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Adora Svitak

She's got the "write" stuff!

What can Adora do at age 10 that most of us will never achieve in a lifetime?  Though only in seventh grade, Adora wrote over 330,000 words in the last year alone.  Her stories include historical fiction, poetry, and “tips” books for kids.  She is already a published author.  Though she says she mostly just writes for fun, Adora's belief in herself inspires other girls to set their sights higher. She may still be young, but her accomplishments are making a huge impact on the way girls think about their own potential.

Age: Ten years old
Grade: 7th grade
Town: Redmond, WA

Adora Svitak holding books she has publishedHow long have you been reading and writing?

I have been an avid reader since I was three and a half and a writer since I was four. When I was six, I received a laptop from my mom as a gift and I began writing short stories very enthusiastically.

Of the stories and poems you have written, which is your favorite?

Of the short stories in my book Flying Fingers, my favorite would probably be "The Spoiled Prince." However, my favorite story in general would be "Yang in Disguise," a coming-of-age adventure story that will be published this year. One of my favorite poems is called "The Weeping Willow," which will be included in my poetry collection,Dancing Fingers. Dancing Fingers will include my sister’s (Adrianna) poetry as well. That will be released this April.

Where do you get your ideas for your work?

Adora Svitak on her bed with a lot of booksI get inspirations from five primary sources—random objects, nature, people, life in general, and other books. When I pick up a china vase, I don't think "china vase." Instead, I think of how it could inspire a story about ancient China or a vase maker. Sometimes I use whatever comes into my mind. Nature is all around us. A weeping willow tree I noticed on a walk sprouted the idea for my poem "The Weeping Willow." Likewise, a spider on the windowsill or a body of water could inspire a work of writing. My everyday life, and the everyday lives of people around me, helped shape my "Diary of a Pre-teen" in some ways. Speaking of people, my family, friends, and even those that I find annoying, have been wonderful inspirations. One person I knew who was a little irritating became the main character in the "Spoiled Prince." 

Do you have any favorite writers?

I don't have one favorite writer. Blame it on my avid reading, but I love J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling—so far, all authors with initials for first names—plus Karen Cushman, Voltaire, Anne Bronte, and many, many, many others.

Do you have any other role models?

I have many role models—Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, Rosa Parks, Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., J.K. Rowling, and all the members of my family.

Adora Svitak typingWhat things do you do to inspire other kids to read and write?

I inspire other kids to read and write through teaching and continuing to write my own stories, poems, and blogs (www.adorasvitak.com External link).  I am also the Community Champion and spokesperson for the Verizon Literacy Foundation.  I teach writing almost everyday through videoconferences to schools across the country and in Canada.  I also do face-to-face school visits across the world, including Europe and Asia, and across grades, from first grade to university.  I hold speaking engagements at events, libraries, and bookstores.  I am very excited about my newest project, webcasting with Sonic Foundry's Mediasite (www.mediasite.com External link), with which schools and individuals around the world will be able to access live and on-demand content of my writing workshop series.

Do you have any other hobbies besides reading and writing?

I have several hobbies like swimming, biking, roller skating, ice skating, drawing, playing board games, cooking, playing on my Xbox, playing outside, and watching or listening to the news.

What advice would you suggest to kids that want to start writing books?

Before you begin writing, you might find it helpful to think out some basic parts of your story, like your main character and what he or she is trying to do. Once you start writing, keep in mind that inspirations are everywhere. As writers, we can observe the world around us and find things to write about in many different places. If you're faced with writer's block, try brainstorming ideas. And once you're done with your story, it's a good idea to look over it, share it with friends and family, get suggestions, and begin revising. But be sure to keep in mind during this process that, in writing, it's really your world. So you don't have to follow everything I'm saying—choose your own way and come up with something creative and original. Ultimately, have fun!  

If you could be anything at all when you grow up, what would it be?

I would definitely continue to be a writer and a teacher, and I would like to become a journalist as well. I’ll keep my options open.  I might like to become an editor, publisher, or whatever profession in which I could find fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment.

Content last reviewed March 01, 2008
Page last updated March 01, 2008

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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