Young author self-publishes children’s book


When 9-year-old Emerson Birchmeier found two roly-poly bugs and couldn’t keep them as pets like she wanted, she kept them another way: in a story.

“I went underwater in the pool and saw two roly-polys,” the Cardiff-by-the-Sea girl said. “I wanted to help them because the walls were too steep and I saw them moving. I got them out and let them go. But I really wanted to keep them.”

Emerson wrote a book called “The Adventures of Rollie and Pollie” last year under the pen name Emerson Qualfoot, inspired by her favorite book series, “Harry Potter.”

The 54-page book, which includes 15 chapters, is available on through its self-publishing system, called CreateSpace, for $4.99.

Since it was published last month, the book has earned a No. 8 spot on Amazon’s bugs and spiders category in the children’s books section, according to Ralph Birchmeier, Emerson’s father.

The story follows the two roly-polys going on adventures such as opening an amusement park, battling monsters and visiting Switzerland. Emerson is also a character in the book, playing the insects’ friend.

The fourth grader at Notre Dame Academy in Carmel Valley said she wrote the book over a span of about six months by dictating the story off the top of her head to her father, who would type her words as she spoke.

The story and words were entirely Emerson’s, Ralph Birchmeier said.

The father said he was surprised as his daughter added chapter after chapter. He decided to upload the book to Amazon’s self publishing tool last month.

“Her passion was creating the book more than distributing it,” Ralph Birchmeier said. “It’s fun to see her imagination shine. She had put so much effort in it that we thought, ‘Well, let’s go ahead and get it published.’”

About 100 books have been sold, including one in Great Britain, he said. Emerson gets a royalty based on the sales.

It has also earned 4.8 out of five stars on Amazon.

“I was so impressed that this was written by a 9 year old,” one reviewer wrote. “Adorable plot. My third grade students love this book and it has become an inspiration for other young authors to put their creativity in print.”

One of the most exciting things for Emerson was seeing her very own bar code on her book, her father said.

Emerson’s mother, Dawn Birchmeier, said she has not read the book yet due to her traveling schedule, but she was proud of her daughter and surprised at the length of the book.

“It’s so much more than I thought when they started,” she said. “I thought it would be a younger kid’s book. When I opened it, I was like, ‘Wow. There’s some substance to this.’ I was very impressed.”

Emerson, who also drew the cover of the book, said she’d like her young readers to know they can write a book too and that it’s a lot of fun. She hopes the book is picked up by local libraries.