Diyaa Ali is a fifth-grader at Kennydale Elementary School and she’s done what many scribes across the world can only dream of: she’s had her own book published.
Available on Amazon, Diyaa’s e-book “The Abandoned House: The Adventure to the World of Flora,” is in the young author’s own words, “more of a fantasy, but it’s also a little bit mysterious as [the characters] find out more about the history of Flora.”
Flora is the setting of a new world that four best friends — Jessica, Jenny, Jayla and Janine — discover after stumbling upon a hidden house. According to Diyaa, the girls come across an old woman called Miss Melissa who sends them on adventures.
“They have to go on mystical quests to retrieve the rose, which is basically the plot of the story. So basically, the rose is like, the thing that’s going to save Earth,” she said.
Diyaa has always had a love for reading and words. She won second place in the spelling bee when she was a first-grader at Hazelwood Elementary and, according to her mother Nebiha Abdella, she has always been a reader.
“She started reading very early, like at two, and by three, she was reading very well,” said Abdella, who is a project manager at Boeing. “Before she started kindergarten, she was already writing small stories. That’s when we recognized that she has that passion to write.”
For Diyaa, her love of reading fiction books like the “Harry Potter” series fueled her creativity.
“Even when I was young kid, I just loved to read. I was always with a book because I always have succeeded in reading and I just love reading fictional stories and stuff like that. So I just started pulling random ideas and then merging them together to make a book,” Diyaa said.
The process of writing “The Abandoned House” started when Diyaa was in third grade, after a short writing assignment for school. It took her about a year to complete the story, finding inspiration from her own life.
Diyaa said the character Jessica is based off of herself and that her favorite Netflix shows helped her develop ideas. One in particular was the game show “Is It Cake?” where people have to guess whether an object is actually what it looks like or just cake.
“I got the inspiration, maybe they could try food and see if it’s poisoned or something like that and they could take some tests about that,” she said. “Inspiration is really everywhere. It’s not just something that happens to cross your path.”
Once the book was finished, Diyaa and her parents went over editing, formatting and re-working it to be published as an e-book. While getting her book published has been a huge accomplishment, Diyaa said she prefers hardcover books over reading them on a tablet and hopes to have the book published in print soon.
“We have also learned a lot through this process,” said Abdella. “But we would love it if we could get a professional publisher to help guide us through the next step of publishing it through a hard copy.”
As Diyaa and her family — which includes her older brother Shurayh, 12, her younger sister Amani, 8, and her younger brother Said, 5 — work through the process of reaching this goal, the nearly-11 year old (her birthday is in December) just keeps on reading and writing.
While Diyaa said that reading is her favorite subject in school, she’s not always the biggest fan of assigned topics for writing assignments.
“It just makes me be like, ‘Please, no’ because when I write, I want to be able to make a choice, right? Because when I’m in a good mood, I can just write books and books and books and books. But if we’re forced to write something, then I just don’t put as much effort as I would if I choose to write it myself,” she said.
“This is the beginning. She has already started another book, you know, and she has so many ideas,” said Diyaa’s father, Ali, who is an engineer at Boeing.
According to Diyaa, her next book is focused on a family surviving on a remote island.
“They keep facing lots of dangers and hardships because I feel like there’s lots of books about islands. So I want to make mine more special, like, more unique than others,” Diyaa said.
For now, Diyaa hopes that people will read “The Abandoned House” and feel inspired. “I hope they go on to write some books of their own someday or something else, because everyone deserves a chance to express themselves,” she said.
“The Abandoned House: The Adventure to the World of Flora” by Diyaa Ali is available now on Amazon.