Zaila Avant-garde, the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee winner, is making her debut as a children’s book author.
The 16-year-old is releasing two books this year. “Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome at Life” is slated for May 2 and “Words of Wonder from Z to A” will be released on June 27, according to PEOPLE.
Avant-garde is excited for the books to be published but she’s “especially happy that they are for kids.”
“As a child who knew my favorite books by heart, I know firsthand the joy that a good book can bring,” she said.
“It’s Not Bragging If It’s True is”, for readers from 8 to 12, is a collection of stories about Zaila’s life, featuring anecdotes that illustrate how she has accomplished so much at her young age.
In “Words of Wonder from Z to A,” illustrated by Keisha Morris, Zaila uses some of her favorite motivational words to inspire her young readers.
“These books are for the readers who have their favorite stories memorized forward and backward and dare their parents not to read to them at bedtime (like me),” she said. “But they are most of all dedicated to the kids who are nervous about picking up a book and reading it, who don’t read them simply because they think they are not good at it. I’m here to say you can do it too.”
Zaila is looking forward to writing more books in the future, including more children’s books. In the meantime she’ll be honing her basketball skills to one day play in college, and maybe become an NBA coach one day. She also wants to work in fields like neuroscience, forensics or molecular biology.