Santa Clara resident Aarna Agrawal is receiving a gold medal in May through the President’s Volunteer Service Award program for her work volunteering 108 hours in 2021 by doing street cleaning, writing letters to elders and working on a food drive and a sock donation drive through VT Seva. VT Seva is an organization that collaborates with other nonprofit organizations to assist youth with fulfilling their community service hours.
When Agrawal, who is turning 10 in May, is not busy volunteering, she occupies her time with selling her self-published children’s books.
Back in 2020, Agrawal wrote and illustrated her first self-published book, “Sarah and the Dinosaurs.” In 2021, she donated her profits from her first book to fundraising efforts for Santa Clara’s Magical Bridge Playground. Recently, Agrawal self-published a sequel she wrote and illustrated called “Sarah and the Dolphin.”
“My book was released on March 12 on my grandma’s birthday,” Agrawal said. “In the second book, Sarah has another adventure. This time, instead of her magic bracelet taking her into the past, it takes her into the present. The bracelet takes Sarah underwater and she has to save the sea creatures from a sea twister. A sea twister is a tornado, except it happens underwater. Sarah also makes a new friend, a dolphin named Pinky.”
“I love sea creatures, especially dolphins,” continued Agrawal, who has spent time with dolphins in Hawaii and San Diego’s Sea World. “I love that dolphins are smart and friendly. Sometimes I watch live shows with dolphins. When I was writing the book, I did a lot of research about dolphins.”
Agrawal shared a promotional strategy to sell more books.
“To attract customers, I put a ‘spin the wheel’ at my booth at the Children’s Business Fairs,” Agrawal said. “People can get awesome prizes by spinning the wheel, such as raffle prizes, plushies, and sometimes free e-books. So, if you buy one of my books, you get a free raffle ticket for a mini air hockey. I’ve offered a free mini air hockey at some of the fairs I’ve attended.”
According to Agrawal, she has sold about 20 to 30 books of her sequel so far. Based on her sales successes of her first book, she will predictably be selling more of her second book.
“I’ve sold around 100 copies of my first book, including sales from Amazon and Children’s Business Fairs,” Agrawal said. “I participated in several business fairs in Bay Area cities such as Santa Clara, Mountain View, San Jose and Redwood City. I love business fairs because they give me an opportunity to meet new readers and connect with people.”
A highlight of Agrawal selling at the Santa Clara Children’s Business Fair last fall was connecting with Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor.
“I met Lisa Gillmor at the Santa Clara Children’s Business Fair last October and she bought two copies of my book,” Agrawal said. “Mayor Gillmor always encourages me.”