Ever since I was little, I’ve loved painting. My mom is a painter, and she’s inspired and taught me. My favorite kinds are watercolors and oil pastels. I love abstract painting. When I approach a canvas, I usually focus on 3 colors. My brain goes to work, and my hands follow. When I do art, I am decisive. I am bold and never doubt what I put on the page. I also enjoy sketching faces. It’s one of the hardest things to do, capturing human expressions, showing in someone’s eyes whether they are sad or lonely or kind. It’s difficult to sketch the shadows and show the right ratio of light to dark, dark to light. Painting feels separate from my life; it makes me feel free and empowered.
Books are my other main hobby. I fell in love with reading when I started 9th grade and my teacher inspired me. She told me to imagine the world I was reading about, and it opened up a whole new way of reading for me. In 1 month I read almost 100 books. One author that sticks out in my memory is Paul Legen who wrote The Bully. In 8th grade I was bullied. People made fun of my British accent and called me Shorty. I’d come home from school and cry. I think that’s why that book made an impression on me. Today I read all kinds of books, although I’ve never been a fan of Harry Potter. I think I’d like to write a book of my own some day, maybe about what it feels like to be Muslim.
By Shazia, age 18