Jeta Kalakheti, a student at the Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center in the Downingtown Area School District, recently wrote and published her first novel, The Hidden Emerald.
Stephen Kozan, the owner of ReadyAimWrite Kids, a publishing company for books written by kids for kids, visited East Ward Elementary School in the 2018-19 school year to teach students how a book becomes published. The presentation ended with a “flash fiction” prompt that asked students to spend 25 minutes creating an on-the-spot fictional story.
Of the hundreds of stories collected that day, Kalakheti’s was selected as winner and the path to publishing began.
Kalakheti spent the next six months, including her summer break, expanding upon her flash fiction idea and working closely with Kozan to hone the story.
“We want to encourage writing and illustration,” said Kozan. “This program increases students’ love for literacy and helps them to believe in themselves.”
“Before, I thought this would just be a fun project,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but then I realized how much I liked it.”
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 Kalakheti’s accomplishment, Marsh Creek’s librarian, Kelly Sibley, coordinated a book launch event.
“I thought it was important to showcase Jeta’s achievement,” said Sibley. “It was wonderful to bring together Jeta’s peers and to celebrate her success.”
Though she isn’t sure what her future holds, Kalakheti 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,” she said.
Click here to order the book.