Sixth-grader Jeta Kalakheti becomes published author
Downingtown, PA – Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center student Jeta Kalakheti can now add “published author” to her resume. The sixth-grade student recently wrote and published her first novel, “The Hidden Emerald Empire.”
In the 2018-19 school year, Stephen Kozan, the owner of publishing company ReadyAimWrite Kids, visited East Ward Elementary School to teach students how a book becomes published. The presentation ended with a “flash fiction” prompt, where students were asked to spend 25 minutes creating an on-the-spot fictional story. Of the hundreds of stories collected that day, Jeta’s was selected as winner and the path to publishing began.
Jeta spent the next six months, including her summer break, expanding upon her flash fiction idea and working closely with Kozan to hone the story. Through the process, ReadyAimKids let Jeta’s creativity lead the way, focused on making a book written for kids by a kid. Kozan emphasized the value of this program, stating, “We want to encourage writing and illustration. This program increases students’ love for literacy and helps them to believe in themselves.”
Jeta agrees, “Before, I thought this would just be a fun project; I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but then I realized how much I liked it,” adding that she definitely plans to write another book in the future. Much of the book’s inspiration comes from Jeta’s daily life, as the main character is based on her friend, Sienna, and the setting is loosely based on the movie “Moana.” Though she prefers to read horror books, Jeta’s story is characterized as fantasy.
The book’s synopsis reads, “When Sienna wakes up on her birthday, she expects a surprise. Maybe even her mother’s famous island rice pudding. What she doesn’t expect is to find herself alone. Could her family and friends really have evacuated the city and fled the volcano without her? Because as far as she can tell, Sienna and Rocky—her pet Krindle, a rare dog-bird hybrid whose secrets are still being unlocked—just might be the only creatures left in the entire village. Maybe even the world. That is, until an unlikely dragon and a moody prince introduce them to a whole new world of magic existing right under their noses.”
To recognize Jeta’s accomplishment, March Creek’s librarian, Kelly Sibley, coordinated a book launch event that featured a live reading by Jeta, a question and answer session and autograph opportunities. “I thought it was important to showcase Jeta’s achievement,” remarked Sibley. “It was wonderful to bring together Jeta’s peers and to celebrate her success.” Jeta was surprised by her classmates’ enthusiasm over her book, “One student asked me to sign their leg!”
Though she isn’t sure what her future holds, Jeta certainly has a leg up on accomplishing greatness. “I used to think I wanted to be a doctor or pediatrician, and I still do, but now I think I may want to be an author, too.” To learn more about the book or to place an order, please visit http://readyaimwritekids.com/the-hidden-emerald-empire/.