"I like to read a lot," says fourth grader Kani Green, sitting in the library at Walker Jones Education Campus. "I like to create my own stories, and I like to see them come to life." He leans back in his chair, his trademark dreadlocks hanging in front of his face while he talks. Kani has worked with YPT through Walker Jones’ Gifted and Talented Program since last year, but his interest in writing started even earlier.
A few years ago, Kani was inspired after reading a mystery book. "That’s when I started wanting to make up my own stories," Kani says. So when a YPT teaching artist came into his classroom in 2010 and said every student in the class would be writing an original play, Kani was ready. "YPT really lets me use my creativity," he says with a smile. "My favorite class was the day when I first thought of Peppy."
That’s Peppy the Spicy Pepper of Justice, a detective who is desperately trying to catch an evil pickle named Sammy. Sammy has kidnapped and hidden Peppy’s one true love, Penny the Strawberry. In the end, Sammy escapes, but not before Peppy saves Penny and asks her to marry him.
When asked how he came up with such unique characters for his play, Kani explains, "I was watching this show that made vegetables come to life in a Western. So I wanted to make a story like that, but with a detective."
"When people see my play, I hope they feel like it was funny," he says. "I put a lot of work into it, and I like it."
"I also hope they see how intense Peppy felt about catching Sammy," he adds with a laugh.
When Kani grows up, he hopes to be a veterinarian. "I love working with animals, and helping other things that can’t help themselves," he explains. His writing career isn’t over, however. "There’s going to be a second part of my play," he says with a sly grin. "Where Sammy comes back!"
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