Child authors publish books that help pay for college

ATLANTA — Twelve-year-old Olivia James is starting a new chapter as a children’s book author. “I feel like really proud of myself that I put the time in to create this book.”

She’s working with Young Authors Publishing, a nonprofit that shares stories from children in metro Atlanta communities.

CEO Leah Hernandez said the group had to quickly pivot their programs when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “We moved it all to virtual, which to my surprise, that actually worked really well. Our young authors completed their books at faster rates and have been more engaged and focused.”

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James’ book, “Fatima the Activist” is about an elementary school student who takes a stand against female discrimination from male classmates.

“I just noticed that in certain places of the world women and girls aren't treated as they should be,” James said. “They should be treated just as well as men are.”

The program will last three months and the young authors work with writing mentors. Once books are published, 80% of the royalties go to a secured savings account to help pay for the author’s plans after high school.

“41% of children in our country live in poverty. If students are able to sell anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 copies of their books, which is usually our target, they can have up to $12,000 to access by the time they turn 18,” said Hernandez.

The nonprofit intends to get ten new books published this September.