Kirsten, 8, writes first book

Kirsten Williams with her book, Oaky in the Playground.

Kirsten Williams, an 8-year-old pupil from Goodwood Park Primary School in Goodwood, has written her first book.

Oaky in the Playground is part of the Oaky series of books created by Read to Rise co-directors Athol Williams and Taryn Lock.

It will be distributed with the rest of the series to schools in Mitchell’s Plain through the non-profit organisation Read to Rise and will also be available to buy at theartpress.com.

In the book, Oaky and his friends are having fun in the playground when something goes wrong: a fight is about to start because of an accident, but Oaky offers his peers advice to prevent the fight.

The story deals with forgiveness and the value of talking, rather than fighting, says Read to Rise programme manager and Kirsten’s father, Roscoe Williams.

Read to Rise is a non-profit organisation that promotes youth literacy at schools in poor communities.

“As the name indicates, we firmly believe that children need to read in order to rise in their personal development and contribution to society,” said Mr Williams.

Kirsten could often be found sitting quietly in her room with a pen and paper, writing, he said.

“One day, she surprised us with an Oaky story – it was written in pencil on a few pages that were stapled together. We read it and thought that this is a great story,” he said.

“I then sent the story to Athol Williams, who is the author of the Oaky series and Kirsten’s uncle, to show him what she wrote. He was impressed, proofread it and felt that this should be the latest edition to the Oaky series.”

Mr Williams said lockdown had been the perfect time for Kirsten and her sister to work on their writing skills.

“The experience was indeed a proud moment for all of us. Kirsten was very happy but did not let the attention get to her head which makes us even prouder,“ said Mr Williams.

With International Literacy Day today, Wednesday September 8, Mr Williams stresses the importance of promoting youth literacy.

“Children who love reading, excel at school and go on to become constructive members of society. It all starts with reading. This is the message we encourage in children every day. They need to be reminded why it is important to read.”