Empowering Youth: 8-Year-Old Writes Books to Motivate Children to Read

How many 8-year-olds do you know who can say they’re two-time published authors and co-founders of a not-for-profit?

I guess, not many, not even one, right?

However, it’s not impossible, at least, for one inspiring girl, Selah Thompson.

This 8-year-old girl, at the age of 5, noticed that a large part of her classmates in kindergarten struggled with their ABCs and didn’t read.

She wanted to do something about this and improve it. The determined girl decided to involve her parents in her project and this is how the Empowered Readers Literacy was born.

Selah Gets Full Support from Her Parents

After they listened about their daughter’s worries, her parents, Khalil and Nicole, researched about the problem and actually found pretty shocking information about literacy in America.

Namely, 85 percent of children in the juvenile prison system are illiterate. This statistics blew their minds, said Khalil.

Despite the challenging nature of the issue in front of them, the family was motivated by their daughter’s resolution. Nicole recalls hearing her saying how they should donate 20 hundred thousand books.

Today, to reach this goal, the family started initiatives like the Children’s March for Literacy, the Project 500, and the Holiday Book Drive.

Many Challenges on the Road, but They Were Persistent

One of the main problems the family discovered, because of illiteracy, was representation.

Children aren’t as excited about reading when they don’t see themselves reflected in the book.

So, after she realized only few of the stories’ characters looked like her, Selah decided to write her own book, with a main character that looks like her, and has the same interests she has.

This gave the birth of the first book of Selah, titled Penelope the Pirate Princess, in 2019.

The sequel came December, 2020.

Her father says there’s a lot of inspiration behind the knowledge that it’s a child who wrote a story and came up to them. Children can reclaim their story, do their own, and achieve all that adults can at a younger age.

In this way, they know the power is in their ideas and voice.




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