Three years ago, Riyani Patel, an Indian American student from the San Francisco Bay Area, Calif., wrote her first book. In August this year, the 15-year-old will be releasing her second book. But what’s unique about these books is that Patel uses her writing skills as a tool against difficult social issues.
Her new book, “The ‘Terrible’ Bullies,” which raises awareness about school bullying, will be nationally published by the Washington, D.C.-based Mascot Books.
“She wants to be an inspiration to other kids, helping them deal with this very sensitive issue in our society,” her father, Yogesh Patel, told India-West. “Riyani was bullied herself stemming from her tics and Tourette’s Syndrome which she was diagnosed at the age of 7.”
Riyani’s first book, “The Boy Battle,” was an inspirational story about strength, resilience, courage and love. Patel infused her personal struggles with having this illness in a middle school environment into her main character Tanya Weeks.
After the book came out, Riyani received several honors, including being named the youth ambassador for the Tourette Association of America. The Association of Indo-Americans also honored her with the Youth Achiever Award. She also shared her experiences and inspired many as a guest on several local TV and radio stations.
She also received a shout out as a “local everyday hero” from the Heroic Imagination Project after which Riyani said: “I wrote this book to educate people so that kids who have TS can’t be picked or bullied on…My goal is to make people proud of who they are.”
“The ‘Terrible’ Bullies” picks up where the “Boy Battle” left off. It finds the three main characters — Tanya, Jake and Diamond — teaming up together to stop the new bullies in high school. As the trio begin their freshman year at Bridge Bank High, they want to do the right thing to stop bullying. Despite their best efforts, drama and clashes between the trio, the bullies, and the school principal ensue. Will they be able to stand up to the “terrible” bullies, or perhaps reveal a bigger lesson to be learned by all?