Young Adult Lit Author Martina Boone Visits Falls Church

by Karim Doumar for The Falls Church News-Press

No two things have ever fit together better than Martina Boone and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia.

At its annual recognition event on Thursday, June 18, the council recognized the volunteers of the year, gave out community service awards, and heard the winners of the annual essay contest read out their essays which all surrounded the theme: My Hopes and Dreams.

The Literacy Council teaches adults – mostly immigrants – basic skills in reading, writing, speaking and understanding English. Martina Boone, the keynote speaker at the event, is no stranger to the struggles that these people face.

Boone was born in Europe and moved to the United States when she was five. Though she spoke many European languages at the time, she had never learned English. Neither had her parents.
“She [Boone’s mother] was a mathematician, so before she could teach math, she had to speak English.” Boone said. Being five years old, it was easier for Boone.

She had already learned multiple languages and children can pick up languages more quickly. However, her assimilation into the English language did not go without a hitch.

“I vividly remember that in second grade I could not pronounce the ‘wh’ sound because it didn’t exist and I remember that the teacher sort of made fun of me. She mimicked the sound I was making and kids laughed.” Boone said.

Boone was determined to be better. She went home that day promising that “I was going to learn to say that sound perfectly and I was going to learn English perfectly and I was going to learn every word,” Boone said.

She quipped that she might reach that goal by the year 2085. This struggle “really sort of fueled my love and appreciation for the music and the sound of the words.”

Boone has put that love and appreciation for words to exceptional use. She recently published her first novel Compulsion in October of 2014. It is the first of a three book series and book two will be published in hardcover in October of this year. The books are fantasy fiction for teenagers and young adults.

“There’s something really wonderful about the medium of young adult fiction because you can transcend genres, you can go through these wonderful worlds that are new and these experiences that are first time experiences,” Boone said about writing for a young audience.

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