I had the pleasure of networking with an inspiring young lady and thought that my readers could profit from her story and her dedication to literacy. Riley will share why it was important to her at the age of sixteen to have a book of her own and to make a difference for others with her literacy efforts. Riley is our guest blogger today and her words are unbolded below...Enjoy & Read something great!
It was important to me to try to get published for a number of reasons:
First, I think I wrote a great fantasy adventure story, which I loved writing and which I loved reading enough to edit it repeatedly, and I’d really like to share that story with other kids.
Second, I am very involved in children’s literacy and I think a lot of kids stop reading between the ages of eight and fifteen, especially boys, and I think the fantasy genre keeps those readers interested and engaged in reading. It was important to me to publish because I hope that a boy or girl somewhere enjoys my stories enough to keep on reading.
Third, some of the proceeds from my books sales go to my nonprofit for literacy, Breaking the Chain.
Fourth, because I’ve written and published books, I am able to go to schools to speak. I am speaking at schools around the country to students in grades 3-8, and I talk to them about writing books and about literacy and Breaking the Chain. I hope to make them aware of how important their education is, what their lives would be like without an education, and to encourage them to take ownership over their own education.
I am passionate about promoting global literacy because I believe that the way to help people, especially children, break the cycle of poverty and exploitation is through literacy.
I created my nonprofit for literacy, Breaking the Chain, when I was fourteen, after learning that there are 120 million children around the world don’t have the opportunity get an education and that there are 800 million adults that cannot read or write, two-thirds of whom are women. These women and children are very vulnerable to exploitation. They are unable to get jobs and they cannot feed or clothe themselves. Only through education do they have the opportunity to make their lives better.
The mission of Breaking the Chain try to eliminate the bonds of poverty and illiteracy for children and their communities through education and sustainable development, both domestically and internationally. Building schools in places where the government cannot or will not build schools for their citizens seemed like a good place to begin. I adopted two villages in Africa, one in Kenya and one in Sierra Leone; I was able to raise enough money to build a school for each village, and to provide both villages with a water purification system. I’ve also created a children’s literacy center at a women’s shelter in Colorado, and bought over 1000 new children’s books for Reach Out and Read and The Heart of America Foundation.
This year, Breaking the Chain achieved tax-exempt status and my older brother, Nick, who is twenty, joined me (I wasn’t old enough to sit on the Board of Directors or to file the paperwork with the IRS).
I am really excited about our new projects this year. We have adopted another village in Sierra Leone, and will provide the funds to build a school and a water purification system there. We are also developing a domestic program which I think can have a direct affect on kids in the United States. It’s more difficult to dramatically impact children’s literacy in the United States because we already have schools in place, but many schools in the U.S. have very low reading proficiency rates. We are going try to have an impact on those kids. We hope to have that program in place within the next month or two.
As for my books, The Fire Stone is the first book in The Reign of the Elements series and it was just released. There are five books in the series and I have written all of them. The book is for ages nine to about fifteen, but even adults like teen fiction so there’s really no age limit. It is fast-paced and exciting, but the characters are very real; I think kids relate really well to my characters because my fifteen/sixteen-year-old voice resonates with them. I’ve also written the first book of an urban fantasy trilogy and I’m currently working on the second book.
Donations to Breaking the Chain are tax deductible and they are very welcome - even a small amount can make an enormous difference. You can find out how to donate at: www.linkbylink.org.
My other websites are: