.

"Its about my life growing up," said Sellers. "I write about what a lot of people don't want to talk about."

IN "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN," one her poems featured in the book, Sellers expresses why it is important to never give up — because there is always more to experience.

"If one should say 'I've been through it all', Believe them not. Because if one experiences it all, then, and only then, does one die in their Glory."

While the story does not go into great detail, she highlights some of her important experiences, including family life, living in foster care and group homes to graduating from high school and college.

It is "an indescribable feeling" to see her book in print, said Sellers. She was turned down 139 times by publishers, but persisted and ultimately three publishers said yes.

Although the first time publishing a book, Sellers is not unfamiliar with being a published author. Her poem "Kicking it with God" was published in a book of poetry called "The Fountain of Peace," and won awards for best poem at the Apollo Theater and religious congregational awards in New York City.

An excerpt reads "I just want to thank you for my life, my kids, my well being, everything. Unconditionally I know your love is real. Not only because the Bible told me so, but because of all I've seen and been through."

Her poem "Dear Mom" was also published in "A Fleeting Shadow," an international collection of poetry.

Sellers enjoys spoken word, a form of poetry in which the author reads poems aloud with emotion and gestures in front of an audience. She has read her pieces at the Apollo Theater and Sugar Shack in New York, as well as locally at Dogwood Elementary School and other various poetry gatherings.

AS THE HEAD OF her household, Sellers lives with her four children — Chance, 13, Choice, 11, Trust, 7, and Future, 3. The three younger children attend Hutchison Elementary School, while her oldest will attend Herndon High School this fall.

"It is so challenging — it's like an unfinished puzzle, forever," she said about being a mother. "It has its ups and downs, but it's the greatest thing in the world."

Sellers also teaches drama at Dogwood Elementary in Reston through the YMCA grant program, which places teachers with students who are in need of guidance.

"My purpose is to teach," said Sellers, who also works at the Reston Teen Center.

"As long as I believe, I can do," says Sellers about her work and her life. "If I believe there is a greater purpose, I know I'll be all right."