Seven-year-old publishes book on the importance of being kind
AMSTERDAM — Educators and parents all strive to teach children the message of kindness, but when the message is delivered from a child, it may be the most powerful. Author and McNulty Academy student Samantha Soper, is putting her heart into words, teaching her audience that it is not only important to be kind, but that it feels good.
The seven-year old author and illustrator has published her 2 in 1 book titled “Hey You, Be You,” and “We Are Superheroes,” a collection of inspirational stories, and will be donating copies to libraries and will attend a book signing at Mysteries on Main Street Bookstore in Johnstown. Samantha published her first book after winning the J.A. Hoomas writing contest at R.J. McNulty Academy.
The contest asked children to write a story on kindness and acceptance, which is how “Hey You, Be You,” was derived. Samantha said it is dedicated to anyone who’s ever felt different from anyone else. Her second story “We Are Superheroes,” is about the importance of being a good person. Samantha said she created characters to reflect not only herself, but her friends, who she describes as “bright and unique,” but most of all, relatable.
“I hope other kids read my books so that they can learn from them. I think they will really like my books. They are colorful and fun,” said Samantha.
Her mom, Nicole Soper, said Samantha is a sweet, charismatic, very well rounded little girl who has a special spark for life. She said she enjoys life to its fullest and likes to dance and play soccer, baseball, golf, hunting, fishing, four-wheel riding, drawing, painting, and of course, reading and writing.
“She has always loved books. Reading is a part of our bedtime routine. When Samantha learned to read at age five she expanded her love for reading into writing,” said Soper.
Soper said Samantha got the ideas for the book from what she was seeing and feeling while at school.
“Samantha is very observant. The idea to write the books came from what she is seeing first hand at school, the pain and frustration other kids endure on a daily basis for simply being different. Her first book, “Hey You, Be You,” is dedicated to anyone who’s ever felt different from anyone else, said Soper.
Soper said the story focuses on diversity. It’s about embracing who each individual person is, and not being afraid of what might make someone different from anyone else. She said Samantha’s second story, “We Are Superheroes,” is about being a good person, and tells the importance of helping others understand that good is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you do.
“We raise our children to know that they can do anything they put their mind to, and that in life if you want something, you have to work hard for it,” said Soper.
Soper said she remembers how determined her daughter was to win the writing contest, when she was just a student in kindergarten.
“Not only did she want to enter into the contest but she wanted to win. She of course liked the incentive that came with it, a computer and kindle fire to the first-place winner. She was willing to work hard and put in the time. We encouraged her to work on her story a little each day and to really think about what she was writing,” said Soper.
It took Samantha a long time to write the story and create all the characters, according to Soper, who explains that is due to her daughter being a bit of a perfectionist. She said she handed it in a day before the deadline wrapped in a silver satin ribbon.
“It was such an adorable and meaningful story but we had no idea that she would win. Not only did she win but she was the first kindergartener ever to be chosen as an overall winner. Being the winner of the writing contest was a surprise, but to now be a published author of that same story is unimaginable, “said Soper.
The community support is something that Soper said has been a huge asset. She said they have received many words of encouragement and she describes the compliments as “pouring in” which they are thankful for.
“Samantha is really getting that sense of accomplishment. People from all over are reaching out to purchase a copy of the book and wanting her to sign it,” said Soper.
As for her daughter’s future as a writer, Soper said she thinks she will continue to write.
“It’s important to not remain silent for things that need to be supported and through her stories her voice is being heard. For the future we hope she continues to work hard towards all of her dreams, and most importantly remains true to herself, “said Soper.
Samantha is on the same page as her mom when it comes to pursuing her efforts as an author.
“I want to continue to write. I have a couple more books I’m working on now. I hope to write a new book every year. The most exciting part about becoming an author is that now everyone is reading my books but most importantly learning from it and that makes me happy, “said Samantha.
Samantha will be signing copies of her books at Mysteries on Main Street on Nov. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m.