GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — When school lets out for the summer, students are typically tasked with summer reading. But, what about penning your first book?
For Kayleigh Arcarese, a soon-to-be 4th grader from Greece, she made that her mission these last few months. With “The Potato Who Just Wanted A Friend,” she is now a published author at age 9.
Back in the spring, Kayleigh put her ideas to paper and paired them with illustrations of her own to tell a story of friendship.
“I’m 9 years old, and I know that friendships are very important, but they’re not always easy to make. So, with this story, if some kids read it, they might figure out how to make some new friends,” said Kayleigh.
Her story follows a potato who attends a new school and befriends a tomato, sharing the message that while making new friends can be difficult, it’s also important to accept those who are different.
Kayleigh’s mother, Kelly Arcarese, is a school counselor for Greece Central Schools. She says much of the themes in Kayleigh’s book are lessons she strived to bring home to her own kids.
“She’s heard them since she was young, and the theme of perseverance is something I always say to my students and my own children. Things like, ‘You can do it. Don’t give up. You can do anything in life.’ And, this is an example for Kayleigh,” she said.
After months of crafting the perfect story, Kayleigh’s book has hit the shelves, which is seemingly good timing for the start of a new school year.
“I never really thought this would happen, but it feels really good because when I was younger, I’d make some books and write with pencil, but I never really thought to publish a book,” said Kayleigh.
A message she hopes readers take away is that of perseverance.
“Even if you think something is super hard, don’t give up. Keep trying and persevere,” she said.
Kayleigh says she’s not finished writing and plans to continue the series with new titles in the future.
Her book is now available for purchase on Amazon.