HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A Harrisburg girl is heading into sixth grade this month with more than textbooks — she has published her own book.

“She is amazing. She’s always been into the arts: drawing, painting, writing, reading,” said Laela Hooper’s mom, Dawn Moccia-Hooper. “She’s always been a reader. She’s been reading since she was very little.”

A competition inspired Laela to start writing her book. The rules were fairly simple: write a prompt, the publisher ReadyAimWriteKids picks the winner, and the winner continues their short story.

Laela won. “We were very pleased she was able to expand on her short story and she was chosen out of all the children to write a book,” Dawn said.

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“I think it is very interesting. It stemmed from this huge universe me and my brothers made. We each have our own separate characters. I made a book about my character,” Laela said.

Titled “The Tale of Alysa,” the story dives into an alternate universe similar to Laela’s everyday life in the city of Harrisburg but, as she puts it, “super futuristic.”

Laela says she is like her character Alysa in some ways, but while Alysa may be more private, “I’m very blunt,” Laela said. It’s a trait Laela’s parents hope they instilled in her, along with the determination to accomplish her goals.

“I’d like to think I played a part, but in the very end, she still has to go out and do the work,” John Moccia-Hooper, Laela’s dad, said. “In all of our children, we always encourage creativity, but you have to do it yourself.”

And that’s what Laela did, even when the work got tough. “Sometimes it kind of felt like a burden, but sometimes it felt like I was so happy I could write this whole book in two hours,” Laela said.

The book launched on May 20, but that’s not the end of Laela’s story. The school bought 300 copies for generations to come, autographed by the author herself.

“Seeing all those kids who were actually excited to read my book, it’s pretty astonishing. I was really surprised,” Laela said.

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While her parents knew the book would be a hit, they hope it can be more than an interesting read.

“On top of her writing the book, being an example to other kids in the school district, and the community who see that and think, ‘Well, if she can do it, so can I.’ I am even more proud if she passes that on to another child,” John said.