What was your favorite book as a kid? The Boxcar Children and Babysitters Club series. In 6th grade, every day after lunch my teacher, Mr. Gemmell, read aloud to us from Sideways Stories from Wayside School, which I loved. But the book that left the greatest impact on me was Zlata’s Diary, written by a young girl who lived through the Bosnian War. I had a grandmother who was a librarian, so I usually had a book close by as a kid.
What did you like to write as a kid? I kept lots of diaries and journals with quotes, poetry, lists and stories about things that happened in my life. In one journal, my best friend and I wrote notes back and forth to each other in code, which is pretty funny to read now. It was a form of old-school text messaging.
“Mighty Writers restored my faith in today’s younger generation.”
Who influenced you to care about writing? My late 12th grade AP English teacher, Mr. Lavelle, was the best. His class was incredibly challenging, but it’s the one that taught me the most about writing and analyzing literature.
What was the last book you read and what did you think of it? This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. It’s a collection of essays the author has written over the years and includes a fascinating introduction in which she describes how her stint as a Seventeen magazine writer helped her career as a fiction writer.
What keeps you coming back to Mighty Writers? The media often portrays young people as rash and self-absorbed but Mighty Writers has restored my faith in today’s younger generation. I’m inspired by the motivated, bright, and curious young minds I encounter at Mighty Writers.