San Antonio’s Northside ISD invited me to speak at their annual event, Nerdvana Con: a gathering of authors, illustrators and story lovers. This was my second time presenting at this event and I was so excited to be back. Felicidades to Ms. Elsa Trevino and staff for executing a smooth and joyful event for all ages. I am so honored to have been alongside keynote speaker and best selling graphic novelist, Kazu Kibuishi. Kibuishi wrote the Amulet series (and illustrated my favorite version of the Harry Potter book covers)!
Attendees of all ages were dressed in cosplay of their favorite characters. There were many activities, from a Dungeons & Dragons campaign to a virtual reality room. Classes and presentations focused on writing, illustration, animation, gaming and anything creative. Vendors lined the halls with books, crafts, and artwork.
In my presentation, I spoke about my journey with writing, as well as the key things that I have learned in the process. One of my favorite parts about presenting at such events is meeting other young writers and artists, and the families who support them. We are all strengthened in community.
The past few weeks with Bookspring have been a blast! Bookspring is an organization that distributes books to children in Central Texas. Their current goal is to get 20 books into every household by 2020, and I encourage every one to pitch in to help them meet that goal. Research shows that having 20 books in the home is a big indicator of future academic success, which is why Bookspring’s mission is so important. Find more about Bookspring here: www.bookspring.org
I recently helped out with a Literacy Night event at Norman Simms Elementary, handing out books and organizing word activities alongside my mother, Nelissa, and fellow volunteer Toni O'Dowd. The kids were so fun, and I had a great time meeting them and learning about their interests. (Star Wars books were in high demand!)
I also organized a book drive at my school, and partnered with TexHomes Realty. In the end we collected about 300 books to donate to Bookspring! This is a great time to donate books, because towards the beginning of the school year there is a high demand, and Bookspring and similar organizations run low on books to give. (See picture below of empty shelves at Bookship HQ.)
If you’re interested in fantasy chapter books for middle or elementary grades, make sure to check out my latest article for Bookspring, Escape Into A World of Fantasy, highlighting a few of my favorites.
I am 15 years old, and started my first novel when I was 9, in response to a lack of smart female protagonists, interesting plots, and high-quality writing in the middle-grade genre. I have published an article in Writer’s Digest, “From YA to YEAH: 4 Ways to Keep Teen & Young Adult Readers Hooked,” and am featured in both The New Yorker and LitHub in cartoons by Bob Eckstein. I'm now working to get my debut fantasy, The Shadow in Her Pocket, published. When I’m not writing, I’m a sophomore in high school and a rock musician.