Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! of the Month – Jake Marcionette – July 2017

By Victoria Feng, Assistant Editor and AKOM Editor


Quote of the Month

“[D]on’t wait to chase your dream: DO IT NOW! Today is a great day to start down the road towards self-fulfillment and happiness.”
– Jake Marcionette, 17-year-old New York Times bestselling author of Just Jake

July Amazing Kid! of the Month

Deep in the midst of summer, long days of enjoying the heat, and being able to forget about school for a moment is July. It’s also a prime opportunity to enjoy what you like and take time to relax before school starts again in a few weeks. Last month, we encouraged you to dive deep into your passions—just like Christopher Lindsay. Leave us a note in the comments on how your projects have been going!

Jake Marcionette published the book Just Jake with Penguin Random House at the young age of 13 and was the publishing company’s youngest author. Soon, he also became a New York Times bestselling author—also the youngest. This popular bestseller started out of a project Jake was working on one year during summer break.

Keep reading to find more about Jake Marcionette and his dreams!

Writing for Tweens, from a Tween

Just Jake is a down-to-earth story (loosely) based on Jake Marcionette’s life. The book focuses on some of main character Jake Matthew’s biggest struggles, namely his older sister Alexis. But there’s also the fact that he’s moving all the way from Florida to Maryland and his popularity is going down the drain. While he added some embellishments, some details of the book remain the same. Jake cites that moving around helped him meet new cultures and new places to write about.

As reported by The Washington Post, Jake started writing his series Just Jake because of a summer reading assignment from his mother, who runs an educational website. The topic of Just Jake is also something that he knows well, unlike, he says, what his older sister Alexis reads (e.g. gossiping girls and vampires). And for budding authors, Jake offers a piece of advice, “Well, if you are a writer, write what you know.”

When Jake finished writing his novel in the summer of 2012, he wanted it to get published. As he told the Today Show, Jake searched how to publish a book and started cold-calling multiple literary agents.And just a quick two days later, he landed an agent and eventually signed with Penguin Random House to publish a book.

Just Jake has been reviewed by Kirkus Reviews. They said, “…by readers will easily relate to his desire to fit in and avoid the social land mines that litter most middle school landscapes.” The School Library Journal also noted that this book would appeal to Diary of a Wimpy Kid (a book series that Jake enjoys reading) and Dork Diaries readers. Jake has followed one of his biggest pieces of advice: to write what you know about.

One special part of the Just Jake books is the Kid Cards, drawn by Jake, give a visual depiction of the world around him. He told Amazing Kids! Magazine that they are “basically baseball cards for your classmates and friends.”

Inspiring Other Kids

Jake is a Novel Study Ambassador for Recently, Jake had a Skype video call with a school in Florida. He’s visited and Skype-called many schools in the past, where he talks to students about his Just Jake series and how he was able to get his book published. In this way, he inspires other kids to become avid readers and writers.

Jeff Kinney is the author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series and one of Jake’s biggest idols. Jake likes that Kinney’s books don’t “sugarcoat” issues that kids may have to deal with while growing up. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid focuses on main character Greg Heffley’s journals, or diaries, as he navigates the tough (and funny!) trials of being a kid.

More Great Reads from Jake

Jake has written two more books for his Just Jake series: Dog Eat Dog and Camp Wild Survival (it’s about his summer break). He says that his favorite character was Thunder Banks from Camp Wild Survival.Thunder Banks is a fictional “celebrity wilderness survivalist,”according to the book’s description.

Jake plans on debuting a new book series soon, though he’s keeping the details a secret.Amazing Kids! Magazine can’t wait to read his newest novel.

To get the latest updates from Jake, you can follow him on Twitter at @JakeMarcionette.