Zaila Avant-garde, the Louisiana native who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee at age 14 in 2021, can now add author to her impressive resume.
PEOPLE reports that Avant-garde will release two brand new books for Random House Children’s Books. Her first book, the nonfiction title “It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome in Life,” will be released on May 2. The second is a picture book titled, “Words of Wonder from Z to A,” is set to be released on June 27.
“I’m extremely excited to have my first books published, and I’m especially happy that they are for kids,” she shared in a press release. “As a child who knew my favorite books by heart, I know firsthand the joy that a good book can bring,” she told PEOPLE.
“It’s Not Bragging If It’s True” is for readers ages 8 to 12 and features several personal anecdotes that illustrate how the teenager has accomplished so much at her young age.
The book was written in collaboration with author Marti Dumas. As a young author, Avant-garde says she hopes her book “will motivate and uplift other kids who are pursuing their dreams.”
In “Words of Wonder from Z to A,” the spelling champ uses some of her favorite motivational words — including kindness, hope and resilience — to create her inspiring piece of work. The book features some special quotes from a famous thought leader on every page.
“These books are for the readers who have their favorite stories memorized forward and backward and dare their parents not to read to them at bedtime (like me),” the teenage phenom said in a press release.
“But they are most of all dedicated to the kids who are nervous about picking up a book and reading it, who don’t read them simply because they think they are not good at it. I’m here to say you can do it too,” she added.
Before becoming an author, she rose to fame at age 14 as the first Black American winner of Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2021. Avant-garde was also named SportsKid of the Year by Sports Illustrated Kids and won the Stan Musial Award for Extraordinary Character in 2021.
Now 16, she says she wants to play college basketball and one day coach in the NBA. The award-winning teen is also interested in neuroscience, forensics and molecular biology.
In regards to her writing career, she notes, “If you told me ten years ago that I would be writing books of my own, I wouldn’t have believed it. This is such an incredible feeling.”