KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Organizations that raise awareness to the problem of bullying and combat it are putting even more emphasis into their work this month. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. The FOX 4 Young Achiever of the Week has a new book out that focuses on bullying and meanness. And she wrote it and got it published when she was just 12 years old.
“Anger is a hot fluid in a container. Fear is a hidden enemy.”
Those are the intense, honest and powerful words that begin 'My Emotions Today'. Sitting in the cozy living room of her family’s home, a seventh grader reads those words from a new book almost by heart. That’s because she wrote them.
“I write about things that I feel like most people are afraid to write about,” said Alexis McGuire, this week’s FOX 4 Young Achiever. Alexis wrote the book and got it published this past year at age 12.
“I see people in the hallways (at school) with my book in their hands and I just have a moment like, a little dance party inside my mind,” said Alexis.
She put the book together after enduring a very rough time in her life going to a new school where she encountered anonymous bullying, meanness, alienation and false friends.
“The best solution was to write it out because I think instead of going and yelling and stuff, just to write it on a piece of paper is a lot better,” said Alexis of how she handled the challenge.
Not only did Alexis write 'My Emotions Today', she also designed the cover from a photo her dad took, chose the photos inside and did the layout for the book. It’s a quick but compelling read full of candid personal thoughts that Alexis fearlessly shares with her readers to inspire them and to make them feel better.
“And people always send me emails saying, ‘This is an amazing book and if it wasn’t for you I would still be a sad person,’” said Alexis. Now, in her room surrounded by motivational quotes that help guide her life, Alexis has started writing another book, this time fiction, the story of a 17-year-old girl whose seemingly perfect life is upended by leukemia.
“This one is mainly to live in the moment,” said Alexis, “because I think that’s a really important message to not worry about the future, the past.”
As you can imagine, Alexis’s mind is very fertile ground for knowledge and ideas. And she expresses them in other creative, captivating ways, not just as a prolific writer. With a mini studio set-up in her bedroom, Alexis produces videos done mostly improv, dozens of them, that she posts on her own YouTube channel.
She’s also crafted short films. Just like with her writing, Alexis has been doing videos for years, too.
“Most of the time I just come home and I say, ‘You know what? I’m going to make a video,’” said Alexis. “And I press play on my camera and just stand there and I start talking about random things. I think that’s something I’m really good at. I can just talk about things forever.”
And while her book is largely a serious approach to a very serious topic, most of her videos show her the way she really is – lively, comical, chatty, entertaining – eager to make people laugh and feel good about themselves.
“I yell in them, I do funny jokes, I have every emotion in them,” said Alexis. “And people can relate to them.”
And whether the topics are funny or serious, when it comes to communicating, Alexis is unstoppable.
“If I have something to say, I will get it out no matter what,” said Alexis.
Alexis already has a career goal in mind. While writing and producing videos, she says, will always be part of her life, she wants to become a motivational speaker and do it in the style of her hero, comedian, actress and talk show host Ellen Degeneres.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and noon.