Sophia Fratta is a Colombian-Italian writer and artist. She enjoys writing essays, book reviews, and fiction. Her work has appeared in Johns Hopkins University’s youth magazine Imagine and was a finalist for superfroot magazine’s Nostalgia issue. Sophia has won five awards from the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards, including three Gold Keys and a Gold Medal.

My name is Sophia Fratta and I’m a highschooler. I’ve been reading ever since I can remember—since I was about five. Memory issues aside, reading has become a sort of obsession. When I’m angry, I read—I remember grabbing Tolkien’s The Two Towers and sitting out in the wind on the balcony on one particularly bad day; but I also read when I’m happy (once the prospect of an entire afternoon with Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series reduced me to ecstatic giggles) or when I’m sad (although I’m not sure reading the most tragic parts of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials helped very much). In fact, I find myself spending most of the day with a book in hand.

But around the beginning of my middle school years, I began to emerge from my little book-world bubble. I realized—to my rather naive horror—that there were so many people out there who hadn’t heard of (much less read) some of my favorite books—which, as I am prone to confusion, include classics, old forgotten novels thick with dust, and shiny new paperbacks in the bookstore. That’s when I started the blog.

It was called bookshelfexplorer and because pseudonyms are an important part of internet privacy, I called myself Wisdom Zelda. But the blog wasn’t about me, it was about books. I wrote book reviews. Every other Tuesday, a new one would come out: “Beautiful, Slow, and Alive: A Review of The Hidden Life of Trees,” or “Just Wear Sunglasses: A Review of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” My first book review was called “Awesome & Authentic: A Review of The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and I thought it was brilliant.

But books can take you many places, and that’s what happened to me. I began writing short stories, poems, flash fiction pieces. Because of the increased time spent writing the latter, I slowed down to one full book review a month, and then a short post at the end of the month about my three favorite books of the month. (Month, month, month.)

Meanwhile, I managed to get a book review published in Johns Hopkins University’s magazine Imagine. And then more: I won an Honorable Mention in the regional 2018 Scholastic Arts & Writing competition, and then a Gold Key the following year, which led to a national Gold Medal, which led to Carnegie Hall. In 2020, I once again won a Gold Key for my piece “Gutter Truths.” In short: books don’t just take you to the library.

And this is where it changes. Now I won’t just be writing book reviews—I’ll be posting short stories, flash fiction pieces, short excerpts about life where I live. Because I also love to draw, I’ll be uploading pictures of my artwork.

I’ve had so much help, though, so I’d like to thank my friend Jamie Zvirzdin. She’s an excellent writer and mentor; she’s showed me so many nuances about writing and told me about so many of what are now my favorite books.

Please follow me (the button’s in the sidebar) and don’t forget to confirm when you receive the email—because this story is only beginning.

Sophia Fratta

June 2019

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