Losing a parent at any age is difficult. When AF Voyager Middle seventh-grader Jahzir lost his dad at age 5, he wasn’t sure how to cope with his devastating loss. With the help of his mom and school, Jahzir put his feelings to paper and authored and published a book called A Better Tomorrow. We recently spoke to Jahzir to learn more about him and his book.
Tell us about yourself! What are your favorite hobbies? What is your favorite subject in school and why?
My name is Jahzir, and I’m 13 years old from Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I’m a young entrepreneur and have a clothing brand called Jahs World. I also have a book called A Better Tomorrow. My favorite hobbies are playing basketball, hanging out with my friends and family, and playing video games. My favorite basketball team is the Brooklyn Nets, and my favorite subject in school is history because I can learn about what happened before my time.
Why did you decide to write a book? What was the hardest part, and how did you overcome that?
When I was five years old, I lost my dad to gun violence and it was really hard. I decided to write a book because I wanted to help kids, like myself, who are also grieving. The hardest part was the grieving process; it was really emotional. My mom has been my biggest encouragement and support. I have not overcome grieving—I am still coping.
What would you like to tell other kids who’ve lost a loved one?
I would like to tell other kids that their loved ones will always be with them, in their hearts. And to always try your best to make them proud.
How does it feel to be a published author at such a young age? What’s next in your life?
Being a young author feels great because I know other kids don’t have the support and confidence to go this far and, hopefully, I can encourage them to do whatever it is they want to do. I want to write another book about my journey one day, too. I’m also looking to get into a great college with a great offer—hopefully at the University of Oregon, or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
And lastly, what’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It’s a really funny book, and I like the movie they made about it.