If you would, take a gander at their selections if you want to branch off into a whole other era of literature you have never ventured before…
Seriously, there’s nothing like discovering that someone a decade or so younger than you is actually a published author. It’ll make you question your life choices, while simultaneously inspiring you to sit down and get some writing done. So take a look at these prodigal stories if you need a little boost to get started.
1. Dragon Valley and Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger by Luke Herzog
Luke Herzog began writing Dragon Valley at the ripe old age of nine, and after eighteen months of persistent work and three full spiral notebooks of writing, he finished his first book at ten. Dragon Valley is the story of five baby dragons spawned in a lab and then set free, and the book follows their adventures, descendants, and battles over an 1000 year time span. And the book itself is 200 pages! That is some scope and ambition for a ten-year-old.
Then, over the next two years, Luke worked on his second novel, the 300-page Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger, which is the story of a kind-hearted thief with a profound destiny. This adventure story features epic moments, an interesting and unusual cast of characters, and an intricate fantasy world. Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger even received an INDIEFAB Book of the Year award.
Luke is still writing, and just published another novel, Continuum: Collected Stories of Space and Time. His story is definitely an inspiring one, and really shows that you can do anything you put your mind too. Just work hard, fill up as many spiral notebooks as you need to, and get writing!
2. The Strand Prophecy by Brittany and Brianna Winner (The Winner Twins)
The Strand Prophecy is a fascinating and thrilling adventure story about Steve Cutter, a.k.a. Strand, a dark, troubled superhero who has to save his niece from rapidly evolving man-eating creatures before it’s too late. Such an epic and award-winning adventure could only have been written by an imaginative and ambitious person. Or, in this case, two. Brittany and Brianna Winner became America’s youngest national bestselling novelists at age thirteen. These identical twins didn’t let dyslexia stop them from finishing and publishing The Strand Prophecy, which subsequently won several awards and became a hit.
They continued to publish books throughout high school and beyond and have currently published over ten books. At twenty-two years old, Brittany lost her eyesight overnight but didn’t let that stop her from writing or living an extraordinary life. The twins have also started a non-profit, Motivate 2 Learn, which promotes youth literacy and education and to inspire kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia, ADD, and ADHD. The Winner Twins’ amazing story is truly inspiring.
3. How to Talk to Girls by Alec Greven and illustrated by Kei Acedera
This book couldn’t possibly have been written by a little kid, you say. Aren’t kids supposed to be awkward and bad around girls? Well, not Alec Greven, who wrote How to Talk to Girls at age nine. Alec gives all boys, from ages eight to eighty, advice on how to talk to those mythical beings known as girls. Tips include: comb your hair and don’t wear sweats, control your hyperness (cut down on the sugar if you have to), and don’t act desperate. Well, he’s off to a good start, at least.
Alec then published How to Talk to Dads, How to Talk to Moms, and How to Talk to Santa in the next year, when he was just ten. Then he published another book, Rules for School, in 2010. Seriously, his work ethic is something to be admired. If only he would publish “How to Actually Write Stuff.”
4. In the Forests of the Night, Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, and Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night when she was just thirteen. After battling through writer’s block and a computer virus which crashed her computer, it was published two years later. The novel was a massive success, and critics praised it highly. Following that, she wrote three more books, completing the Den of Shadows quartet. What’s impressive about Amelia’s story is not only the persistence and ambition it takes to write four books in your teenage years while completing high school early, it’s that she didn’t give up on her writing even after roadblocks and obstacles.
And seriously, there’s nothing more embarrassing than looking back at old writing. Granted, it might be easier if your old writing has been critically acclaimed, but still. She didn’t just toss the series as she grew up, she continued to work on it and grow as a writer. In fact, after writing the five-book series The Kiesha’ra Series, she returned to the Den of Shadows and wrote five more books and a short story in that universe. Seriously, that dedication to a story and characters is definitely impressive and inspiring.
5. Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan and illustrated by Mark Zug
Nancy Yi Fan was born in Beijing, China, and lived there until she moved to Syracuse, New York with her parents at age seven. Just three years later, at age ten, she started writing her first novel and completed Swordbird in just a year. This captivating story explores themes of heroism, courage, and resourcefulness while leading to it’s overarching message of peace. And people noticed how amazing it was—it became a New York Times best seller!
After that, Nancy wrote Sword Quest, the prequel to Swordbird, and published it just two years later. Four years after that, she published Sword Mountain while attending Harvard University. Nancy’s writing skills and persistence are truly inspiring, and all writers should take a lesson from her own resourcefulness, persistence, and courage.
How are all these people so talented and ambitious and persistent? Well, they had a dream, and they put in the hard work to achieve it. So learn from them! Get writing! Stop letting obstacles like writer’s block, lack of ideas, work, school, and people’s expectations get in your way. Just look at the stories of any one of these kid authors to see that it’s worth the work to achieve your dreams.