Shanaya Fastje is eleven years old. The homeschooled sophomore loves to write and illustrate her own stories. Shanaya and her family decided to use a small publishing company to get her stories into print (three of them so far, and she’s working on a fourth). Read more here.
A Brief Disclaimer: Small publishing companies can be very expensive, which leads detractors to refer to them as “vanity” presses–printers people use when they want to see their stories in print at any cost. Some have very tricky contracts with some serious disadvantages for the author. Others are on the up-and-up. A website such as Preditors & Editors can help you sort out the good guys from the not-so-good, and of course you know to ALWAYS read the contract carefully and seek legal advice for any parts that raise questions. My purpose here is neither to recommend nor caution against any particular company.
That said, I thought it was interesting to note what Shanaya has accomplished.
- She won a National Award of Extraordinary Excellence in 2008 for her first book, Mystery School.
- In 2009, Texas Governor Rick Perry recognized her as “A Shining Star” after her second book was published.
- She has organized an anti-bullying program.
- The National Association of Secondary School Principals and Prudential Financial presented her with the 2011 Prudential Spirit of Community Award for outstanding community service,
- and President Obama recently awarded Shanaya the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her outstanding accomplishments.
Not too shabby! 🙂 Congratulations are undoubtedly due, and there’s abundant encouragement and inspiration for all!