Ten-Year-old publishes his first book in February
Up to age five, Shaun Brown had struggles with basic reading concepts.
Today, Brown, who is 10 years of age, is probably the youngest author in Jamaica and the Caribbean, will be launching his book titled The Candle and the Bear in February.
In an interview with The Gleaner at the Shortwood Practising Primary and Junior High School in St Andrew, which he attends, Brown shared that his book started with a regular assignment that he received in class recently.
"I have three words to describe my book: awesome, adventurous, and amazing," he declared.
"I got an assignment to write some stories, and when I shared it with my mom, they were so good she encouraged me to publish a book," he recalled.
Brown, who is in grade five, believes that the support from his parents and his passion for reading have contributed to his success.
LOVE FOR READING
"I really enjoy reading and writing. I find that it relaxes me, and whenever I have spare time, I read. Every evening, I write in my journal, capturing what happened throughout the day. I find it fun. I love doing it," he said.
"I don't feel pressure any at all. I am all for reading, and I just want to get better every day. The support from my parents has been great. Mommy and daddy are behind me one hundred per cent," he told The Gleaner.
The youngster, however, pointed out that he only hoped to use writing as an avenue for fun and relaxation. His dream is to become a scientist.
"I like to have fun like regular children. During the week I will write, but on the weekend, I play my video games and surf the Internet," he continued.
The young author has a journal in which he documents his daily activities, however, at the beginning of that journal, he has what he calls his bucket list, which includes attending Campion College and Harvard University in the United States, and meeting sprint icon, Usain Bolt, daytime television host Ellen Degeneres, and pop singer OMI.
His mother, Keniesha Brown, said that it has been a rewarding experience watching her child's development.
"I'm very elated! I'm really proud of my son. The funny thing is that Shaun could not read properly. Up to age five, he was struggling with basic things. His aunt, who is an early-childhood teacher, intervened and transformed his room with words, and from that time, he became very passionate," she said.
"I remember one Sunday he went to the bathroom and he was asking for The Sunday Gleaner and he read it in its entirety. He has read the entire series of Diary of a Whipy Kid. He has read all his brother's literature books. His brother is in second form. Shaun is an avid reader."
STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM
She also expressed the view that it is imperative that children have a strong support system.
"We support him in whatever he does. He might not be athletic, but we feel comfortable as parents that he balances his school work with play time. He is unique and has his own strengths and gifts, and writing is one of them," she said.
"The only thing we strongly encouraged was that he read. After my sister (his aunt) stepped in, we made sure as parents that we did the necessary follow-up to make sure he grasped basic reading skills. By the time he is done with one book, he is on our backs to buy other books," the proud mother told The Gleaner.
"Whenever we have meetings with the publisher, he doesn't just sit there, he asks his own set of questions. Shaun is very involved with the process. He wants regular updates and he wants to be in the loop."
His father, who is also Shaun Brown, was similarly proud and ecstatic.
"Sometimes when you tell him to go to bed, an hour later when you walk inside, he's still reading. Every morning when you go in his room there is a book beside him. He's very confident and focused," his father told The Gleaner.
"I feel very proud of him. He is not quick to go outside and play. I guess it's the era that he's growing up in, but he loves his video games and surfing the Internet. I just want to make sure that my presence is strong and I support his endeavours," he declared.