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13-yo Vietnamese writer shows true colors in award-winning book

Friday, February 12, 2021, 08:34 GMT+7
13-yo Vietnamese writer shows true colors in award-winning book
This image shows teenage writer Nguyen Khang Thinh and his mother Nguyen Thi Tam. Photo: Nguyen Thanh Tung / Tuoi Tre

A teenage boy from Hanoi has been able to show not only his creative writing talent but also his true self in an ward-winning book that has been described as a Vietnamese version of the world-famous ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid.’

Nguyen Khang Thinh, born in 2007, was only 13 when he received the 2020 Sach Hay (Good Book) award for his first book titled ‘Nhat ky cua nhoc Alvin sieu quay,’ which can be translated as ‘Diary of Naughty Alvin.’

Sach Hay is an independent award voted by readers and scholars that has been jointly organized by the IRED Institute of Education, the Good Reading Promotion Project, and the OpenEdu Initiative for ten times.

Since he was a little child, Thinh has expressed his uniqueness, according to his mother, Nguyen Thi Tam.

The 13-year-old boy wrote the book from the inspiration after reading ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ by American author Jeff Kinney.

Thinh built the characters’ from his observation and experience in real life. 

The story of the book is about a boy named Alvin, who is active, naughty but curious, and loves exploring.

Like the author, Alvin also likes playing video games and wants to become a YouTuber. 

Meanwhile, Thinh’s mother is the role model for the mother in the story, who strictly teaches her child good and right things, but also gives her child freedom to develop.

Alvin has to change his school, meet new friends, and face situations that he does not know how to deal with.

Besides, the book shows the main character’s concerns, disappointments, sorrows, and ultimate yearning for joy and hope.

Teenage writer Nguyen Khang Thinh and his mother, Nguyen Thi Tam, are seen in this photo. Photo: Tuoi Tre

This picture shows teenage writer Nguyen Khang Thinh and his mother, Nguyen Thi Tam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Dr. Quach Thu Nguyet, member of the Sach Hay awarding council, commented that Thinh builds innocent characters and was not boxed in by pre-existing ideas. 

“Alvin is not afraid to express the craziest thoughts. This character is typical of children anywhere around the world, who dozes off, skips school, and hides bad scores from parents,” Dr. Nguyet said during the Sach Hay award presentation ceremony.

The background of ‘Nhat ky cua nhoc Alvin sieu quay’ is set in the United States. 

For the details in the book, Thinh studied movies and books about children’s lives abroad. 

The book consists of more than 200 pages and is presented in the format of a diary.

Few people knew that Thinh came up with the idea of writing the book when he was not happy with studying at school, which used to make Thinh want to quit school for homeschooling.

Thinh’s mother was the one who encouraged him and gave him feedback for his writing so that he could complete it after three years.

After ‘Nhat ky cua nhoc Alvin sieu quay,’ Thinh has worked on his new English-language book titled ‘The Ultimate Guide to Survival - The Wicked, Cruel Wild & School.’

In 2017, Thinh received the Potential translator award in a competition to find Irish literary ambassadors. 

In addition, the boy is a collaborator for a handful of newspapers for teenagers and students. 

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