Maya “Jai” Pinson, 13, author, actor and eighth-grader, lives in Northeast Washington. For her first book, “Back Pack Lilly,” she held a reading and reception at the SweetFrog frozen yogurt shop in Lanham, Md.
You’re 13 and you wrote a book about how to manage your time. What makes you an expert in time management?
I do a lot in my life. I know that sometimes having a jammed schedule can sometimes be tough and hard to manage. I wrote the book to tell people that you should always put your education above everything else. It’s about a dog, Lilly, who promotes studying over playing. The kids in the book love to play and have fun all day, and Lilly knows just what to do to get them to stop playing, do their work and then play.
Is it hard to write a book?
Actually, I love writing, and my mom’s an author, so I guess it comes natural for me. The hardest part for me, if I had to pick, was describing how I wanted the pictures. Because I had so many different ideas, and I had to pick which ones I wanted and the colors. But the writing part was actually pretty easy.
Where did you get the idea for “Back Pack Lilly”?
I originally wrote the book for 4- to 8-year-olds. But then as I started progressing while writing the book, I realized that that message could reach everybody, including adults. When I was a kid I used to love playing. I still do. I realized that you could get farther in life with education than playing. So I realized that I need to make sure I get my studies and reading and work done before I can play with my friends.
Have you always been incredible?
What’s your favorite time of day?
Nighttimes, because I get to sleep.
Do you get to play every day?
Depending on what’s coming up. I manage the cheerleading team for my school. I do basketball, volleyball, acting, making sure I know my scripts, going for auditions and writing a book and practicing the cello and all of that stuff.
What do you do when you feel silly?
I like prank-pulling.
What kind of pranks do you pull?
I prank everybody. I got this pack of fake lottery tickets. One Christmas I was giving them out to my family. I didn’t give them to them at the same time because I didn’t want them to scratch and be like, “We’re all winners?! This can’t be right.” My grandmother, I gave her a $10,000 one, and she believed it and was really excited.
Have any more books in you, you think?
Yes. I’m currently in the beginning stages of my second book, but I don’t want to say too much about it.
Don’t say too much about it! When do you feel young?
When I get to hang out with my friends. Then I’m kind of carefree and can relax and do all of that. With this, you know, in professional mode, I feel like a grown-up and feel really mature.
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