By Karla Amador
Brooklyn, NY — At the tender age of eight, Anaya Lee Willabus made history as the youngest author of a chapter book in the country! Her debut, The Day Mohan Found His Confidence was inspired by her journey to her parents’ native homeland of Guyana in 2014. “My parents wanted my siblings and me to connect with our culture,” she explains.
Anaya, who is now twelve-years-old remembers how it was a challenge to convince her parents at seven-years-old, that she was serious about becoming a published author. Published in May of 2015, Anaya recalls her surprise at the amount of positive response Mohan received.
Anaya’s fascination with literature began at a young age; only two-years-old, her parents introduced her to the wonder of public libraries. Her passion grew over the years, motivated by summer reading programs sponsored throughout Brooklyn, where Anaya was raised.
“I always try to play out the story in my head and ask myself, if I were to read this book, would I find it interesting?” she says.
Although she found there to be too few books about children of color, she remembers being inspired by people of color who made a difference in their communities and in the world around them. Today, Anaya finds inspiration within the works of Maya Angelou and Barack Obama.
Following Anaya’s debut novel, she has published two other books; her A Bully’s Disguise: The Untold Story (2016) focuses on bullying, an issue facing students across the country, and Checo & the Homework Passes (2017). Anaya is excited to announce that her fourth book Make it Happen!: Anaya Willabus is slated to be published this March.
“It makes me very happy, that my books are relatable to other children of color because I remember it was difficult to find books for someone that looked like me in my early stages of reading books,” she said.
As well as being a four-time published author, Anaya serves as the founder of her non-profit organization The Stalwarts Youth Corporation. Its mission is to encourage children to strive for excellence in reading and writing through community partnerships, such as book drives, and school supply donations in underserved areas. Her efforts seek to engage young readers to become more excited about books in the age of digital technology. Personally, Anaya prefers reading hard copy books because she finds turning pages are a pivotal part of the story-telling experience.
“My hope is for other children of color to become inspired to be advocates for change through literacy and education in their community”.
Anaya’s latest book Make it Happen!: Anaya Willabus will launch on March 22nd, 2019, at Brooklyn Borough Hall at 6pm. It will be a part of a series which presents unique people who have overcome great challenges to succeed in work and life. The book is available for preorder here: https://lightswitchlearning.com/product/make-it-happen-anaya-willabus-writer/
You can find all of her other books at your local library, bookstores or online using this link: https://www.amazon.com/anaya-willabus/s?k=anaya+willabus