Dreams have become a reality for writer Isabella Hill as her first book, “Freddie the Penguin,” is published and on its way to becoming a play.
Hill, 14, wrote “Freddie the Penguin,” a book about overcoming bullying and finding creativity within yourself in 2013 as part of a creative writing class taught by Nurture the Creative Mind. Nurture the Creative Mind is a nonprofit organization that offers after-school programs and classes for children 12 to 18 years old.
The classes operate out of the Union Station in downtown Ogden Monday through Friday and focus on a different discipline each day, encouraging creativity. Amir Jackson, founder and director of Nurture the Creative Mind, was so inspired by Hill’s story that he wanted to publish her book.
At the time, publishing a book was just an idea for Jackson, however, “things started to fall into place,” he said.
Jackson met Lauren Crest, illustrator of the book, at a sidewalk sale in downtown Ogden while she was selling prints outside an art gallery. He looked at some of her illustrations and then pitched the idea to her for “Freddie the Penguin.” Crest was thrilled.
“I was excited by the idea of working on a book that was written by a Nurture the Creative Mind student and wanted to help bring her creation to life,” Crest said.
Hill was excited to see her story come to life as Crest finished the illustrations.
“It really made the book whole,” Hill said. The idea to publish Hill’s story has become a tangible product, but it didn’t stop there for Jackson.
“When I see the potential in something, I really want to see it all the way through. The book was a great idea, but once the book was completed, I really wanted to look at how we market the book. How do get people to support and buy the book?,” Jackson said. “The story is a really great story, but how do we tell this story?”
Jackson brainstormed ways to market the book and came up with the idea to turn it into a play.
“That way we can travel to different schools and even if people aren’t purchasing the book, they are hearing the story,” Jackson said. “When I talk about the story, I’m talking about the full story of this young girl who wrote a book.”
Brought together by artists in the community, Jackson and playwright Nicole Finney began to adapt the story into a play. While making minor changes, Finney tried to stay as close to the original story of “Freddie the Penguin,” due to its message.
“It’s a strong message that everyone can relate to. Within the story it’s coming back to yourself and seeing that you don’t have to be like everyone else in order to be accepted,” Finney said. “It’s about being able to find qualities within yourself.”
The play is currently under way with plans for it to be performed at the beginning of next year with Hill as the narrator.
Hill’s dream of being a writer came unexpectedly, but now she has more than her story “Freddie the Penguin” to tell.