Gifted Tween Sisters Write & Publish Debut Novels, And Promote Passion For Literacy

We will say this until we can speak no more: representation matters! And while we have seen a concerted push toward seeing more women and minorities on company boards, in legislatures, in production positions and an array of leadership roles that have the power to change the status quo, we also need more youth voices to disrupt the existing models.

We have covered numerous stories of teens, tweens, college students and more who have empowered themselves to raise their voice and show the world that age should not be a barrier to greatness in any sense of the word. This can certainly be said about tween sisters from Northampton, UK, Kirsten, 12, and Aiyven Mbawa, 11.

The girls grew up with a love of reading and writing, instilled by their grandfather when they were very young. Hailing originally from Cameroon, he passed on his own love of literacy to his daughter, the girls’ mother) and today the sisters have built their own budding literacy brand where they review books on their Youtube Channel for teens and kids, and most recently with the release of books both of them have written and published via a successful Kickstarter campaign early in 2020 (note: Aiyven was 10 at the time the campaign was launched, she turned 11 in April 2020).

‘Sagas Of Anya’ by Kirsten is a work of historical fiction depicting a heart-breaking Victorian day tale which follows Anya from Cardiff to a life of drudgery in London.  Anya is 12 when mother dies. Her cosy life upends as life goes on a downward spiral. After 2 years of watching her father and her perfect life fade away, she has little choice but to head to London to be a maid at the impressive Tippets House working for the nasty Mrs. Axton. Told from a child’s perspective, it charts the courageous journey of a motherless daughter beyond death and grief to become a strong, determined and independent survivor.  

‘Land Of the Nurogons’ by Aiyven is a gripping fantasy adventure undertaken by 4 “ordinary” teenagers to save the world they fell into & have come to love. Through the eyes of Hayden, Canada, Rodger & Mae, you will experience the highs and lows of the quests they go on with the help of the Nurogons & Lord Nurogi to save Nurogonia. When you get to tuck into the book, you’ll find friendship, loyalty, bravery and teamwork are central to this story. 

Author Kirsten Mbawa

The idea for the books first came about when their nanny encouraged them to enter the BBC 500 Words competition in early 2019.

“We entered the main idea for these stories but unfortunately, we didn’t get a favorable reply. ‘Land Of The Nurogons’ is inspired by Rick Riordan, one of Aiyven’s favorite authors. ‘Sagas Of Anya’ is loosely based on our mum as our maternal grandma sadly passed away when our mum was quite young too,” they explained on the Kickstarter campaign page.

“Even though we didn’t win, Mum and Dad encouraged us to carry on with our books, so we turned them into tens of thousands of words…We think by achieving our dream of becoming published authors, we will add more diversity to the community of writers because these stories for children & young people are being told & written by young people,” they continued.

As true representatives of Generation Z, Kirsten and Aiyven are utilizing the power of digital media to create content they are passionate about and share their messages with others. With the explosion of the popularity of Youtubers and digital content creators and influencers, it’s clear that the traditional model of “celebrity” or public figures are being disrupted in a big way. Teens and tweens want to hear from each other and be inspired by people in their own generation.

Author Aiyven Mbawa

The sisters were recently featured on BBC Look East and BBC Radio, sharing about their successful campaign where they managed to raise £5,563 (roughly $6,946 USD) in total and books are now available to purchase via the website.

The books can be shipped worldwide, and we want to encourage readers to support these talented siblings as we especially aim to amplify the voices and work of women (of all ages!) of color globally. Subscribe to their Youtube Channel, and check out one of their book review videos below where they talk about ‘Hair Love’ by Matthew A. Cherry (who won an Oscar for his short film based on the book) and ‘Philly & Friends: What Do I See in the Mirror?’ by Vese Aghoghovbia Aladewolu.

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