If you’ve forgotten how to see the world through the eyes of a 7-year-old, Alejandro “Alex” Garcia’s book, “Seven Year’s Strange,” will evoke the memories.
Alex wrote the memoir, as he calls it, two years ago, when he was a second-grader at Soaring Eagles Elementary School in Harrison School District 2.
But it’s not all rainbows and puppy dogs.
Alex is wise beyond his years, said his second-grade teacher, Sarah Szymanski, who last month won the national Milken Award for excellence in teaching.
“He’s sort of someone at Cambridge getting a Ph.D. in sociology and psychology, crammed into the frame of a tiny second-grader,” she said.
Tidbits of wisdom that show Alex’s advanced perspective are evident throughout the book, including: “If you love others, You also love yourself, Even the bad and good.”
Alex dedicated his book to Szymanski, the person, he said, who “made me believe in myself as a writer.”
When she was his teacher, Szymanski pushed him to improve his original writing, and he found her comments made sense.
“She was good at pointing things out and correcting them,” Alex said.
The 10-chapter soft-cover book is formatted as a collection of stories that are mostly fiction but have some truth, he said.
They include his impression of New York City (Honk, Beep Beep, Honk), information he found fascinating about the 1906 earthquake that nearly destroyed San Francisco and how it would feel to be trapped inside a snow globe.
“Just some random things,” Alex said.
The back cover is a self-portrait with a brown sun. Alex said he’s not sure why he made it that color. Chalk it up to his imagination, which blended a red and orange glow.
“I’ve always had a curious and creative mind,” he said.
Szymanski said Alex relates to adults more than kids. “When you start talking to him, you find he’s interesting and caring. He’s the kid who would pick up on my jokes when other kids wouldn’t.”
And his writing shows “a ton of voice,” she said.
“Second-graders tend to follow the assignment and write what they’re supposed to,” Szymanski said. “When you read Alex’s work, you hear Alex — every emotion, every thought.”
Alex now attends a different school and enjoys studying math along with reading and writing.
“He loves seeking out facts and statistics,” said his mom, Laura Garcia. He’s the kid who reads the Guinness World Records books, football statistics, National Geographic Magazine and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!.
Alex was encouraged to compile his thoughts into a book by his grandma, Karen Halverson, director of teacher education, licensure programs and field placement in the College of Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
As a longtime educator, she said, she “saw promise in the quality and quantity of his writing, especially since he was self-motivated to write in his free time.”
“Seven Year’s Strange” is available for $7.77 at Poor Richard’s Books and Gifts, 320 N. Tejon St.
Alex picked up his first royalties paycheck last week. Three books had sold recently. He’s not sure what he’ll do with the money.
He’s working on a second book, which he says probably will be shorter.
Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.