Many children express the desire to be doctors, teachers and lawyers when they grow up, but not Kanton Hardy.
Since the age of eight, he was determined to become an author, after being influenced by his passion for reading books.
The initial shock to his parents at this unconventional dream at such a young age, has turned into a powerhouse of support.
After winning his parents over, Kanton has published his debut book, The Adventures of Goober: The Alien from Mars.
The author, now 10 years old, tells the story of a being who causes unhappiness on his original planet by leaving and risking his life crashing to earth.
The 67-page book has received praise from teachers at his Meadowbrook Preparatory School, and in the wider education sector.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Grace McLean, says the parents must be commended for giving Kanton “the opportunity to write this book”.
“It was way beyond and above his years. It was something spectacular. It was God Almighty behind this”— Tavia Bell-Hardy, Kanton’s mother
During a recent visit to the Ministry at Heroes Circle in Kingston, Dr. McLean told the author that, “you are way ahead for you to sit down and actually capture, just by your own little experience, what you have seen, and what you have read about. It is really good and commendable”.
The Acting Permanent Secretary said that his career as a writer has just begun, and the Ministry will review the book and seek to endorse it. Thereafter, they will make arrangements to supply it to schools as “an encouragement to other youngsters who want to do the same thing, but may not feel that they have the talent and the capability to do so,” she said.
Kanton’s mother, Tavia Bell-Hardy, says it was thought the book would have been “simplistic”, but watching him writing from beginning to the end, they cried, as she and his father, O’Neill Hardy, were amazed”.
“It was way beyond and above his years. It was something spectacular. It was God Almighty behind this,” said Mrs Bell-Hardy.
She adds that they are unable to keep up with supplying books to their son, as he reads very quickly, and while they and the teachers at his school have played their part in his development, a higher power is involved in steering him. “It is just for us to do what we have to do to foster his talent,” she says.
Principal at the school, Gloria Francis, says that from very early, Kanton would read a lot of books and share them with his friends, and was not “afraid to take his books to show me, and ask for others to read”.
She says that Kanton publishing a book is very motivating to the students at the institution, and he has the “full support” of the school.
“Kanton’s success is a success of the school, and we are extremely proud of him. He will continue to motivate the students here,” the Principal says.
Teacher, Angela Wright, says she observed Kanton in grade one writing several pages of schoolwork, when he was only required to write one page, so it was no surprise that he wrote a book.
“He is very assertive and focused,” she shares, adding that her excitement runs high for her former student.
“I have reached here with the support of many people and because I have a true passion for reading. If I can’t get new books, I read over the old ones”— Kanton Hardy, 10-year-old Jamaican author
Another teacher at the school, Norena Braham, says she taught the young author in grade three, and many times while she was teaching the class, she noticed that he had one hand on the desk, while the other hand would be holding a book under the desk that he was reading”.
“Kanton will be going to great heights in his writing,” she says.
The young author’s father says that the family is pleased with the achievement, and they are providing the necessary support to get the book as wide as possible to the public.
“Read books where the characters had to think outside the box, and you will take on those things for the rest of your life”— Kanton Hardy, 10-year-old Jamaican author
Kanton, who plays basketball, and describes himself as having a “passion” for football, says that he gets relaxation from playing with his peers at school, and is happy “when everybody is happy”.
He says a major reason behind him writing the book is to inspire other children to gain the benefits from reading.
“I have reached here with the support of many people and because I have a true passion for reading. If I can’t get new books, I read over the old ones,” Kanton says.
“How much you read will determine the type of person you become. Read books where the characters had to think outside the box, and you will take on those things for the rest of your life,” he says.
The book is available on Amazon and will be at local book outlets very soon.