Young Inspired Writer’s Program

Young Inspired Writer’s Program
Posted on 06/29/2023
Young Inspired Writer’s Program

On June 8, students from DeSoto ISD’s Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy held a book signing event at UNT Dallas. The participating students showcased books they authored, many with incredibly detailed book covers. The room was full of proud family members and encouraging friends. Supporters purchased their favorite books, on the spot, for the child to autograph.

This Young Inspired Writer’s Program actually began in 2019 when Sharmetra Lewis, a third grade teacher at KJTMA, had a vision of the program, “This was a vision given to me to start a writer’s program. I didn’t know how to do it, but I knew the end-all. So I just worked through the process on faith, and on faith, I was able to bring in an entire community and create something successful.”

Currently in its first year, the program officially launched in September 2022. Students began writing their stories with the end goal of becoming published authors before the end of the 2023 school year. Lewis was excited to announce 18 students started the program and all 18 successfully became authors.

Lewis spoke of the entrance process, “There was an open-door policy for students who were interested in the program. All we ask is that they understand the task and dedicate themselves to the yearlong process.”

The self-published authors include scholars from KJTMA’s 3rd through 8th grade classes.

Among the published books is Morgan’s Marvelous Memories authored by Morgan R. Johnson, a third grader.  When asked about her book, Johnson said, “My book has five different stories and are about my memories from when I was 6 years old. The stories are part fiction and part non-fiction. They are from my imagination during the coronavirus pandemic when many places were closed and my grandmother encouraged me and my sister to be creative.”

Karson McKnight, also a third grader, wrote a book titled, The Boy with Luck. McKnight says his book is about a young boy who believes is unlucky, but learns he’s really blessed and must remain positive despite the circumstances. “My spiritual beliefs,” McKnight said of the inspiration behind his book, “People go through challenges in life and think they are unlucky, but we really are all blessed.”

Elijah DuBois, a fourth grader, authored, How I Mastered Apex Predator.  DuBois says, “My book is about a boy who has to overcome getting bullied at school and trying to master a game at home while grounded. He challenges himself to see if he can be victorious at school and in the game.” DuBois’ story stems from people getting bullied at school, “I wanted to inspire them to not be defeated and to overcome bullying.”

Eighth grader, Peyton Mackey wrote, Together. Mackey describes her story, “My book is about four friends who meet when a human spaceship crashes on a magical planet called Crystal. Together, they navigate their new merged world while combatting the discrimination they face for being different.” Mackey spoke of her inspiration, “I was inspired by activists who fought for social change and I wanted to do the same; this is my way of conveying that.”

Assistance in plot development, sentence structure, and illustrations came from students’ families, current staff, and even retired teachers.

Once the books were finalized, the files were sent to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for printing. Printing of the actual books took less than two days.

Although some students’ future careers involve professions outside of writing, this writing program allows DeSoto ISD scholars to add “published author” to outshine competitors’ resumes.

When she grows up, Johnson wishes to be a chef, a rich and famous actress,  and a Kindergarten teacher. Knight kept his options open by saying, “I would like to be an entrepreneur.” As an elementary student, DuBois’ future could lead anywhere, “Right now, I want to be an author and pastor,” but quickly added, “I might change my mind later!” Mackey contemplates her future going in several possible directions, “I want to be a performing artist and author. However, I want to try art like painting, singing, and theater as careers.” Mackey isn’t locking herself down to one field, “I’d also like to study computer science. I’ve even thought about becoming a chemist, or theoretical physicist. I have time to figure it out.”

DeSoto ISD would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all 18 scholars for becoming published authors.

The writing program is open to all DeSoto ISD KJTMA students wishing to participate.

Enroll your child in DeSoto ISD:

Recap from the Book Signing Event:

All 18 published books:

3rd Grade

Madison’s Big Move by Skylar Day

The Boy with Luck by Karson McKnight

Morgan’s Marvelous Memories by Morgan R. Johnson

Not My Day by Michelle Gore

4th Grade

Me Too by Aiyanna Garrett

Kayla the Color Changing Girl by Kaysen Jones

Yearbook by Beauti Carroll-Jackson

Dear Diary by Jasmine Burleson

Out of this World by Kaden Meeks

My Uncle is a Vampire by Jeremiah Scott

How I Mastered Apex Predator by Elijah Dubois

5th Grade

Moving In by Cassandra Piggatt

The Haunted Playground by Kimberly Booker

It’s a Struggle by Kayrin Scott

What did I do to Deserve This by Triniti Spellman

Dear Diary by Racheal Dawotola

6th Grade

Players Class by Kyla Charles

8th Grade

Together by Peyton Mackey