Brooklyn’s Anaya Lee Willabus loves reading more than anything she can name.
What’s her favorite book? Well, that’s easy. Her own.
Anaya is 9 and the youngest published author in U.S. history to write a chapter book. Her page-turner about a boy’s struggle to balance life at home and school has inspired students from New York to Guyana, where her parents were born.
Anaya was one of several local residents feted Thursday at a Brooklyn Borough Hall Black History celebration honoring young community leaders.
“I like to read all genres, of books,” Anaya told the News. “I love both reading and writing. They both have something that I love in them.”
Don’t get her wrong, her mother, Dimple, said. Anaya watches TV, eats candy and fights with her siblings like any other kid.
And you have to practically drag her off the soccer field.
But when it comes to books, there’s just a certain magic that happens.
“We knew something was different with her,” the proud mother said. “She never learned to walk. She actually started running. She started reading at 2 years old.”
That was nearly 18 months after she appeared in the Daily News’ Baby Faces page.
Anaya’s favorite books include “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” and “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” by a writer named Barack Obama.
A trip to Guyana two years ago inspired Anaya to write her own book, “The Day Mohan Found His Confidence.”
“The mere fact that she wrote a story tells us that children have a story to tell,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“Black history is not only the things that happened, but it’s about making history. We don’t have to wait until a person is at the evening of their life to make sure we know what they are doing.”
Anaya appreciated the sentiment, even if the fourth-grader is kind of old school about reading.
That means no Kindle, no Nook.
“I prefer traditional books,” she said, “because of the beauty of turning the pages.”