The Girl with the Gift: Ten-year-old CDO writer publishes fantasy-adventure book
By Angelo Lorenzo
Ten-year-old writer Bettina Reika A. Namoco from Cagayan de Oro City released her debut book, The Girl with the Gift in December 2022.
The book, which Namoco wrote in a span of three months, follows the fantastical adventure of a teenager with magical abilities who goes on a quest to rescue lost children from an evil antagonist.
In January 2023, the book received recognition and critical acclaim from local readers and prominent writers.
Inspiration amidst the pandemic
“I read a lot of adventure books during the pandemic,” Namoco said, sharing her inspiration. “I also watched shows like Stranger Things.”(Namoco signs copies of the book. As a homeschooler, Namoco takes every chance to learn new skills and uses her talents to produce creative projects.)
As a student of the Catholic Filipino Academy Homeschool (CFAH), Namoco utilized most of her time by learning, applying what she learned from her studies, and putting her ideas into good use.
She pitched the concept to CFAH’s extracurricular group, The Book Writers’ Club (BWC) in August 2022. The group is composed of CFAH students who are passionate about reading. After receiving approval from the BWC editors, Namoco started writing the manuscript with the help of her mother.
They completed the final draft in November 2022 and submitted it to the editors.
“It is a story about family and friendship,” Namoco reflected, explaining how the book is relatable to children her age and how it can inspire them to appreciate the value found in family and friends.
“Bettina is enjoying every learning opportunity,” Rhoda Namoco, the author’s mother, said. “Being homeschooled, she mostly spends her time at home.”
(Ten-year-old writer Bettina Reika A. Namoco publishes her first book, a rare but special achievement for children her age.)
“During her free time,” she added, “Bettina continues to learn to play the violin. She bakes new recipes she finds online, makes her own tea, and conducts science experiments.”
While completing a book is a major milestone and accomplishment for children her age, Namoco’s creativity expands to other crafts.(A month after its release, The Girl with the Gift reached critical acclaim from prominent writers and popularity among local readers.)
According to her mother, Namoco is also fond of drawing and painting.
“If it makes you happy, then just do it!” Namoco said.
Commendations and future collaboration
Namoco is planning to collaborate with her best friend as the illustrator for the book’s potential sequel, which they estimate to be launched before the year ends.(The Girl with the Gift follows the quest of a teenager who possesses powers to rescue missing children.)
As readers are waiting for the second book, the current literary work has received critical acclaim from renowned writers.
CFAH founder Bo Sanchez, who is also a best-selling author of Christian-themed books, encouraged Namoco in a blurb found on the book’s back-end cover: “Continue to write more awesome stories and use the talent that God has given you.”
Meanwhile, CDO-based writer and Palanca Award recipient Ma. Elena Paula praised the juvenile writer for her style: “The merging of fantasy and reality, the use of words in a book within a book is a stellar exercise of the imagination and writing skills of this young author.”
With the support of her parents and CFAH, Namoco continues to develop her talents and discover new skills with her creative hobbies.
“Allow them to explore the world with guidance,” Namoco’s mother said in her advice to parents who are raising creative children.
Readers can purchase copies of The Girl with the Gift online.