One local student has parlayed her difficult transition in school into a book aimed at helping others. It would be considered a noble and impressive feat by anyone, but considering the author’s age, it is truly remarkable – Ja’laun Lewis is just 5 years old.
Lewis and her mother Alicia Johnson, both Luling residents, are co-authors of the new book “Pre-k just ain’t for me.”
Johnson said the book, which was completed during the pandemic, was inspired by her daughter’s own struggles in school.
“This book is written to let every child know that whatever obstacles you’re faced with, you can overcome them knowing that God won’t give you anything you can’t bear,” she said. “Hopefully this can help another parent going through the same thing with a child who is acting act out and not wanting to go to school.”
Lewis was only able to make strides in the 4-year-old program she was in, Johnson said, when interventions such as counseling and play therapy were put in place after ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder diagnoses.
“I took the stories she told me every day and I put them into a book,” Johnson said. “Please listen to whatever your child is telling you. I would listen every day and I compiled everything and make it a true story … her story.”
Lewis missed a lot of instructional time in her program, Johnson said, and also struggled learning at home because of her undiagnosed conditions and attention seeking behaviors.
“I wanted her to finish the 4-year-old program,” Johnson said. “We really struggled with her not wanting to go to school. I would always encourage her to go to school and the importance of going to school and I wanted to really write this book because she had those challenges.”
Lewis said her favorite part of creating the book was helping to pick out the art that accompanied the story.
“When they sent me the sample, she was so excited,” Johnson said. “She kept saying, “I have my own book!”
Books have been donated to parish school and local public libraries, Johnson said, as well as sold to friends and family members via social media. There are plans to sell more books at local pop-up shops.
Johnson said the duo will continue to co-author books throughout Lewis’ journey at Luling Elementary.
And as for how Lewis is doing so far this school year?
“Kindergarten is fun,” Lewis said. “I like my teacher so much because when I do something good she gives me a green sticker.”