After trying to find a way to make new friends in a new town and school, MayaVan Wagenen is probably the best known teen in town!
When Maya and her family moved to a new Texas town she was going into the eighth grade.She wanted to fit in and make a name for herself. She picked up a copy of Mary Cornell’s Glamour Guide for Teens, written in the fifties, and the rest is almost history! She began keeping a journal to document the success (or lack of) of her experiments. Maya was thirteen at the time. She stuck to it for a year.
The advice was sometimes a little out of date, wear white gloves, use a string of pearls as a fashion accessory, a girdle can be a girl’s best friend. But there was also timeless advice to be found: be open and honest, be kind, other kids can have same insecurities. She started to feel like she belonged.
A year later, Maya took her journal and wrote it into a manuscript. , Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” After a publishing bidding war, Maya sold that and complementary book idea to Dutton Penguin House for a cool $300,000. Not bad for a fifteen year old’s first book! The book will be published in 2014.
Julie Strauss-Gabel, vice-president of Dutton Children’s Books is excited to work with Maya, saying that “Maya is not only a strong teen voice, she is a standout writer of any age.”
But the sweetest part of this story is that long-time assistant of Steven Spielberg, Macosko Krieger was so taken by Van Wagenen’s story, she championed it to her boss, which resulted in the movie deal being signed for an undisclosed sum. This makes her the youngest non actor to get a film deal with Dreamworks.
Maya and Betty Cornell met in April of this year. Betty who is now 86, has three daughters . She said she was thrilled by the renewed interest in her book.
Remarkably, all of the attention hasn’t gone to Maya’s head. She now lives in rural Georgia and still shares a room with her younger sixth grader brother.
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