BROOKFIELD — Zion (8) and Zephaniah (12) Singh Ponder aren't even teenagers yet, but they are published authors. The brothers from Brookfield released their first book earlier this year, "Selah's Bridge," a young children’s chapter book.
"I think my favorite park was producing it and bringing it out into the world," Zephaniah said.
The idea for the book came during a family vacation in 2019. But Zion will be the first to tell you that writing it was no vacation.
"We had to do some designing, vision and we had to figure out an editor, which took a while and a whole bunch of other stuff," Zion said.
His advice to other aspiring young authors?
"Don't give up and also make a schedule!" he said.
The book itself is about two friends, Ami and Selah. The two girls look very different and live on opposite sides of the river.
But there's a factor trying to keep them apart. Ami's dad won't let her cross the log bridge to the other side of the river, because he thinks it's dangerous and full of criminals. He goes as far as to cut the log that connects the two sides.
The book explores themes of racism, prejudice and how we can all strive to make the world a better place. The book reflects a lot of what we see in the world today.
"I wanted to write the book so that more people would be informed," Zephaniah said.
Zion said he hopes the books helps kids and adults "try to think about other people's feelings, and not just yours."
And Zephaniah hopes the book inspires change.
"Everyone can make a change in the world, it's just having the dedication to do it," he said.
That dedication is already evident in the Singh Ponder Brothers. They're donating some of the proceeds from the book to businesses that help promote positive images of children of color.
If you want to know if Selah and Ami are able to rebuild the bridge and help Ami's dad see past his biases, you can buy a copy from Story to Tell Books online. There, you can also find more children's books focused on diversity and inclusion by Zion and Zephaniah's mom, Deanna Singh.
"Selah's Bridge" will also be available on Amazon on March 30.
And keep an eye out for more from Zion and Zephaniah. They plan to make the book into a series.