I often have parents ask what it means to be published in one of our books. For our students, it means that their work was better than most of their peers. However, from that top tier, we always have a few student poets and artists who move on to the next level. We give them a start when they are in school, and then they take that beginning and make their own dreams come true and become a professional poet or artist.
Jasmine Kang is one such student. Now a graduate from San Jose University, we published her before she went to college. Moving beyond our publication, she kept writing and published a book of poems, River of Light. This anthology of her poems received Honorable Mention at the Paris Book Festival and was a USA Book News “Best Books 2010” award finalist. Jasmine stated in an email, “It’s not about selling and making money, but about the passion, about sharing and spreading inspiration. Writing and art are some things I really feel for.”
For each book that we create, there are a few sparks that ignite into a passion for writing. We never know who these life long writers or artists will be. As you look at each student in your classes, you always have to remember that every famous writer or artist started somewhere. We love it when teachers have their students participate. We know that among the thousands of students we work with each year, a few will move on to the next level. As teachers, we never know who that one student will be. They might just be a student in your classroom this year, but by having them compete in our contests, you are giving them a chance at receiving recognition. For one teacher, years ago, Jasmine may have just been a student who entered a contest. Today, she is a writer with her own anthology and several awards. Every famous writer started somewhere. For Jasmine, we were a part of her beginning. Thank you Jasmine.