By Jane Kingsu-Cheng
At first glance, Filipino-American Jan Alexander Quintos appears to be your regular six-year-old. Try searching for his name online and you’ll be in for a surprise. This boy already has two published books available for purchase from Amazon, Ebay, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart.
It all started with his older sister Alexa, who enjoys writing stories but was too shy to have them released for public consumption.
“When Jan heard about it (book publishing), he said he had stories and also wanted to get published,” says Alex, Jan’s father. This kindergartener has always been fond of writing and drawing, documenting most of his everyday life in his big sketch book that he brings with him wherever he goes.
The supportive father encouraged Jan to get started with his very first book entitled I am Jan Alexander: 3 Amazing Stories, which only took about two months to finish. It’s a 24-page book that’s comprised of three short stories–A Day in School, Kid Goes to Vacation, and Kid Got Lost in the Zoo. The proud dad also shared that Jan insisted on doing his own illustrations.“He wants all the kids to read his book and to (know that they can) make their own, too!” he beams.
When Jan gave the final draft to his dad, Alex wasted no time in sending it to Xlibris Publishing for review. It only took a few weeks before Jan was holding a physical copy of his book. His dad remembers clearly how ecstatic his youngest son was, screaming and jumping for joy. Having witnessed how happy their son was upon seeing the printed books, Alex and his wife proposed another idea. What about a book signing event at Barnes & Noble?
The six-year-old loved the idea, and plans were quickly executed. On April 28, the young author stationed himself by the table filled with his very first book on display. “He sold 33 books from the people we didn’t know. Friends and families, I think, purchased books before the signing event, so he signed at least 80 books from (that) one hour event,” recounts the father.
This wasn’t the only venue where he got to showcase his works. The family also joined fairs for Jan to promote his book. “We didn’t teach him (to sell). He sells his own book at our first book fair. He puts his money in his wallet, but asks for change from his mom,” Alex laughs as he shares this observation.
Fueled by motivation through positive feedback and great sales, Jan worked on his second book almost right away, releasing Have You Seen Jacob? last June. The 22- page book focuses on two subject matters: The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and the problems of excessive use of gadgets. “Kids need to learn how to eat fruits and vegetables, so they become healthy and strong. Too much exposure to tablets is very bad for your eyes,” says Alex of Jan’s choice of topics for this second book.
This little boy can draw all day, and anywhere, too! His parents are used to him sketching whenever, wherever he can, even drawing by the steps of Times Square in New York. This is why one of his next books will come in the form of a coloring sketchbook, which he is dedicating to his older brother Josh.
Jan is described by his parents to be very energetic with lots of ideas and imagination, so expect a lot more books to come out soon. He enjoys the creative and production process, including meeting his readers, signing the books, and sharing his talent for storytelling. “He wants to make 50 books,” says his father.
We’re pretty sure that’s likely to happen.