Garner 6th grader addresses race, women's empowerment in 1st published children's book

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Garner 11-year-old Mariya Hunter is only in 6th grade, but is already a published author and tacking heavy societal issues.

"I've been reading books for a while and to have my own book, it was pretty amazing," Hunter said.

The children's book is called "Lucile and The Big Race." It's being sold on all major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Walmart.

Hunter felt compelled to write this based on conversations with her classmates at North Garner Middle School.

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"Most of the kids at my school, they don't look like me and they were saying, 'You cannot do this,'" Hunter said.



The book is about women empowerment, especially those of color.

Hunter said it's hard finding that topic in children's books.

"They don't see women, especially African American women, as they can do something," Hunter said. "I didn't see any of the books in the library about or written by African American girls, so I just decided I could write my own story."

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The read is about a student named Lucile, who has a school race. A boy starts badgering Lucile saying she's not fast enough and girls can't run. Lucile rises to the challenge and practices every day. The character ends up tripping and losing the race, but that's okay.

"At least you tried to do it and that even if you didn't win, you accomplished something," said Hunter.

Much like the character in her book, Hunter wanted to prove something to students at her school.

"You can't let anybody tell you something that you know you can try your hardest with," Hunter said.

Hunter says as far at this book goes, it's not a one and done. She is now working on part two and hopes to have it published in the new year.
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