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Teen writes first children’s book

Jazmyne Saltus is only 17 years old, but already she's felt the rush of holding the first copy of a book with her name on the cover.

Her children's book Ashley Aberdeen's Tide Pool Adventure has just been released through Blurb, a self-publishing book company.

Miss Saltus is currently in her senior year of high school at Interlochen Centre for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. She wrote the book as part of a class project.

“At my school we have a period called Intermester,” explained Miss Saltus who is back home in Bermuda for spring break.

“During that time we have art focused classes rather than the usual academics. I took a class in creating children's literature.

“Part of the class involved writing and illustrating a book and having it published through Blurb.”

As part of the class students went to a nearby elementary school to talk and read with younger children. From this experience Miss Saltus found that the children loved stories about animals.

“I said, okay, I can do animals,” she said.

When the class was over and the books were finally in hand, copies were donated to the elementary school. The students receiving the books all came to the high school to hear the books read by the high school students.

“It was definitely very exciting to hold a book written by myself in my hand, for the first time,” said Miss Saltus who previously attended the Berkeley Institute.

“A lot of family members and people at church have been interested in purchasing a copy.”

From the children's book project she has learned a few lessons.

“Illustration is very difficult,” she said. “In the future I will probably just focus on short stories and fiction for adults.”

For now, she is focusing on writing short stories and reading poetry for her various classes at Interlochen. She is hoping to attend university in the United States. Her ultimate dream is to write for the BBC in England.

“I would like to work in the writing department for television shows,” she said.

“My favourite television show is Dr Who. Sherlock is another one. I'd love to work on programmes like this.”

She was introduced to the Interlochen Centre for the Arts through their prestigious arts summer camp programme.

“I was looking at boarding schools, almost as a joke,” she said. “I found one and applied to their camp. We didn't hear back. They have a writing contest that I entered.

“I didn't make it as a finalist but they asked me to apply to the school. I did and got in.”

Miss Saltus said adjusting to the weather has been a challenge.

“It is cold,” she said. “When I first got there, when it was fall, it would go to 40F (5C) and I would bundle up and then by the afternoon it would be back up into the 60s. I had to adjust to the temperature. Then winter came and it was just cold all the time. I am happy to be back in Bermuda for a little while.”

Her mother, Penny Saltus, said she wasn't surprised that her daughter wanted to be a writer.

“She devoured books when she was little,” said Ms Saltus. “I couldn't keep up with her. We were always going to the library to get more books, or purchasing more.”

Ms Saltus said she admires authors such as Bermudian Nadia Aguiar, and John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars.

Before she left for school in the United States, she was a part of the Centre for Talented Youth (CTY) programme for gifted students in Bermuda. She was also a winner in the annual The Royal Gazette Christmas short stories writing contest on several occasions.

More recently, she received an honourable mention in Scholastic's Art and Writing Awards for her senior portfolio at Interlochen.

“I got one for my senior portfolio and another for my poetry portfolio,” she said.

Since she has been home on break she has taken the book to St Georges Preschool to read to children there.

“They were really excited and into it,” she said. “That was nice.”

For more information about the book, contact Penny Saltus at psaltus69@gmail.com.

Jazmyne Saltus, 17, author of Ashley Aberdeen's Tide Pool Adventures. (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published March 26, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 25, 2014 at 6:35 pm)

Teen writes first children’s book

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