I was sorting through some magazines the other day and came across the Sports Illustrated for Kids that contains my very first byline. Back in ye olde days of the early 90s, SI for Kids had a feature called "You Write the Story," where they would post a picture and readers could send in a little tale about it.
The thing I remember most about the experience is coming home from school to my sister saying: "I'm not sure how your day was, but it's about to get a lot better." She'd taken the call from an SI editor and was so excited and happy for me - it felt really special. I vividly remember returning the call to their office in New York, which felt like calling the moon.
Seeing my name in print had a real impact on me. Even though it was a tiny story surrounded by a bunch of others, it made me feel like a real writer. I'm not sure if SI for Kids even exists anymore, or if another magazine offers a similar experience for young readers (and writers) but I hope they do. It can get a kid started on a writing path, just like it did for me.
Also, how great is this cover?