IU Northwest alumnus publishes book about steel towns • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
Children of Steel

IU Northwest alumnus publishes book about steel towns

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Gloria Ptacek McMillan recently published “Children of Steel,” a collection of stories about steel towns.

The book is comprised of short stories told by 20 writers from steel mill towns in Northwest Indiana. The writers share their connections to the steel industry.

Released in February, “Children of Steel” brings together individual experiences into a collection that puts a positive spotlight on steel towns, with a focus on the Region.

McMillan, who grew up in East Chicago, graduated from IU Northwest in 1972. At the time, few children whose families worked in the steel mills attended college.

“At the time, there were some prejudices against kids from steel mill towns,” McMillan said in a press release. “In fact, there were also a lot of prejudices against people from the steel mills, in general. ‘Steel kids,’ if they attended college, tended to major in nursing or business.”

Now, 50 years later, McMillan was inspired to bring positive stories about steel towns to light. She put out a call for stories about living in steel towns.

“The history and legacy of steelworkers is still (for the most part) invisible,” McMillan said. “Until now, very little was ever written about the industry and the people that move this industry forward.”

McMillan’s outreach led her to Bianca Roman, who like McMillan, is the first in her family to graduate college. Roman earned her bachelor’s degree in May from IU Northwest. In an English class, Roman was asked to write a story about her hometown roots.

Roman talked to her parents, asking them about their experiences growing up in East Chicago. The result was a story she titled, “Homebodies.” It explores themes like hometown nostalgia and coming of age.

“My stories are about Latinos in East Chicago,” Roman said. “They are even more invisible than other people who live around here.”

Roman sent the story to McMillan for consideration. McMillan chose Roman’s story to be included in the book.

“Children of Steel” is McMillan’s third published book. She will host book launches at 5 p.m. May 30 at the East Chicago Public Library, and at 2 p.m. June 1 at the Whiting Public Library.

(Photo provided by IU Northwest)

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