Monday, June 3, 2013

Have You Read Her Book?

Two students at Westchester Academy for International Studies (WAIS) celebrated the publishing of a fantasy book and fiction short story recently. On May 23, eighth-grader Isabella Boone and sixth-grader Amaris Bobbio-Tarco signed copies of their published works for students and teachers during lunch at the middle school.

To date, the writers are the youngest known published authors in Spring Branch ISD this year. Boone’s new book, Hunt, tells the story of a young wolf named Kenai that becomes human to bring her wolf pack leader back to life. Swept up in the excitement of the human world, Kenai has to decide if going back to her old self is what she truly wants.

Boone is just 13 years old, but she has been writing since she was 4. She always dreamed of being an author. She is currently working on a sequel to Hunt, as well as another book simultaneously. “Hunt is a fast-paced read that intertwines all the characters, settings and objects in another step in Kenai's journey to save not only her family, but her whole wolf pack.

This book won't take too long to finish . . . As a matter of fact, you may read it all in one sitting! It's one of those books that you can't stop and pick up again in a month . . . You'll have to keep reading or you'll forget,” Boone says. (Read her full interview below)

Troubled Teen.  The short story centers around two teenagers who become friends after running away from home. Over time, they help each other solve their problems. Bobbio-Tarco is currently working on a novel, too. She keeps a journal of poems that she has written.

Bobbio-Tarco, meanwhile, is one of more than 30 student writers and illustrators from grades 3-12 who has been included in the compilation, "I Write Short Stories by Kids for Kids, Volume 3.” Her contribution is entitled

Both student books are available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as are all SBISD Summer Reading List selections for district middle and high school students. (View these lists below)

SBISD is home to many aspiring writers.

In Michelle Grant-Arastu’s language arts class at Memorial Middle School, student Sungmin Cho won the Chasing Mavericks writing contest through BluNose Edutainment earlier this year. The contest was based on Walden Media’s inspirational movie of the life of surfing legend Jay Moriarity, which was released in theaters nationwide in October 2012.

Jay Moriarity’s dream was to ride the waves at Mavericks off the coast of Santa Cruz and devoted his free time to achieving his goal. Sungmin connected to this topic by writing about how his life changed through the discovery of music education after his move to the United States less than two years ago, his teacher reports.

Local libraries are busy matching summer readers with the latest novels and non-fiction offerings. Many have interactive summer youth programs that will begin when school bells stop ringing. SBISD parents are encouraged to involve their children in summer reading programs sponsored by their school or public library. Contact your school librarian or campus office for the hours and days your school library will be opened this summer.

Q&A with Isabella Boone SBISD

How long did it take you to write this book?

IB: Most of the time, I think of a nice little paragraph or a character to start the story with and build up a plot from there. In sixth grade, I'd just gotten a new notebook and I wanted to start a new story. I remember sitting in front of my computer in Tech Ed and trying to figure out names for the extra characters in the book , Wolf Story. 

Then, at the fifth chapter, I stopped. Later in the seventh grade, I picked up Wolf Story and continued writing. I had more and more ideas, and I just couldn't stop writing.
I was writing before class, after class, and even got into trouble when writing it during lessons...After that, Wolf Story became a little favorite between my friend group, and then I renamed it, Hunt.

What was the publishing process like?

IB: Once I finished the book, my grandmother was all over wanting to get it published. But, of course, there was still school, homework, and studying I had to deal with. The company kept calling, e-mailing... And I'm just a 13-year-old. I have sports, school... It was all too much! Now here I was, about to go to eighth grade, and still spending my summer break typing, reading, typing, reading. Finally, in the middle of the year, my book was published.

I didn't know until in class one day, my friend shouted, "Izzy! Your book is on the Kindle!" I felt like I was going to cry. . . . The feeling of having my dream come true was totally worth the adult-like business that clouded my mind all summer long!

Do you have any favorite authors or books that have inspired your work?

IB: For me, a person who reads at least three books at once, it's really challenging to identify a favorite author. If I had to name a few, they would be Carl Hiassen, Maggie Steifvater and Neil Shusterman. Usually, I get my inspiration for books and short stories while swimming.

Books really help me to increase vocabulary to the point where I use the words frequently in my writing. Sometimes, the personalities of other characters from other books, namely the way they speak, really takes a toll on some of my own characters. I really like to use different antonyms for usual words because after a while, I need to vary.

What is it like to see your work for sale with major stores like Amazon or Barnes and Noble?

IB: It has always been my dream to be able to see my book in stores and all over the Internet. When I first got the book, I pictured hundreds of people flooding to me and asking for my autograph. I pictured everyone holding a copy, talking about their favorite parts. In reality, only my friends and some of my teachers bought it from me, so there wasn't much popularity in there.

I then realized that the fact my dreams came true is much more important than popularity. Holding my book, reading snippets to people, and having others read the summary on the back make my heart flutter. I think that seeing my book in other people's possession is one of the best feelings in the world.

Communications Dept. intern Kali Venable compiled and wrote this report.


  1. Wow, this is very impressive! Congratulations to all the young authors and their teachers.

  2. Thanks to my school for doing this for me! The whole experience of being able to publish my book has been exhilarating. I'd love it if you could visit my website, , for more information. Thank you to everyone who has helped me and encouraged me to continue along the way.

  3. Would it be antonyms or synonyms? Antonyms are opposites, while synonyms have the same meaning, but are different words.

  4. mrs. grant-arastu is my teacher this year!!


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