By Zach Armstrong
DINWIDDIE, Va -- Dinwiddie native, sophomore at Appomattox Governor’s School and author Alexandria Rhodes had her poem “Dear Young Black Child” published in Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul 25th Anniversary.
Rhodes’ poem acts as a letter to children who don't feel seen or represented and feel like their voice doesn’t have an impact. Rhodes wants her work to act as a voice of hope for a younger generation.
"It was really a collection of things that inspired the poem from personal experiences and things I was seeing around the summer last year with protests. I just wanted to react to it with having so much on my mind and I wanted to get it out of my head onto paper,” said Rhodes.
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul is part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series which consists of inspirational true stories about people's lives with the intention to alter the reader's perspective on topics. The Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC publishes about a dozen books a year.
Rhodes originally submitted “Dear Young Black Child '' to the black history edition of the series and got rejected. Then, months later, she received an email saying her poem made it to the final round of judging for the teenage submissions to the 25th anniversary of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.
The accomplishment meant so much to Rhodes who can't remember a time when she wasn’t writing; whether it was about her thoughts, ideas, or dreams. Growing up, her writing role models included Percy Jackson, Ray Bradburry and Jenny Han. Now her work has blossomed into something structured and professional.
“It was my first publication so it was definitely a shock, I was astounded, I was so grateful and proud of myself. It was also surreal, like ‘No way I just got published in a book people can and will read,” said Rhodes. “[Writing] is a kind of way to get my thoughts onto paper. I can invite a different view of our world into something people can read and react to and I love that,”
Even if it doesn’t become a career, Rhodes says she will always continue to write even if it remains a side hobby. Rhodes also says she has a few ideas in the works for a potential novel.
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul 25th Anniversary Edition can be purchased at Amazon.com in addition to any bookstore and other book retail websites.