After a stint of summer fun and blazing hot weather, school is finally back in session in Maryland. Rianna Facey, a nine-year-old Baltimore native is among students who have settled back into a school routine just after Labor Day.
Rianna’s summer was full of memorable opportunities that could easily last a lifetime. She spent her time away from schoolbooks raising her voice as a young writer who appeared at Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Forest Park Branch in Baltimore City for an author talk. She also traveled to Chicago and Nashville to promote her book, “The Cat That Wouldn’t Go Away.”
Since becoming an author, Rianna has been circulating near and far to discuss and sell her book that is based on a cat that showed up out of nowhere and befriended her, during some rough times in her life. The fourth grader is headed to Toronto, Canada later this month. Her next local stop will be at the Baltimore Book Festival on Friday, September 28, 2018, at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore City.
“The most exciting thing that happened to me was the trip to Chicago,” Rianna said. “I wrote the “Cat That Wouldn’t Go Away” because a cat showed up on my porch one day. I faced bullying at school. Classmates and older students talked about my hair.”
Rianna’s mother Tywanna Gardner explained that Rianna began to experience bullying in the spring of 2017, a few months before she started writing the book. Gardner said that other girls who opted to wear hair weaves reportedly teased her daughter about her natural hairstyles. Boys would tell Rianna to get her hair done and her shoes and clothes were also additional topics of conversation.
When Rianna told adults at school about what was happening to her, the other students accused her of being a tattletale. Even though she knows that informing teachers was the right thing to do, episodes of bullying worsened.
“The most difficult part of Rianna’s journey was to overcome bullying in school. She felt like no one wanted to be her friend. Every day she would talk about how children at school would treat her. She complained that they didn’t want to talk to her or play with her.”
And then a cat showed up at their door — perfect timing—Rianna finally felt as though she had a friend. Although Rianna noticed that her classmates seemed to like her better when her hair was straightened, she decided not to resolve the situation by changing her hairstyle.
Rianna began to write stories regularly and share them with her mother, who then encouraged her to pen a tale about the cat that would not go away. Rianna took action and went a step further. While doing a homework assignment, she stumbled upon a publisher online. After a while things were set in motion and Rianna became the author of The Cat that Wouldn’t Go Away and her mother became the co-author. It turns out that the cat and Rianna had much in common. The cat needed a friend because he had also experienced bullying by other cats who would fight him and eat his food.
“I have observed personal growth in Rianna since she became an author. She feels a lot more confident now that she knows that people are interested in what she has to say. She has grown into a confident young lady that no longer complains about children not wanting to be her friend. She loves to talk about her book and other experiences,” Garnder said. “What makes me most proud of my daughter is her confidence in life and attempts to reach her goals. She loves to communicate with people of all ages and help others.”
The industrious young lady has already written other books, among which is a handbook about bullying and is waiting to get them published. “I wrote a book about coping with bullying, because I want to help other kids that are [being] bullied,” Rianna said. “I want to remind other kids that they should be themselves and not change for bullies.”
To learn more about Rianna’s journey or to purchase a copy of her book, visit www.thecatthatwouldntgoaway.com.