- Cleburne Independent School District
Smith MS Sixth Grader Becomes a Published Author
After mastering the ability to read, Grant Green found himself facing a new challenge—finding books that made him want to read.
His search for “likeable literature” led to a suggestion to the then-third grader from his mother—to write his own book. At the age of 12, the Smith Middle School sixth grader is being celebrated as a published author, with his book Jake’s Hunting Adventure in the Woods, now available on Amazon.
“I just never found anything that caught my eye,” Green said. “I tried reading all kinds of books, but they got boring after a while. I think my mom had given up trying to find something I wanted to read when she said, ‘if you don’t like any of the books that are out there, start typing and write your own.’”
Eight at the time, Green took Salena Green’s advice to heart, and begin shaping a story in his mind.
“I wanted it to be about hunting and fishing because I like doing that,” Green said. “We live in the country, and we also share a deer lease. I like to go exploring a lot. Things started popping into my mind and I would add that to what I was writing. I have a family member named Jake. I like that name and I decided to use it for my character.”
The book also features Jake’s sidekick, a horse named Spark, and Bow, his dog.
“I didn’t write it all in one day,” Green said. “I’d write a few sentences at a time. Any time I got stuck, my mom helped me.”
In the middle of the fourth grade, with some direction and editing assistance from his mother, Green typed “The End” and declared the book completed. It was then that Salena proposed a new idea to her son—to take his writing project to the next level.
“She asked me if I would like to get Jake’s Hunting Adventure in the Woods published as a book,” Green said. “I said ‘sure.’”
Salena credits the Rush Limbaugh Rush Revere historical fiction books for young readers as writing inspiration for her son. Gifts from his grandfather, they were a big hit with Grant in his search for something to read.
“Reading didn’t come easy to Grant and we worked with him to improve his skills,” she said. “We were excited when we saw how much he liked the Rush Revere books. He liked the history that was presented in the books in a fun ‘pretend’ kind of way by the character, who was on an adventure. That’s when I asked him about writing something a boy his age would want to read. I told him he could write a story--if he could just imagine. I also wanted him to see what he could do on his own.”
“I was raised by parents who always told us, ‘If there’s something you want and don’t have it—invent it,’” Salena said. “That’s the philosophy behind my suggestion to Grant to write a story he would enjoy reading. I didn’t do this for any other reason but for him to see he could do this.”
As the months went by and Grant’s writing project began to take form—sentence by sentence—Salena began to envision what could come from his tale of a young boy on an adventure in the great outdoors. She began researching the possibility of publishing his story in book form, eventually connecting with an author who helps others self-publish.
“I could see it as a picture book that a young boy or girl could read,” she said. “This is much bigger than what we anticipated.”
Going through the publishing process was also an adventure, as the student writer saw his story enhanced by illustrations, page by page—including the book cover. He had some definite ideas regarding the visualization of his characters and story.
“I asked for some changes,” Grant said. “Jake looked like someone across the country from us. I didn’t want him in rain boots, but in the boots we wear around here. I also asked that he wear camo. And the saddle just looked wrong—I ride horses and I know what a saddle looks like.”
Ultimately, consensus was reached, and Grant signed off on the book. Three years after he sat down and wrote the first sentence of Jake’s Hunting Adventure in the Woods, it was made available to readers.
“I saw it for the first time, right before Christmas, when my grandmother ordered it from Amazon,” he said. “I was like shocked at how good it looked. It wasn’t until January that I received my author’s copy—that’s when I read it for the first time.”
His achievement has created a wave of excitement at his school, including a book signing. His former kindergarten teacher was among those in line to get her book signed—by the student who worked so hard to learn to read.
Smith Principal Dr. Amber White has purchased Grant’s book for herself, one for the school library and copies for the district’s seven elementary campuses.
“We get to see students excel every day—but having a student become a published author doesn’t happen every day,” White said. “It’s so exciting and a real proud moment for everyone at Smith Middle School.”
“He’s a model student,” said Ashley Fowler, his reading/language arts teacher. “Grant strives to do his best on every assignment, and I can always count on him to set the standard of what is expected in class. I have purchased and read his book and I’m both impressed and proud of his accomplishment. He’s inspired me—and he’ll continue to inspire student writers at this campus for years to come.”
Green has dedicated his book to his mom, and to Rush Limbaugh, who wrote the Rush Revere books that inspired him to write his own story about a young boy on an adventure.
“Grant worked hard and put his heart into his work,” Salena said. “He had to overcome challenges to get here—as a reader and a writer. I didn’t suggest he write his own story for any other reason but for him to see that he could do it. If this goes on to do anything else in his life, that’s just a bonus. This has been a great learning experience for him—he’s seen that if he sets his mind to something, and works hard, it can be accomplished.”
“When I challenged him to write a story, I wanted it to inspire him,” she said. “Now, he’s inspiring other kids.”
Green is already contemplating a second book. He also plays the bass guitar in his church’s youth praise band and competes in Little Dribblers basketball. He’s looking forward to the day he can join the Cleburne High School Fishing Team.
“I think that I’ll write a second book about Jake going fishing at the lake—or the beach,” he said. “I hope the kids who read my book—or the next one if I write it—will learn about hunting and fishing and maybe get a passion for getting outside to explore. I used to play video games a lot—it took my attention for hours. Now, I’m outside tending to the cows and exploring.”
“My mom and dad read to me when I was little. I’d like to see parents reading my book to their kids. Most times, reading brings joy.”