February 7, 2008

Local Homeschooler, age 10, writes first book:

Quinn is a friend and we are proud of him. But the reason I reprint this article here is because it aptly illustrates exactly how some homeschoolers learn. They have more time to read. More freedom to explore. And more direct support for their passions over a longer period of time. Observe:

Easy Writer in The Chapel Hill News 2/6/08 by Catherine Wright

Quinn Morris sits on a huge, red, upholstered chair reading a book that seems equally big -- "The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book 1."
It's hard to tear him away from this inches-thick book. I have to be like the magician's apprentice who learns how to summon the djinni Bartimaeus, a magical being. I look to Quinn's dad.
"Quinn!" Charlie Morris says, laughing.
And I laugh, too. As Quinn and I talk about reading and writing, he dangles his legs over an arm of the chair, scrunches his face into funny expressions and runs his hand through his dark, curly locks.
At 10 years old, Quinn is all child. He talks about playing video games and pleads with his dad for an extra 30 minutes of computer time.
But at age 10, Quinn is also an author. His first book, "The Living Skulls of Rome," is a mystery involving a child detective named Sam.
"This is a great book, if I do say so myself. I laugh at my own wit and ingenuity," so says Quinn on the back cover of his self-published book under a section dubbed "Praise for 'The Living Skulls of Rome'."
Not only does Quinn love mysteries, but he also -- evidently -- loves humor. His book is filled with it.
"I like child detectives," Quinn says. "They're funny. Honestly, [Sam] is the only kid-kid detective that I've encountered."
"What about the kid who liked pancakes?" his dad asks.
"Oh, yeah, Nate the Great. But he wasn't a professional," Quinn says of the lead character in the easy reader series with the same name.
"I read a lot. I don't usually like the thin books; I like the thick ones like this one," he says, picking up "The Bartimaeus Trilogy" in his lap.
"When Quinn likes a book..." his dad starts.
"...I read it over and over and over and over and over," Quinn said.
"Oh, my gosh, so much. It's ridiculous," Charlie says. "When he was reading Harry Potter, he would simultaneously be reading two or three at a time. When he's reading an Artemis Fowl book, he'll finish it and just start over again."
His absorption with reading sounds a bit like his writing. Already, Quinn, who is homeschooled, is planning a series based on his child detective. The next book will be "The Aztec Virus," which he previewed in his first book.
"He's working on it up here," Charlie says tapping his head. "He's always talking about ideas for it, but I don't think he quite has it yet."
Quinn spent a year, on and off, working on his first book. He got the idea for it while looking through a magazine.
"It was a National Geographic magazine article -- something about ancient aqueducts. Right, pop?"
"It was an ancient aqueduct under Rome," Charlie says, noting that an ancient church was found under two buildings.
"But it was really the picture -- hundreds and hundreds of skulls and three monks," Quinn says of what ignited his imagination.
"They had complete monk skulls still in their robes, and they were attached to the walls," Charlie says. "There was no way to get to it except through the ancient sewer system.
"Quinn and I went for a hike down the road, and on the way home, he suddenly stopped and said, 'Oh my god! I've got a great idea!' "
They went home and Quinn sat down at a laptop and wrote his first chapter.
Sometimes he would go two months without writing. "But I always thought about my book," he says. "I always thought about where it was going."
"Sometimes, if a month had gone by, I would prod him a bit," Charlie says. "I'd say, 'Hey, are you ever going to finish that book?' And he'd say, 'I'm stuck.' And we'd sit down and talk about it a bit."
With four self-published books to his name, Charlie probably served as an inspiration to Quinn for finishing his book. But what Quinn seems most proud of is designing the cover for his book.
He can see himself doing graphic design when he's older -- and maybe even writing.
Catherine Wright is a homeschool mom who lives in Hillsborough. Write to her at catherine.wright@gmail.com.
2008 The Chapel Hill News


Maria said...

This is GREAT! Thanks for sharing. It's an inspiration to ms. d.

Also wanted to mention I loved the link on the sidebar that talks about the numbers on the fruit! Excellent.

And I was happy to hear about your eggs finding a good home this year!


Mommylion said...

I love that story. What a neat kid!