I attended an open house today at Scholastic's headquarters in Soho in order to field questions from inquiring parents, teachers, and kids about The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. (I am one of the writing competition's judges.) It was as fun and interesting as it always is to meet inspired young people.
But the most surprising part of the event was meeting Hannah Jones (AKA Jaida Jones), a 20-year-old co-author of the forthcoming book, Havemercy.
This is her amazing story: In her early teens, Hannah Jones excitedly entered her hard won prose into the Scholastic writing contest. Sadly, she didn't receive any "keys" or even an honorable mention. She tried again over the next few years. And again and again, nothing.
But Hannah knew she was meant to be a writer, and so naturally she kept on writing.
Finally, in Hannah's junior and senior years of high school, she was recognized not only regionally, but also nationally by the Scholastic judges. And by her junior year at Barnard, Hannah and her co-author Danielle Bennett sold their first book. (Hannah writes under the name Jaida Jones.)
Hannah was excited to learn about Writopia Lab and said she would blog for us about her perseverance, the unusual writing process she and Bennett employed in order to create a novel together, and the story of their first book deal.
Look out for her upcoming post!