By Steve Sears
For many, an always-goal (wish?) is to write a book. Lots of people talk about it, but never get down to the nitty gritty of putting words on a page.
Not so for soon to be 11-year-old Livingston fifth grader, Elina Brahmandam, who recently wrote not one but two books, seeing both to publication just in time for the holidays.
Her two book offerings in her “Yay! It’s a Holiday!” series are titled “Yay! It’s Thanksgiving!” and “Yay! It’s Christmas! Christmas Giving with a Twist!”.
“I particularly enjoy reading and writing funny stories,” says Brahmandam. “That inspired me last thanksgiving to write this story as a creative writing project in school. During the COVID lockdown, I spent time learning to make digital art. My parents encouraged me to turn the story into a book in time for this year’s Thanksgiving. After I wrote the thanksgiving book, I loved it so much I decided to write on Christmas too.”
Brahmandam, who attends Harrison Elementary School, explains the ideas behind both books. “I got the plot idea for the books by simply thinking – ‘for these holidays, what are some of the most signifying parts,’ and imagined possible twists and surprises around them. For my books, it became about a turkey who wanted to be eaten, and a kid who wanted to get a gift for Santa.” Brahmandam also did the illustrations for both books. “In the first book,” she says, “it was fairly easy for me to make the illustrations because it was mostly scenery or animals, because the main character was a turkey. In my second book, it was a bit harder because the main character was a girl and her family, and it was harder to draw faces and bodies. Overall, my digital art skills improved a lot and I feel more confident for my next book’s illustration whenever I am ready to publish the next one.”
In addition to her creative writing, Brahmandam tutors and has many other interests. She spends an equal amount of time on all. “I really love writing, and I also really enjoy sharing my stories with others, but I like to keep time for my other interests that I am passionate about as well. I code often and have published an app this year, I bake and take drawing and painting lessons as well as participate in community service. For e.g. I am conducting a free workshop on Scratch Programming for girls aged 5-17 this month as part of the Girls Who STEAM organization, a non-profit dedicated to support more girls gain stem skills. So, there isn’t one single favorite subject.”
Brahmandam’s writing endeavors began when she was 8 years old, when her parents encouraged her to start writing her “Along the Starry Way” blog. It has evolved over the last few years, and that evolution, as well as parents’ encouragement, have aided her efforts. “Blogging has helped me develop more confidence in my writing skills, which continuously built my confidence, which led to me publishing two books. My parents have been encouraging me to simply share my work with the world. They taught me to type faster, encouraged me to learn about different tools available and the process for publishing. I love that they coach me instead of doing it for me, and with that independence, I have already helped other children with tips on how to publish their own books.”
Is there another “Yay!” book being planned? “I definitely plan to write more books in the future for this series,” she says. “Currently, I am focused on my 5th grade studies and on a writing break but will soon resume.”
Brahmandam’s future goal is to get into public service and play an active role in United States politics, creating programs and policies for justice. “I hope to work towards it via learning deeper about important subjects, sharing my thoughts via my blogs and books, taking an active role in debates and public speaking, in addition to community service, fundraising for those in need.”
“Yay! It’s Thanksgiving!” and “Yay! It’s Christmas! Christmas Giving with a Twist!” are both available on Amazon.com.