Writer Adaeze Ogechi Ugwu is enjoying the accomplishment of being a published writer
Her first book, “The Duck Who Thought It Couldn’t Swim”, was published last year before her 10th birthday by AuthorHouse, an international self-publishing company.
Ugwu is the publisher’s youngest author.
The book was born in 2015, when the then seven-year-old Ugwu was struggling to swim.
“I was learning how to do the backstroke and I just couldn’t do it. It was harder than freestyle swimming. You have to keep your face above water, but the water still splashes on you. I didn’t like the feeling of water on my face. I kept thinking I was going to drown. It was scary,” she recalled.
Ugwu took up her pen, paper and coloured pencils to express her feelings, and two months later, she had completed writing and illustrating “The Duck Who Thought It Couldn’t Swim”.
The story tells the uplifting tale of Fluffy, an adorable duck who has to find the courage to swim after having ducklings.
“The moral of the story is that courage beats the fear. I overcame my own fears while swimming and now the backstroke is my favourite swimming style. I wanted to encourage people to do the same,” she said.
Ugwu’s family are her biggest cheerleaders. Her parents, Phindile and Emeka, and younger brothers Okwy and Ugo, are passionate readers and love her book. They support and advise her on her writing.
Ugwu’s parents considered laminating the book for her to keep as a memory, but knew the story’s motivational message had to be shared. Phindile approached the publishing company, who also saw the book’s potential.
The soft-spoken Ugwu was excited when she received the first copies of the book.
“I was happy but confused, because I never thought it would happen. At school, my principal was so excited and everyone congratulated me. The book was showcased at Book Week and there are copies of it in the school library. It’s nice knowing that people like my book.”
The book has already been showcased at book fairs in Germany, New York, Mexico, China and England. Ugwu has also donated her book to charities and a public library in Barberton, Mpumalanga.
Affectionately known as Ada, Ugwu is a reader and writer at heart.
“I am always with pen and paper in my room, writing and thinking up new stories. Anything and everything around me is inspiration. I go out into the garden, I look at the birds and my dog, and when I know what I want to say, I focus, sit down and write and draw.”
Ugwu, who is a Nancy Drew fan, encouraged people to read.
“It is important for children to read. It helps develop your thinking, your knowledge of words and writing, and it helps you with your homework. Reading for pleasure is wonderful. Your personality grows when you read.”
-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.