Books For Children By A Young Reader Herself

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Emma Zhou, an incoming third-grader at Jeffrey Ratner Robert Seaman Elementary School in Jericho, spearheads family efforts to write books, sell books, and buy more books with the profits.
With her experience drawing at Sally Studio in Syosset, Emma thought to practice her artwork skills by creating picture books. Her books contain vivid drawings to aid with the storytelling. “It’s a real picture book,” said Xiahong, who is Emma’s mother. “First she wrote a story, and second she drew a picture based on that story.”
Creating these books requires creativity, something Emma certainly has. About how she forms the books, Emma said, “I make up an imagination and then think about something in reality. I put them together and then make up a story about it.”
The themes in Emma’s books include: kindness, family, generosity and of course, magic. One of Emma’s books, Chrystal and the Fairy, explores what happens when a fairy gives a girl, Chrystal some gifts – Chrystal shares these gifts with her family and nature. Another book is called the Magic Library; a dog named Scuby jumps out of a magical book in this story.
For young readers, seeing stories from someone their own age can be inspiring. It makes Emma’s themes even more powerful. “The feedback is telling us that it is very inspiring for young readers. A lot of people love reading and drawing but they never think that they could go that far.”
Besides inspiring youth, Emma’s novels have increased access to books for low income families in Queens. Through book sales to family, friends and the local community, Emma’s family has raised more than $600. Their organization, Enlighten Youth Foundation, has used the funds to purchase other children’s books, such as Magic Tree House books and Who Was series, which they donated to families in Queens. Two hundred and thirty books were donated at Kissena Park in Flushing on Aug. 11, 2023.
To continue carrying out the good work, there will be a book launch at the Jericho Public Library on Sept. 23. “She will read her books and sign them for young readers in our community. We hope we will get support for the local community.”
Adults involved in Emma’s life can’t be prouder of her. Emma’s principal, Joanna Kletter of the Jeffrey Ratner Robert Seaman Elementary School, said “Emma’s writing shows off her creative thinking and imagination! She provides vivid illustrations to capture her audience’s interests! Congratulations on another beautiful book, Emma!”
Likewise, Sally Feng, founder of Sally Studio, wrote, “Emma is a natural storyteller. It has been an extremely rewarding experience to watch her grow and develop her imagination through art and creating extraordinary projects such as her books.”
While Emma enjoys creating books and drawings, she also values the process plus the skills she is developing. Emma said, “It was very fun, but hard working because I really had to work in order to get good illustrations.”

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