Young author shares insightful thoughts about kindness and friendship.
Eight-year-old author and illustrator Eloise Zylka isn’t like every other young writer: She wants to be a dentist when she grows up. Her stories are relatable and her first book, Advice from a Second Grader, has lessons on life every adult could pull a page from: Be kind and follow your heart.
“Try your best, and don’t worry about how to spell the words. They can be fixed,” she says about writing. You may see a few words spelled how they sound as you read along the sweetly drawn pages in her stories. Plural. She’s written five so far, often at night, when she’s supposed to be in bed. And her first book is available on Amazon and includes a bonus book called The Big Bad Boulder, a story about a rock that’s grumpy and unloved. “It’s about strong emotions,” Eloise says. “I was trying to share that it’s always good to talk about the things that bother you.”
Eloise is now a third grader at Maple Grove’s Weaver Lake Elementary. Education experts say writing exercises, like the ones Eloise and her classmates do in school, support the development of critical thinking and problem solving. Creative writing can also help students with focus, dedication to learning and motivation.
“She surprised us with this book,” says Eloise’s mom, Brianna Zylka. “She was gifted with blank writing notebooks and was always creative. A neighbor helped us self-publish on Amazon. Any proceeds she makes goes into her savings.”
So far, the book has been read by classrooms of kids as far south as Texas and is inspiring other young authors to use writing as a way to process their understanding of the world around them. Advice from a Second Grader reads like a self-empowerment guide for kids. In chapter two, Eloise says the main character is struggling to fit in. “At her school, things get heavy, but I am here for them,” she says. Each illustrated page reminds kids to stay positive and support each other.
The unassuming writer has also tried her hand at different genres, with a mystery and one about the colors she says represents emotions. “It’s important to be kind. My family taught me these values,” Eloise says. She’s also a poet, and her motivation for writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. “I like chapter books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, graphic novels and nonfiction about nature,” she says.
This fall, she’s hoping to share her work at nearby craft fairs, along with her sister, Charlotte, who makes dog toys out of fleece strips. Brianna says all these creative projects are teaching her kids about entrepreneurship and believing that they can do anything they set their minds to.
Advice from a Second Grader and The Big Bad Boulder can be purchased online at amazon.com.