UA student publishes children's book series at 11
Sydney Kramer published her first book series at the age of 11.
Currently a UA freshman, Kramer is working toward obtaining her bachelor’s degree in the School of Theatre, Film and Televison. She said her experience writing has shaped her perspective and furthered her confidence.
“When I held my first published book for the first time, honestly, I was pretty nervous and scared,” Kramer said. “My books have since helped me to gain more confidence and to have better self-esteem, courage, and faith in myself as well as the people around me.”
Kramer grew up in Downingtown, Pa. and she was around 10 years old when she first began writing children’s books. Growing up, she was inspired by her father, also a writer. He asked her if she wanted to write her first book her fourth grade year.
“He always gives me new ideas and is always there to help me when I am stuck on one of my books,” Kramer said about her father. “My family has always been supportive of me.”
With her family’s support, Kramer said she was inspired to delve deeper into her own world of writing. The result: five beginning children’s mysteries on the shelves and in stores, the most recent published in the winter of 2011.
“Sydney loves kids, and that was, in part, what motivated her to write books for them very early on,” said Allison Huff Macpherson, Sydney’s aunt and a UA director for education and outreach. “Not only did she do a favor to many children out there by writing these great books, but she also did a favor to herself. Her creativity helps her to be resourceful to solve problems.”
To explore her creativity, Kramer drew inspiration from newspapers, topics in class, her family background, and vacation destinations. She also reflected on the stories she read as a young girl.
“Nearly all of the books I read were about making people happy and telling people that dreams can come true when they grow up,” Kramer said. “But when you grow up, you start second guessing and questioning if there is such a thing as a happy ending or if you will able to achieve what you have always wanted.”
Kramer said she worked to create stories that eliminated this doubt by reminding children between the ages five and 10, her target audience, of the vivacious and energetic nature of youth.
As a young girl, Kramer thought of writing as a way to earn extra money. However, her new hobby became more than just a pastime.
Kramer reminisced of the moment her father informed her that “The Case of the Stolen Prom Dresses,” the first in the “Cookie Dalmatian” series, would be published.
“I was very excited and had big things planned for my character, Cookie. I hoped that maybe he would become a classic and memorable literary figure and maybe even star in his own movie or television show,” she said.
As media attention and excitement surrounding Cookie heightened, Kramer’s books became more well-known outside the borders of Downingtown. Her books spread, not only across the nation, but to other countries around the world, such as Panama, England, Canada, and Luxembourg. The “Cookie Dalmatian” series was also featured on an episode of the Primetime Emmy Award winning Fox TV series, “House.” Kramer was then featured in Canadian author Peter Kuitenbrouwer’s book, “7 Secrets of Highly Successful Kids.”
Kramer said that as the books disappeared from the shelves, her social, academic, and personal confidence seemed to rise with each new sale.
“Moving from Pennsylvania all the way to Arizona was a huge change for me,” Kramer said. “The skills and insight that I gained throughout my writing career helped me to adjust to my new environment.”
Since beginning her first year at the UA, Kramer has gotten involved in the theatre program, joined Hillel, a Jewish organization on campus, and is considering joining a sorority this spring.
“Since Sydney became a young author, her sense of self has really been strengthened,” Macpherson said. “Her confidence has no bounds and it’s enabled her to develop some very important leadership characteristics, such as initiative and determination … She doesn’t give up.”
Feeling her own sense of accomplishment and involvement over the years inspired Kramer to help others to access this same sense of self-fulfillment. With the publication of each book, Kramer chose a new illustrator, in the hopes of, “giving someone their big break.”
While Kramer tries to lift up others within the industry, she said she is aware of the pressures of competition that exist around her.
“The nerve racking part is that you have competition out there with other children’s authors and writers in general,” she said. “It is scary not knowing if children will want to read my books or even enjoy them.”
Kramer said she recognizes the insecurities that follow those trying to reach their dreams. She offered encouragement to Arizona students who may be hesitant to pursue their own goals.
“If you have a unique talent that you want to pursue, don’t hold back. Catch it and embrace it,” she said, “Life is one big act. You never know when the curtain will rise and when the curtain will fall. Seize every moment.”