Pages with a Purpose: 10-year-old Virginian authors book, aids world hunger fight

A young child stands with a book he authored in front of a non-profit

By Amie Knowles

December 14, 2021

A Norfolk fifth grader makes a difference by authoring a book called VIP Fruits

Boredom became a motivating factor in March 2020 for then-8-year-old Adam Musselmani. 

When the pandemic first struck Virginia, many people chose to stay home. First, it was two weeks to flatten the curve. Then, it was a couple of months to eradicate COVID-19. Nearly two years later, the commonwealth is still feeling the impact of the pandemic. 

In that time, Musselmani’s been busy. Now 10-years-old, the Norfolk-area resident recently published his first book, VIP Fruits, which was written during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A Natural Storyteller 

Musselmani didn’t originally set out to write a book. First, he started writing a movie script, but something about the project simply felt off. His mother suggested he try writing a story instead, first starting with a 100 word goal.

“I was serious about it,” Musselmani said. “I just typed and typed.”

Approximately 8,000 words—and a whopping 80 pages later—Musselmani created what could quickly become a bestseller. The idea for the story was years in the making. When he was four, Musselmani imagined fruits and veggies coming to life, jumping off of his plate, and making a mess of the kitchen. He took that idea and crafted an entire scenario around it.

“It’s about this nice warm counter with a fruit bowl, and the fruits are living the life. They love it in there,” Musselmani said. “But in the refrigerator next to that counter live the vegetables. It’s this cold fridge. It’s so depressing.”

Hooked yet? Yeah, us too. But wait. There’s more! King Hector the carrot isn’t too fond of the fruits on the counter.

“[He] devises a vicious plan to oust the fruits from their bowl, and things get a little out of hand,” Musselmani said. 

The fifth-grader’s mother encouraged him to edit the rough draft, seek feedback, and then edit again. Then he worked with an illustrator. During that process, he went over the designs with artist Laura Liberatore and approved the finished products. 

Pages with a Purpose

Now that VIP Fruits is available for purchase, word’s spreading around. Musselmani said that his friends are surprised that he wrote and published a book, especially his desk partner at school.

“[She said] ‘I never knew I had an author as a desk partner,’” Musselmani said.

The 10-year-old isn’t letting his newfound fame get to his head. Instead, he’s using his pages for a purpose. Musselmani’s passionate about fighting hunger—an estimated 811 million people go without the food they need each day—and his book is making a difference.

“I just hate world hunger,” Musselmani said. “It is so sad.”

Passionate about making a change, the young author plans to donate proceeds to the World Food Program USA, a nonprofit organization that supplies those in need with food and other assistance.

The author also started a campaign with the slogan, “What is laughter without someone to laugh with you?”

“What [the campaign does] is every time you buy a book, it will be matched up with another book and that matched up book will be given to a child in need of literature,” Musselmani said. “One organization we donated to this month of December was ForKids of South Norfolk. We happily went over to the building and supplied them with a big stack of VIP Fruits books for the kids to enjoy.”

With his first book already impacting the world and raking in stellar reviews on Amazon, there’s good news around the corner for Musselmani’s readers.

“The second book is on its way. A series is most likely coming up,” Musselmani said. “So writing is going to be a big thing for me.”

UPDATE: This article was updated on 12/15/21 to clarify that the donation of proceeds is planned.

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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