Bintou, 13, was inspired last year when author Leopoldo Goutcame to talk to the school at an assembly and said it’s possible to publish a book at any age.
“I was writing stories since second grade, so I thought maybe I could publish a book, too,” she said.
Earlier this year at the mall, she was inspired by some pictures she took at Briarwood Mall of a princess and a dragon. She went home and spent a month writing “Raven.”
Her favorite genre is fantasy, but she also loves mysteries, sci-fi, non-fiction.
She’s sold about 35 books—so far.
“Bintou is very smart and loves reading,” says Tappan librarian Kyle Kipp. “When she told me that she published her own fantasy book, it was a pleasant surprise, but not terribly shocking because I knew she was creative, and that she also loves reading books with dragons, princesses, castles, magic, etcetera.”
With some financial help from her parents, Bintou got her book self-published and placed on Amazon.
“Bintou is well-respected by her peers, and I have seen a lot of other students enthusiastic about her new book,” said Kipp. “We have a couple of copies of it in the library and it is checked out frequently.”
In fact, eighth grader Hadeel Awwad says she’s in the middle of reading it right now.
“Just the fact that someone so young wrote it—who is also my friend—is unique and cool,” said Hadeel.
Kipp said Bintou’s accomplishment will be influential to her peers and hopefully encourage others to try their hand at writing more of their own stories.
Bintou enjoys spending her free minutes at school in the media center. She shows up nearly every day to help Kipp shelve books, run errands, decorate the bulletin boards.
As for her future, Bintou has all sorts of ideas. She wants to continue to write. And she’s considering becoming a businesswoman, mall owner, or ashion designer.
When she was younger, she wanted to be all of those things at once.
“Sometimes in life you have to figure out how to use your time better,” she said. “Four jobs at one time isn’t a good thing. You’ll get off track. You have to use your time well,
But she knows that whatever she does, she’ll continue to write in her spare time.
“I like how you can just write down whatever you want,” she said. “If I have some insults about people, I write them down so I don’t tell them to their face.”
Advice for fellow aspiring authors?
“Make sure you have a book idea, money, time, and other stuff to do,” she said. “And make sure you read. Because if you don’t read, I don’t see the point of writing.”
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