A suburban Chicago teenager with cystic fibrosis who read book after book during the grueling hours that she spent having her lungs cleared every day has made her wish come true by becoming a published author.
With a little help from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Plainfield 8th grader Ravina Thakkar published a book she wrote called "The Adventure of a Lifetime," a 128-page paperback about a 9-year-old girl who is magically transported to a world of villains and dragons occupied by a girl named Amber from the "Amber The Brave" books that she loves.
"Most people ask for Disney World," the 14-year-old, who first pitched her wish to foundation volunteers when she was 10, told The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald (http://bit.ly/18iozzu). "I'm so glad I didn't ask for that."
So, apparently were the customers who gobbled up all 80 copies she brought with her to a book signing at a suburban book store on Sunday. Equally impressed were the foundation volunteers who usually have to find ways to do things like take children to far-off-lands or meet celebrities.
"She had to do a lot of the work herself," said Cindy Kepner, a volunteer with the organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening diseases. "It's not like someone handed it to her."
In fact, Ravina made it clear that she didn't want to self-publish, that she wanted her book to be published by an honest-to-goodness book publisher.
"She wanted it to be worthy," said Patti Bernhard, Kepner's Make-a-Wish partner.
After years spent looking for the right publisher and learning first hand that writing a book means writing and rewriting and rewriting some more, Ravina had herself a book. And a new fan.
"I have to say, the kid just amazes me," said Todd Stocke, vice president and editorial director of Sourcebooks, an independent publisher based in Naperville.
Ravina, who has won awards at school for her writing, is not done putting her thoughts down on paper. She hasn't ruled out a sequel to her first book, though she said she has matured as a writer.
Stocke said readers have not seen the last of her.
"A writer doesn't have to write; a writer needs to write," he said. "Ravina's a writer."