By Madison V. Fisler
Dec. 14, 2012. Eight-year-old Madeline Hays likes doing normal kid stuff. She likes to play with her friends, read, and dreams of one day being a pilot. But Madeline has one point on her resume that sets her apart from most grade-schoolers.
When she was five years old, Madeline started to write her first book. Taking her inspiration from the Gambel quails that she saw on early morning walks with her mother in Arizona, she penned a story about a mother Gambel quail and her seven baby chicks and their adventures in the Arizona landscape.
“We would see them every morning and write little notes and portions of the story,” said Madeline.
Three years after she started writing her book at age five, her work is finally published. Today, Madeline goes around to schools in the area and reads her book in classrooms.
“I go around and do readings a lot,” said Madeline. “Yesterday I was in Avery County. I read to kindergarteners, first graders and second graders.”
Madeline says that she gets a lot of questions when she reads to classrooms. Most people cannot believe that she wrote a book at such a young age. One teacher even told her “I thought you would be an adult!”
This book came as a result, also, of her mother’s lifelong dream to write children’s books.
Her father, Dan Hays, says that he is extremely proud to have a child author in the house. To him, getting children to read and love reading at a young age is extremely important.
“I just hope that Madeline will continue to do this for the rest of her life,” said Hays.
“The biggest reason that we are promoting this book is to hopefully get to the parents and help them realize that their kids’ thoughts can turn into a book. The goal is to really focus on them and let them know that they can make the child’s future. It all comes from reading to them. Madeline is an incredible reader. Our number one goal is to get the parents to help the kids.”
But Madeline doesn’t plan to stop at just one book. She also plans to write at least two more Mrs. Gambel books, including a Christmas themed story.
After all the hard work put into this book by the mother-daughter duo, the best part of the process, according to Madeline and her father, was the finished product.
“Holding a book in your hand and seeing the final copy was so gratifying,” said Hays. “It was such a proud moment.”
To share such a proud moment with the community, Madeline and her mother, Summer, will be holding a book signing at the Boone Mall Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Copies of the book will be available at the signing, so children and adults alike will have the opportunity to read a great story and meet the remarkable author as well.
Books are readily available online at their website here, and at local retailers like Tatum Galleries in Banner Elk, Stickboy Bread Co in Boone and The Incredible Toy Company.