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“It’s okay to be different”: Young author hopes to inspire others

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 8:11 AM EST
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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) - When students at St. Patricks School were sent home to due to the pandemic, 8th grader Reina Bartholomew picked up an interesting quarantine project.

She finished writing her book, I am Different, which follows a girl name Tulie who embraces being different and encourages others to do the same.

Bartholomew said the character is made up, but is based on her own experiences.

“The most important part is the message that it’s okay to stand out and you don’t have to fit in,” said Bartholomew. “I felt that it was important with quarantine and Black Lives Matter that I shared this message.”

With her message, she hopes to inspire elementary and middle school students to be themselves.

“It lets me know that they’ll keep this in mind, even if they read this when they were little it’s kind of something that could stay with them for the rest of their life,” Bartholomew.

To further her message, she has already started a website for her book and has gone to several schools across Alachua County to drop off copies to be added to the libraries.

Her mother Makyba Charles-Ayinde said she’s beyond proud of her daughter.

With Black Lives Matter movement she felt really strongly that it was time to promote this message that it’s okay to be different and people should be excepting of others, said Charles-Ayinde. “We’re really looking forward to see what she’ll do next.”

As far as what’s next for Bartholomew, she said she’s heading into a new chapter as she works on writing her magic fantasy book aimed for an older audience.

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