Nestled on the library shelves, a colourful cover catches the eye.
Like it’s literary neighbours, it looks like a good read, but unlike the others, this book has been written by a ten-year old Blenheim girl.
Even more impressively, English is not her first language.
With a talent for creative writing, up-and-coming author Sayu Weerasinghe has published her first book.
The St Mary’s School pupil says she has always been a keen writer.
“I’ve always loved writing and reading, ever since I first went to the library when I was about 6-years-old.
“My dad gave me the idea for the book and encouraged me to write it.
“I didn’t have time to so any at school, so I wrote after school and it took about 9 months to finish,” she says.
The Coral Kingdom is a magical adventure story, full of colourful characters and exciting twists and turns.
The main character, Molly is whisked away to an unfamiliar land called the Coral Kingdom when her grandmother’s dog finds a glowing shell on the beach.
Sayu is proud of the self-published work which she says wouldn’t have been possible without all the support and encouragement she had from her mum, dad, and teachers at St Maries School.
She also credits her English teacher in Sri Lanka for her support, reading and editing the draft and her daughter Serene Palleyagedara for her wonderful illustration on the book cover.
“I would like to write a series,” she says.
“I’ve already got ideas where to go next and when I’m older I would like to get a job and write stories in my spare time”.
When I told friends at school, I don’t think some believed me at first but when they saw it, they started asking me for autographs”.
Born in Sri Lanka, Sayu first moved to Nelson where her mother studied at NMIT to become a chartered accountant.
The family moved to Blenheim four years ago.
But learning a new language was no problem for Sayu who learnt English while living overseas.
“I was lucky,” she says.
Every teacher who has taught Sayu has been given a copy as well as Marlborough District Library where the book can be borrowed.
But for those wanting their own copies, Sayu’s debut book is available for $15 New Zealand dollars online.
“I used everything I know about writing in this book but never thought I’d have a book.
“It was so exciting when the book arrived, and I saw my name on it.”
The book can be ordered through www.lulu.com/spotlight/sayumdee