When 13-year-old Michael Moorehead picks up a copy of the book “The Student from Zombie Island,” his facial expression changes completely. His eyes widen, and so does his smile, because it’s not just any book—it’s his book.
Last year, Moorehead became the published author of the 40-page children’s book about rumors in a classroom, a book he originally penned in second grade as a thank-you gift for his teacher.
After fourth grade, Moorehead polished his story and sent manuscripts to more than 100 publishers. Five Star Publications, a Chandler publisher, agreed to turn Mooreheads’s story into a hardback book.
“It just blows me away. I know adults who would give their eyeteeth away to do what he’s done,” says Lynda Exley, Moorehead’s mother.
One of Moorehead’s most special moments came when he presented a published copy to Nancy Lujan, his former teacher at C.I. Waggoner Elementary School in Tempe, and a character in the book.
“She was just ecstatic. She started crying. She reads the book to her class every year,” Moorehead says.
In May, Moorehead traveled to Los Angeles to promote his book and meet other authors at Book Expo America 2008. His book was so popular that he signed copies for two hours.
Moorehead hopes his experience in front of audiences will prepare him for what might seem like an unusual career choice—an environmental scientist spokesman.
“Polar bears are my favorite animal, and I hope to save them from global warming,” he says.
This summer, Moorehead has been working to address rumors through two more books in the Zombie Island series.
Although his book has won two major awards—an Arizona Book Publishing Association Glyph award and the 2008 Reader Views “Best Children’s Book” award—Moorehead said his classmates don’t treat him any differently.
“I try to keep my business life separate from my school life,” he says.
“The Student from Zombie Island” is available for $15.95 on Amazon.com, http://www.fivestarpublications.com/, Zombieislandbooks.com and at Barnes & Noble and Borders.