News / South Africa / Local News

Paula-Ann Smit
2 minute read
22 May 2019
10:19 am

Nine-year-old publishes first book after losing her best friend

Paula-Ann Smit

Laerskool Kempton Park pupil Alicia Oldjohn was only eight years old when she penned her novel after her best friend moved.

Alicia Oldjohn (9) juggles school, extra-curricular activities and being a good sister, with writing. "I want to educate children to read," she says when asked about what keeps her motivated.

Author JK Rowling was 36 when she published her first book, Roald Dahl was 27, and Enid Blyton was 25.

Laerskool Kempton Park student Alicia Oldjohn was only eight years old when she penned Losing My Best Friend, after her best friend moved away.

The now-nine-year-old officially became a published author earlier this month, after copies of the beautifully bound book, illustrated by her sister Avril, 15, arrived at her home in Bonaero Park, reports Kempton Express.

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“I wrote the book because I wanted to tell people going through the same thing that I know how it feels. It’s hard to start all over again,” the Grade Four learner, who is wise beyond her years, told Kempton Express.

Mom Deloris, the author of story collection Be Amazing, started reading to Alicia before she was even born. By the age of six, Alicia could already read, and before Deloris knew it, her second eldest had written a book.

“I knew she could write well, but I didn’t want to expose her to get a big head,” Deloris, who is humble about her publishing success, said. “But this story touched me.”

Dad Mothupi believes Alicia was inspired to write by looking at Deloris. “And she reads so much, sometimes I worry,” he laughed.

Alicia explained: “I love reading because books can teach you things you never knew before.

“TV can entertain you and cellphones connect you but books can take you to another planet.”

Despite her writing talents, Alicia dreams of becoming an actress when she grows up. She does, however, read to her three-month-old little sister Alexa, hoping that she will follow in her footsteps.

The young author advises aspiring writers to “read a lot of books so they can know things”.

“You must grow your imagination. If you imagine a pony with a chicken head, write it!”

Losing My Best Friend costs R120 and can be bought directly from the Oldjohns. Contact Deloris on 071 361 148.

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