Ryan Jonas (12) held his own book, What is Your Impact? Become a Social Entrepreneur, a 17-page children’s picture book, in his hands for the very first time in the summer of 2018.
The book follows main character Lucy as she finds her career as a social entrepreneur and gives examples of socially conscious businesses, Jonas said.
“I wanted to share my passion for social entrepreneurship with younger students and to inspire them with the idea that you are never too young to change your community,” he said.
Jonas’s inspiration for his book came from visiting Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, NY in middle school, he said. “I was impressed with how Greyston partnered with Ben and Jerry’s to make the chocolate fudge brownie flavor, combining making money and making a difference.”
Jonas was inspired that companies such as Greyston could work with other organizations to maximize their impact, he said. Greyston Bakery has an open-hiring policy, which allows for people with a criminal record to reintegrate into society, as well as offering free business training classes with nationally recognized credentials.
“My book is designed to expand childrens’ perspectives on different career paths with a focus on social entrepreneurs tackling some of society’s most challenging issues,” Jonas said.
His writing process was long, timeconsuming, and took multiple rounds of revisions and edits with help from English teacher Dr. Deborah Kassel, Jonas said.
“Ryan is an incredibly diligent student who produced countless drafts in my English classes in order to make his already excellent work all the more outstanding,” Kassel said.” It is such attention to detail, clarity, and style that makes all the difference between writing something–and getting it read.”
“My idea for the title was to make clear that even young people could make a difference,” Jonas said. The title, What is Your Impact?, asks the reader to think about ways they can change their community, he said.
Jonas hopes to write a whole series about the main character Lucy. The books would follow the social impact businesses that Lucy creates, he said. “Each book will tackle a different societal problem– the environment, education, health care, sustainability, homelessness, and many more.” These topics would expand on the examples of socially conscious businesses in the book, Jonas said.