Stafford sixth grader’s first book published at age 11

Father and son collaborate on books about childhood, parenthood

By Stafford MSD Communications

(Submitted photo)
Zion Harper, 12, and his father Hansen Harper have written companion books about being better sons and fathers.

Before Zion Harper graduated from Stafford Intermediate School this month, he was already a published author.

The 12-year-old Harper, who completed sixth grade on June 1, wrote “You Could Be A Better Son,” which was published when he was 11 years old. The book is accompanied by “You Could Be A Better Father,” written by his father, Hansen Harper.

Zion announced the book last month during Stafford Municipal School District’s Gifted and Talented/Advanced Academics event. He studied in the Gifted and Talented Program at Stafford Intermediate.

Hansen, a University of Indiana graduate who teaches middle school social studies in a neighboring district, was not surprised that his son wrote a book at a young age.

“Zion has a knack for success,” Hansen said. “He has the motor to keep studying and studying. He wants to be the best at what he does, and he wants to go all out.”

Zion and Hansen sat down to write and make the seven chapters correspond between the two books. Zion’s book focuses on the following themes: Listening to your father, enjoying father-son time, ensuring that his father knows not to add too much pressure, keeping in perspective that his father knows what’s best for him and appreciating his father’s guidance.

Hansen’s book cautions fathers from being overly critical of their children and gradually letting their children engage in their own decision making.

He emphasizes that it’s important for children to know that , “‘no’ does not mean I don’t love you.” The Harpers hope that parents and children who read the book are able to take some positive items from it. In each chapter, they offer activity recommendations and other suggestions for fathers and sons.

With one book title to his credit, Zion is eager to write more books. He said he’s considering writing a book about personal finance and responsible money management.

The Harpers, who moved to the Stafford area from the Chicago area in 2013, enjoy watching “Property Brothers” on television, and Zion would like to enter the real estate business at some point.

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