Meet Aria & Anna: Young Authors Writing for Readers Around the World
By Angela Ding
Two young authors, on opposite sides of the globe, wanted to do more than deliver a story – they wanted to deliver their love of reading to the world.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had the joy of traveling to different worlds [. . .] Through this love, I’ve created my own movie-like stories in my head and dreamed of characters who travel through the unknown and find out the most unexpected things.” – Aria Rani Sindledecker
Eleven-year-old Aria Rani Sindledecker was about to become a published American author. Avid reader, fantasy-lover, and creative thinker – Aria was excited for her imaginary world to meet the public eye. Safire and Igneous, the first of her Age of Aliens series, “is about a girl who finds out she is an alien and a boy who has to escape the life he grew up in,” she summarizes.
But the young author wanted to do more than deliver a riveting sci-fi story – she wanted to deliver her love of reading to the world and inspire imagination on a global scale.
This sci-fi novel is the product of her long-standing, active imagination, an imagination that sprouted from her love of reading. She knew that this foundation of literacy opened doors for her creativity. With her writing, she wanted to deliver this fundamental skill of literacy to the less fortunate.
This is where Worldreader comes into the picture.
“I decided I wanted to donate all of my proceeds to a charity that helps kids across the world learn to read. So I went online with my mom and we discovered Worldreader.”
Worldreader’s mission also resonated with Aria on a personal level. She knew first-hand the importance of introducing books into the household at an early age. “I didn’t start talking until I was almost three and my mom read to me a lot,” she explained.
The young writer recognizes her fortune of having this access to books. Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, over a billion children are no longer able to attend school. Digital books are the only way millions of children in developing countries can continue to learn and reap the benefits of reading like Aria does. For this reason, Aria decided to partner with Worldreader to fund their Booksmart collection in India, a country with closed schools, but many mobile phones.
Bringing literacy to India is also a personal mission to Aria, whose grandparents, through literacy, were able to build a more prosperous life. “My grandfather was born in a small town in India with a small amount of educational resources [. . .] My grandmother came from a similar background,” she explains.
“They made me want to give the same chance to children like them in India so that they can follow a similar path.”
Having developed a passion for books in childhood, Aria continues to read daily. Like Worldreader’s beneficiaries, she engages in digital reading. “I use a Kindle everyday because it’s usually dark on the way home from swimming,” she explains. Aria also knows that digital reading is not merely relegated to nighttime reading post-swim practice – it also brings a whole library of literary inspiration to a writer’s fingertips, an inspiration she wishes to bring to the less fortunate.
Beyond books, where else could an aspiring writer find inspiration? To Aria, it’s also within the self. “Tie your feelings into your story, make your story yours. And if you are having a hard time, remember what made you want to write, remember your goal and always use your imagination,” she concludes eloquently.
Meanwhile in the UK, Sixteen-year-old Anna Pattle, also a recently published author, has a similar, long-lasting relationship with books. Like Aria, reading from a young age inspired her creativity and shaped her character.
“I loved re-reading my favourite books multiple times to re-capture the image of these characters in my mind. [. . .] I would not be the same person without having lived through the perspective of so many inspiring heroes and heroines who had been written about.” – Anna Pattle
Reading also inspired her love of creative writing, now embodied in her very first novel. Sardaron is a fantasy-fiction novel “about two young heroines who are forced to fulfill the promise their father made with the Devil, and are transported to an alternate dimension where they become the leaders of a war effort,” she summarizes.
Anna’s novel delivers more than just a riveting tale. With the lack of female heroes in media, her book is also empowering – strong female characters have been shown to inspire female leadership among young girls.
With female literacy comes female empowerment, and Anna wished to bring literacy to women around the world.
Through family connections, she discovered Worldreader.
Gender equality in literacy is one of Worldreader’s fundamental goals, a goal that Anna wished to contribute towards with her proceeds from Sardaron.
“Literacy is key in the empowerment of women by improving job prospects and lowering both the birth rate and the infant mortality rate, which are key factors in a country’s development.”
“[Encouraging] novel-reading through their e-readers [. . .] meant that more people around the world would be able to experience the same love for books that I had,” she elaborated. Anna’s statement could not be more true – with the rise of smartphones among developing nations, e-books are proving to be more cost-effective and accessible than printed books. Furthermore, women in developing nations are less likely to have attended school compared to men, but read more on mobile devices.
Her empowerment of young authors doesn’t just stop there: Anna has also launched a short story competition in her school to raise awareness of Worldreader’s mission. Her advice for aspiring young authors? “I always find that starting a new story, chapter or even scene can be difficult when you are looking at a blank screen or piece of paper. I would say that it helps to write when you are feeling particularly inspired, as it’s easier to improve fluency and to convey meaning in such a state of mind [. . .] Sharing your work with others is also important: I asked my sister to read certain chapters to make sure that they made sense and had enough emotion behind them.”
Outside of writing, Anna continues to develop new academic interests. “I have recently discovered an interest in anthropology, as well as a continued interest in biology and medicine,” she states. As a young female, she knows she can aspire towards anything, and she hopes other girls around the world will be empowered with the same mindset.
Worldreader greatly appreciates Aria Sindledecker and Anna Pattle for their contribution towards our mission for equal education.