This year, for her first assignment as a new kid reporter for the magazine Time for Kids, 10-year-old Rory Hu from Cupertino aimed high. She scored a remote interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The interview, published in the Sept. 29 issue of the children’s magazine, includes Cook’s advice to kids having trouble studying at home: Learn something new and cool like coding.
For Hu, that something cool is honing her writing skills as a news reporter for Time for Kids. In a national news-writing competition for the magazine, Hu was recently chosen to be one of 10 kid reporters for 2020 – 2021 out of more than 200 entrants.
One of the two articles she wrote for the competition is about a local hero who has saved the lives of nearly 600 dogs through her volunteer efforts with the German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California.
Hu uses the classic writing process: online research and information gathering, outlining, and multiple draft writing, the final after feedback. She said that condensing information is a challenge.
“I learned that I don’t have to write fiction to have fun. I can also write news,” said Hu. “I want to give people the reliable and honest truth and not the fake news.”
As another competition requirement, Hu made a two-minute video with the assigned title “Five Amazing Things about Me.”
Most amazing is her passion for writing and reading, interests nurtured by her mom, Yanlin Wu, and dad, Kevin Hu, both Chinese-born engineers.
“My mom bought lots of books when I was little,” said Hu, an only child, who speaks Mandarin as well as English. She recalled that after hiking trips, her parents and she would each write a story about the hikes and then compare them.
Hu is already working on her first novel, “Dreamland,” in her quest to become a novelist.
“It’s easy to start something,” she said, “but challenging to finish it.”
“Don’t give up in the middle and get discouraged,” she advises other kid writers. “Keep learning and keep practicing.”
Hu’s reading list includes Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. She calls it “a bit of a door stop at 800 pages but with elegant writing.”
It is the book that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write Hamilton, Hu’s favorite musical. In entering the Time for Kids competition, Hu was motivated by the song line that was Alexander Hamilton’s mantra: “I am not throwing away my shot.” Her dream is to interview Miranda.
Hu is a 5th grader at Stratford School in Santa Clara and credits librarian Keira Pride and PR spokesperson Kathleen Hawkins for helping her with final proofing of her winning Time for Kids local hero article.
“I learned that if I really want to do something and try hard, I can do it,” said Hu, reflecting on the writing competition. “I can keep on going.
“I can write stores that kids will like and are fun to read.”