Berthella Stevens is shaped by childhood adversity in an impoverished, fatherless home during the Great Depression. As an unconventional adult ahead of her time, she’s inspired by natural living, flower gardening, writing and raising her family. But when she dares to be herself in her rural Indiana community, she endures ostracism and loneliness, finding solace in her faith.
Berthella’s story is expressed through the seasons of her life, rooted in Kerry Stevens’ childhood in the 1960s. He shares an intimate portrait of his mother in a fusion of her poetry and prose with his story of their relationship. While revealing the joys of living life to the fullest, Kerry discovers her pain and a new admiration for his maverick mom.Forever Herself will warm your heart, challenge your mind, and renew your spirit.
Kerry L Stevens is the lead author of Forever Herself: A Son’s Memoir of a Remarkable Woman. His late mother, Berthella Stevens, is the contributing author. Kerry fuses Berthella’s prose and poetry with his memories of their unique relationship to tell the endearing tale of his maverick mom.
Kerry’s literary journey began in third grade with an illustrated book of flying saucers written on thick, manila paper bound together with white paste. Since writing that first book and growing up in Indiana farm country, Kerry has written dozens of essays for his family magazine, completed creative writing classes with the Writers’ League of Texas, and serves on the board of the San Gabriel Writers League.
To nourish his heart, mind and soul, Kerry has helped lead two non-profits, taught youth Sunday school for twenty years, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, and currently leads church ministries focused on poverty, race relations, and environmental stewardship.
He is retired and lives near Austin Texas, with his wife of more than thirty years. They have a grown daughter.
Berthella Stevens is the contributing author of Forever Herself: A Son’s Memoir of a Remarkable Woman.
Berthella began writing in middle school with a poem imagining what a blind person “saw.” Her unique perspective on the world brought a lifetime of challenges, but writing provided a lifetime of joy. She wrote poetry for many decades, plus children’s, middle grade, and adult fiction, along with narrative non-fiction essays and a weekly human interest column in the local newspaper of her Indiana farming community. Several pieces were internally published in professional organizations to which she belonged.
Overcoming the adversity of the Great Depression and a fatherless home, Berthella embraced the world beyond the gender expectations of her day. With an insatiable curiosity, she was inspired by the beauty of nature, flower gardening, natural living, music, and her faith.
She was married to Kerry’s father for sixty-five years and raised six children. Berthella died in 2011.
Claudette Colvin is the 2009 National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature and a 2010 Newbery Honor Book.