“In fifth grade, I struggled with a newly diagnosed life-threatening peanut allergy, the resulting anxiety, and for good measure, an appendectomy. During that rough year, writing was the creative outlet I needed and became the catalyst for the adventure of a lifetime.
“I decided I wanted to write a story that I, as an avid reader, would love to read. I molded my favorite genres into one idea, creating the Stone of Discedo: a time-traveling stone that requires the user to fix three terrible events in history to access its power. I did hours of research to send my characters on their adventures, and hundreds more perfecting the story.
“Once I finished, I wanted to publish it. Some kids laughed, some believed I could do it. Their doubt became fuel to my fire: I promised myself I’d make it happen — whether it took ten years or 10,000 rejections. I spent three-and-a-half years rewriting and editing. Finally, at 14, I signed a book contract. I have since released two novels, One Chance and Two Secrets (with Three Quests on the way), and a book for kids with anxiety called Cloudy Days.
“I’ve spoken to over 5,000 kids from dozens of schools, from every background imaginable. My presentation resonates with each kid differently: Some come up after my talk and tell me they’re going to write a book. Others tell me I inspired them to work harder on their hobby, or that they’re going to start reading more. Teachers have told me that for some kids, my books are the only chapter books they’ll read, or that after my presentation, their students can’t stop writing stories.
“If I could tell fifth grade Sarah that by pursuing her dreams, she’d get to speak to thousands of kids and inspire them too, she wouldn’t believe me. Each experience reminds me that I am the role model I’ve always wanted to be — and that all the hard work was undeniably worth it.” — Sarah Frank, Brown University ‘25
Sarah Frank is a 2021 recipient of the Handeli First-Year Student Scholarship from Hillel International. Learn more about Hillel scholarships for Jewish students.