Not many people can say that they published two books before they graduated high school. But Dallas Woodburn can say that. In fifth grade she published her first book, There’s a Huge Pimple on my Nose and by the time she graduated high school she published her second, 3 a.m., which is a collection of award winning short stories. Dallas graduated from USC last year and she just began graduate school at Purdue. She will be publishing another book in the next year which will be a compilation of short stories and poems written by over 65 teens from around the country.
I read 3 a.m. this week and I have to admit, I found myself surprised. I realized what an assumption we often make regarding young authors; that their vocabulary may not be as impressive or that the plot may not be as well developed. But as I read, I felt like I was reading an accomplished adult author’s work, not an “high schooler’s”. Dallas proved to me that good writing can come from any age; this was especially encouraging because I am writing my own book right now.
3 a.m. didn’t always have happy endings. This is what made the stories so perplexing and so page turning. I have to say though that my favorite piece was the last, “A Real Beauty”, which was a memoir of her relationship with her grandfather and her late grandmother, Auden. Because I know Dallas, I have heard about her special relationship with “Gramps” and how much he loved his wife, even putting her sweater under his pillow because “it smells faintly of her perfume.” It was so touching to have a peek into Dallas’ special bond with her grandpa and it motivated me to grow closer with my grandparents.
I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, which you can buy here. I hope that you’ll not only enjoy Dallas’ labor of love but that you’ll also be inspired to pursue one of your own personal dreams—no matter how old you are.