Find out more about these talented young authors (some as young as 6!) who have published their own books to raise money for charity
Last week on Facebook we came across a post from a proud mama touting the achievements of primary schoolers in the Young Authors program from the writing enrichment company Artistic Strategies. Run by writer and educator Claudine Fernandez, who holds a Masters Degree in Arts Education from Harvard, Artistic Strategies is all about stoking children’s passion (and natural aptitude!) for creativity and storytelling.
We were particularly impressed to see that proceeds from the children’s published books are donated to a local or international charity of their choice. (Fittingly in this Year of the Dog, a number of children selected the SPCA as their designated charity!)
Children in the program, who range in age from 6 to 12, are selected based on their potential in writing a creative and original story and illustrating images. Some kids participate in Artistic Strategies’ regular enrichment classes, others were put forth by their parents. The program is geared toward both local and international students, with a curriculum relevant to both local schools and the IB framework.
Claudine encourages the young authors to write about a variety of subjects that inspire them, or that they feel strongly about.
“We’ve had a couple of students write about bullying along with stories featuring personified animals,” she recalls. “Others include stories about kindness, and a heartwarming one about a young girl who tries to help her grandfather by inventing a robot for him.” Last year a 6-year-old boy named Jarrett wrote a book entitled A Journey Back to World War I.
Across four, 2-hour sessions, kids work on pitching their stories to both Claudine and their classmates, taking on feedback to refine and improve upon them. In another session, they work with artist and illustrator Jamie Koh to help enhance their book and bring it to life.
Impressively, during each of the three batches since the program launched last year, students have had the opportunity to work with mentors who are professional writers, including Balli Kaur Jaswal, Elaine Chiew and Melissa De Silva. The writers have shared their own experiences, answered the young authors’ questions, and also provided feedback on their own writing. They’ve also served as role models who’ve demonstrated that writing can be a viable profession.
“Writing the book was not easy,” says 9-year-old Ysabella Lim, whose book, The Kindness Heroes, is about a girl, her brother and a dragon’s quest to save the world. “I wanted to write superhero stories with animals, ans I wanted to have a valuable lesson. I also wanted it to be interesting for both boys and girls.”
Students Ashlyn Shivani, 9, and Sara Cheai, 10, both drew on real life experiences with bullying to inform their stories.
“My story showed some of the [bullying] incidents I had witnessed in school,” Sara says. “Those who were bullied were generally distressed and quiet. I liked that I was able to control the ending to my story and develop each character.”
“[Publishing my book] was an experience that I will never forget,” enthuses Ashlyn. “I now realize how much work, effort, and sacrifices (like sleep) are put into developing a story. I have a whole new respect for authors and illustrators now.”
Bravo to these talented writers for publishing their books!
The Young Authors Program is capped at five students and costs $350. Other enrichment courses and holiday camp sessions are priced from $50-$60. Click here to purchase any of the Young Authors’ books and support their designated charities!