"Unique, heartwarming, honest."
– Andrea Putnam, Librarian at West Riverside Elementary
"this book is awesome!"
– Reviewer on Amazon.com
The raves are in for "An Amazing Adventure," starring a parrot and a koala intent on sparing others from a cruel peacock king. The book's author, Aminah Khan, is a sixth-grader at West Riverside Elementary School.
Aminah wrote the page-turner last year, as a class assignment. Her teacher, Mr. Mark Gonzales, promptly declared it – what else? amazing – and encouraged the girl's mother to get it published.
Now, the adventure is available at major online bookstores, including iBooks, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book's art, also created by Aminah, was digitized by an illustrator for publication, said Andrea Putnam, Librarian at West Riverside Elementary.
And the story – in the book and in life – is uplifting, even inspirational. "She's trying to prove that we can defy the odds and accomplish what we want to, that people can't tell us what to become – and that in the end, you make your own destiny," Ms. Putnam said. "It shows a lot about her personally."
Aminah's family emigrated from India and settled in an economically challenged part of Jurupa Valley, Ms. Putnam said, noting that both the girl and her fictional characters have overcome adversity. In the book, parrot Mitto and koala Hushi use teamwork and brainpower to conquer magical hurdles.
The young author is described as sweet, smart and compassionate, and has emerged as a student leader: Aminah this year is one of 10 school ambassadors who serve as liaisons between parents, school and the community.
She's also the first West Riverside student to publish a book, said Ms. Putnam. "I have a lot of books by young authors that I read to our kids. I want to encourage our students that they can do it themselves, as well."
So … now that Aminah is published, will she pursue a career in writing?
"No. She actually wants to be a surgeon," Ms. Putnam said. "Her mother says that's what she's always wanted to be."
This girl is tough, determined, and yes, in charge of her own destiny. In a word – what else? – amazing.