We've had the pleasure of working with many inspiring students. Earlier this year we had the priviledge of meeting Jamara, a 5th grader (soon to be middle schooler!), with a passion for writing and all things that RAWK. She's a strong, compassionate young writer who is always inquiring about when the next RAWK workshop is. Over a coffee (really, a slice of cheesecake and an Izze soda), we loved hearing more about Jamara's passion for words, books and writing. You can't walk away uninspired after a sit-down with Jamara. We are confident she's going to do exactly what she sets her mind to in life. She's going to accomplish great things! We're so lucky to know her and to share about her with the RAWK world.
Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce Jamara ...
What was your first workshop experience with RAWK? What did you like about it?: The first one was the play (RAWK Readers' Theater), and that was my favorite one, and after we did it, I wanted to come back the next time. I liked how we got to do our own play from a book that was about Josephine Baker. I liked how we got to play all the parts in the book.
And who did you get to play?: Josephine.
That's fun. What did you like about the journal workshop?: I liked how we got to be creative and make our own journal and use it for whatever we want. We had different types of stuff to make it.
What are you proud of?: My work.
Your schoolwork?: Yeah.
Do you work hard?: Yeah.
That is certainly something to be proud of. Why do you like to write?: I like to write because you get to express your feelings and you get to be creative in it, and you can write in someone else's perspective.
That's always fun, to walk in someone else's shoes for a minute. What's your favorite book?: Home of the Brave (by Katherine Applegate).
What's that about?: It's about an African refugee who's in foster care and his brother and his dad die so he goes to America and he has a friend, Hannah, and he visits his aunt and his cousin, and he goes to school and he goes to a class called English as a Second Language and that helps him to speak English. My favorite thing about the book is that you get to unravel all of the clues about what everything is called, because he calls them what he thinks they are, like, he calls an airplane a flying boat.
So over the the course of the book as his English gets better does he use more words?: Yeah, but he starts to feel like he doesn't belong there, and he doesn't like how he has to use words that aren't his.
Did you read that in class this year?: Yeah. The whole class has the book.
We'll have to read it. What would be your spirit animal? What kind of animal represents who you are or how you see yourself?: I don't know. I never thought about it before.
If you could pick a pet, what would you pick for your pet? It could even be a wild animal.: A peacock, I guess.
What do you want to do when you grow up?: I want to go the Olympics.
Whoa, the Olympics! For what?: A track event.
Are you a runner?: Mm-hmm.
How does running make you feel?: Happy.
Short or long distance?: Both. I like to run at the park, or outside at school, or in gym.
That's cool. If you could see any place in the world, where would you want to see? Any country or city … Maybe Dubai.
Oooh, yeah. What interests you about it? When it's night time the clouds come in over the buildings and it looks like the buildings are taller than the clouds.
If you could live inside a story or a movie, what would you choose?: I don't know, because I've read a lot a books. I might want to be in Smile.
What's that about?: It's a book by Raina Telgemeier. She's in middle school and she gets braces. And everything is hard because she likes a boy. She has these two friends who are mean to her all the time. They're not really her friends, she just hangs out with them. So she has to get braces and she feels like she can't be normal because she has braces.
So you'd want to be her friend?: Yeah.
That's nice. So, who inspires you? Mmmmm, Ms. Killen. (Jamara's classroom teacher.)
What about her inspires you?: She loves words.
Do you love words, too?: Yeah.
Do you like learning new words? I always like that.: Yeah. We really learned a lot this year.
So you're going to be in middle school next year. How do you feel about that?: I'm excited, because it's a new opportunity for me, and I'm learning more things and more complex strategies.
Is there anything you want people who are reading this to know about you? To know Jamara is to know what? What's important about you?: Our class donated books to the mountain children in Vietnam because they don't have teachers or books to read and they're really passionate about reading, so we gave books to them since they didn't have any.
I'm glad you shared that with us so that we can share that with other people, then you'll spreading the word. What else is important about you?: My grades.
What do you look for in a friend?: I have really good friends. They're good friends because they're sharing and they're nice. They stick up for you and they're funny.
That's important. Laughing with your friends is the best.
We also asked Jamara what she is most proud of about herself, to which she immediately replied that her class donated books to mountain children in Vietnam who really want books to read in their tiny schoolhouse but don't have any. You can donate to help defray the shipping cost of the books her class sent here and leave a comment letting us know you're contributing to Jamara's cause. We know Jamara would be grateful!