Stacey Fru autographs her book at the Sacred Heart Colllege book launch.

Andrea Chothia

IF YOU’RE good enough, you’re old enough – and nine-year-old Stacey Fru already knows that she’s good at writing books.

Her first dip into the world of children’s literature has seen her taking the honours in the Best Early Childhood Development publication awards. And she’s promised that there’s more to come.

Stacey, from Johannesburg, wrote a book titled Smelly Cats, which was launched on July 16 last year. She hopes it will be used in schools to help combat illiteracy.

Stacey’s mother, Victorine Mbong Shu, 38, who also acts as her publisher and marketer, is extremely proud of her daughter. But she’s also “afraid”, she admitted.

“Everything is happening so fast and it becomes a bit overwhelming for me at times.”

She explained that they are a “house full of intellectuals”.

“Both my husband and I study, so I think my children took the cue from us.”

She explained that her four children constantly fought over books.

Stacey said: “My goal is to write 12 books by the time I reach Grade 10.”

The book has been chosen by the national Department of Basic Education to act as supplementary reading material at primary schools.

“The sales have been fine, but we hope for things to pick up,” Shu said.

Around the age of five, Stacey would write letters to her friends and family for every occasion, and hardly struggled to construct a sentence.

The 108-page Smelly Cats tells the story of two cats who are cousins. It portrays daily challenges and how to overcome them. “The constant fights are real reflections of our daily lives as human beings,” Shu said.

Last year, Stacey addressed more than 800 pupils at various schools in Johannesburg. When she is not reading a book, or writing, she is helping her mother in their garden or in the kitchen.

She thinks the world would be a better place if people decided “not to be nasty to each other”.

In Smelly Cats (page seven), Stacey rhymes cleverly: “Meet a Cat. This particular cat was named by his uncle Jack who called him Mack.”

Stacey is working on her second book, Bob and the Snake. Shu hopes it will be published in October.

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