The Wonder World Jane and Amelia spent their pandemic writing a book, so what’s your excuse?

| Adobe Stock image


By Joe Livernois

How’s that book coming along? You know what I’m talking about: the Great American Novel you promised the world you were going to write way back when the pandemic forced us all to stay home to write books and binge-watch Netflix.

So you didn’t write it after all. Too much “Ted Lasso.”  Too much middle-aged angst.

Well, guess who did write a book during the pandemic. Amelia Eskenasy and Jane Friday. That’s who. And they’re a couple of 10-year-olds. Fourth graders.

They could do it. But you couldn’t.

Not only did they collaborate to write an 8,500-word novelette that delves into magical realism, the nature of elves and dragons, and the bonding strength of true friendships, but Amelia and Jane successfully collaborated on the book while 1,300 miles apart.

Amelia is from Monterey — she attends Monte Vista School — and Jane is now living in Amarillo, Texas.

Unlike those of us who whiled away our pandemic by nursing our angst and staring at the Netflix logo all day long, they did the Zoom thing and they figured out Google Drive and they shared ideas and they wrote paragraphs and stuff until they finally cranked out a novel with an introductory beginning, an action-packed second act, and a satisfying climax.

The book will be published May 26. It’s called “The Wonder World.” It’ll even be available at the Monterey Public Library.


Amelia Eskenasy (left) and Jane Friday, authors | Screen shot

Amelia and Jane were best friends in preschool, but then Jane moved to Amarillo and they sorta lost touch for a while except that Amelia has been thinking about writing a book and she remembered that Jane also likes to write so luckily Amelia’s mom kept in touch with Jane’s mom so they reconnected after Amelia’s mom set her up on an app called Messenger Kids and Jane said she thought writing a book would be a great idea so then they started thinking about what sort of book they wanted to write.

So what sort of book did they want to write?

“Oh, that was the hard part,” said Amelia, during the co-authors’ very first book-tour interview via Zoom (of course).

Early on, Jane said, they talked about Amelia’s ideas and then they talked about Jane’s ideas and eventually they combined all those ideas into a single book.

“We were on a Google doc, and so Amelia would share it with me, and then we could both write together,” said Jane.

“Yeah, like she did one sentence and I would do the other sentence,” Amelia said. “But then during the end we had a deadline, so I kind of did more paragraphs and then she did more paragraphs.”

The book wasn’t a school project, but Monte Vista School has an Author’s Club so Amelia eventually plugged into that organization and the advisors there are helping them get “The Wonder World” published.

Both Amelia and Jane are avid readers. Amelia is a fan of Harry Potter and the Babysitter’s Club; Jane’s tastes lean more to graphic novels. In fact, they’re in the early stages of brainstorming a second book — this one a graphic novel featuring Jane’s artwork and Amelia’s words.

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Joe Livernois

About Joe Livernois

Joe Livernois has been a reporter, editor and columnist in Monterey County for 35 years.

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