At only 11 years old, Ari Stein has already fulfilled one of his dreams.
Stein, a sixth grader at Cedar Hill Elementary, had always wanted to write a book and through his participation in the National Novel Writing Month, he published his first novel.
The National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a challenge that occurs every November to encourage aspiring writers to finish a book in 30 days. While adults that participate are required to write 50,000 words by midnight on Nov. 30, those participating in the Young Writers Program are allowed to set their own goals. Stein’s goal was to write 12,000 words; his 50-page book has a total of 12,273 words.
“There are a bunch of authors who inspire me to write and, at home, my mom kept me going, telling me I had to work on my book,” said Stein.
Yesterday, Stein donated a copy of his book to the Cedar Hill Elementary School Library so his classmates and future students can enjoy it. Librarian Barbara Ogden presented Stein with a book plaque to be placed in the front cover, so everyone will know a student wrote it. Stein’s parents, Amy and Peter, attended the dedication.
Ogden explained to the rest of Stein’s class that they would be able to search for the book in the school’s electronic catalog by typing in “Stein, Ari” and clicking “author.” But they would have to wait until she finished reading it first.
“I am excited to read it because it is a fantasy, which is my favorite,” said Ogden, who also explained this was the first student she knew of who had published a book.
Inspired by some of his favorite books, including “Percy Jackson and The Olympians” and “Harry Potter,” Stein wrote an action-adventure story. He doesn’t remember exactly where the idea for “The Scepter” came from, but he says he thinks “of stories in my head all the time.”
“The Scepter” tells the story of a boy named Kevin, who discovers his family is part of a group called the Bookkeepers. They must protect a powerful book from falling in the hands of their enemies, who have already kidnapped Kevin’s sister. Kevin must do this by learning to control the great scepter, a powerful weapon.
“I don’t like stories where it takes three chapters to get into the action,” said Stein. “[In my book] the action starts right away.”
Stein learned about NaNoWriMo from his participation in the Accelerated Learning Activities Program (ALAP) at Cedar Hill. When he completed his book, Stein gave a copy to his ALAP teacher, Tom Hornstein, and his classroom teacher, Kerri O’Rourke.
“They both said it was an accomplishment and I should be proud,” said Stein.
Another person who is proud is Stein’s mother.
“I’m not surprised that he did this,” she said. “When he sets his mind to doing something, he does it.”
Amy said she was also proud to say that her son completed the book with no help from his parents or teachers. In fact, the only person who read the book before it was officially published was his 14-year-old sister, Eliana. She edited the book for her brother.
“We weren’t allowed to read it until it was done,” said Amy, who admitted, “We tried.”
Stein gave copies to various family members, but he is selling the book through Amazon’s CreateSpace program. The free service allows individuals to self-publish books, CDs, DVDs and more.
“You can distribute on Amazon and international Amazon,” said Stein, who also has an e-book version for Kindle.
The book sells for $4.50 and Stein does receive a profit, not that it matters to him.
“I just want people to read it; I don’t worry about money right now,” he said.
Instead, Stein is concerning himself with his second novel, a sequel to “The Scepter,” and hopes to make a trilogy. His uncle, an English teacher, is planning to edit the second book.
“I’ve been wanting to write a book for a while and now that I have, I feel really good,” said Stein.
Stein hopes to become an author full-time one day, but for now he is focusing on school and the sequel. He doesn’t have a publication date for it yet.