'I like books': Meet the Florida 5-year-old who has published four children's books
In most every way, Lake Nona five year old Sameer Jani is a regular kid. He likes sports, and animals, and reading.
"I was reading so many books," said Sameer. "And I like books."
Sameer also recently started playing Tennis. And the combination of books, love for animals and Tennis got him to thinking that Maybe he should write a book.
The idea for Sameer's first ever book started at the USTA complex in Lake Nona. With his first ever coach, coach Rita Gladstone. Sameer even incorporated Gladstone into the book.
"The first story was born about Chocovella playing Tennis," said Sameer's mother Zalina Jani. "The little Alligator was playing Tennis. He had a hard time experiencing some difficulties in his game. And he was almost giving up. But then his coach encouraged him to never give up. To keep trying, to tell himself 'I can do it."
"I've been teaching tennis for a long time," said USTA Coach Rita Gladstone. "But of all the things that I've done, that is absolutely just the neatest thing that's happened to me. Honestly. To have him take an experience and bring it to life. We don't know exactly what the kids are getting from their on-court experience. But the fact that 'try again. I can do it.' it's something that we really, you know try to drive home with the kids."
Sameer has now published 4 books, all of them available on Amazon. All featuring the same main character - a Florida animal modeled after himself. And all with similar themes.
"My book is about an Alligator named Chocovela," said Sameer. "He plays sports. What it's about is positive attitude. Because difficult is good for you. Difficult is fun. Difficult makes you better."
Through Tennis, this five year old has already learned some valuable life lessons.
"If you have that positive attitude in you, then you can overcome these moments, and you can keep going," said Zalina. "So I think he got that idea and playing Tennis right now, he keeps coming to the USTA, he keeps playing Tennis. Playing Tennis definitely helps to kind of exercise that skill."