Rising 3rd-grader at CES turns writing assignment into published book

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Zack Parker had no idea his second-grade class project would lead to his name ending up on a published book.

In January, Cartersville Primary teacher Deldreqka Scott gave her class a writing project that required the students to write a page a day on a subject of their choice until the end of the school year.

For his topic, Zack, then 8 years old, chose to write about Fortnite, a 2017 online video game that can be downloaded to a gaming system or computer.    

"It's my favorite video game, and I couldn't think about anything else," he said, noting the class wrote every day after lunch. 

The son of Chad and Beth Parker of Cartersville said his teacher guided and helped him during the long writing process.

"Sometimes I didn't know what to do so I went over and asked her," he said.

As Zack's teacher, Scott said she "enjoyed watching him grow as a writer in second grade."

"He is one of those students who takes direction well," she said. "He listens and is a thoughtful learner. Seeing his work progress from football stories in August to include a range of topics was very gratifying. It is also totally fitting that he chose to incorporate Fortnite into his final writing project of the year." 

After Zack's brothers, Luke and Jake, and their friends read the finished product and thought it was good, his mom began thinking about finding a publisher for it. 

"He had done it all, and all of that is his writing and his words," she said, noting he also did the illustrations. "The teacher didn't edit it, nothing. It was not edited at all, and so when I started reading it, I was like, do you think we can [publish it]?"

Parker contacted AuthorHouse, which turned her son's class assignment into a children's book for fourth- through sixth-graders titled "Fortnite King: Battle of the Beginners."

Released June 26, the 24-page book follows the author as he works his way through the Fortnite video game. 

"I get sucked into the video game like the movie 'Jumanji,' and then I have to win the game to come out of the game," Zack, who turned 9 in May, said. "And if I die, I won't come out of the game ever. I did find two of the best guns in the game, and then I killed, like, five people with it."   

The rising third-grader at Cartersville Elementary said he "really didn't even want to do the book, but I kinda feel like I'm about to get famous." 

"I didn't know I was going to publish it," he said, noting he was happy with the way it turned out. "I didn't see it at first, and then when I saw it, I thought, 'Man, I'm about to be famous.'"

The final product includes an acknowledgement page for Scott as a way for Zack to thank her for her help, but it didn't include the class picture that was on the back of the original copy, Parker said.

Scott said she is "so proud of Zack" for being able to have his work published. 

"He works hard at every task he takes on, whether it be sports or academic," she said. "Seeing him take all that we learned in class and combine that with something that he loves outside of school is amazing. This is the type of thing that makes teachers proud to teach every day."

The book retails for $29.99 for hardback, $20.99 for softcover and $3.99 for the e-book and is available at Amazon.com, the AuthorHouse website, barnesandnoble.com and booksamillion.com.

Zack gave a quick, emphatic "no" when asked if he was going to write a sequel, but his mom said there are some ideas — though no definite plans — floating around for a second book.

Parker added Zach has said he's saving his writing talent for when he retires from the NFL.