With writing, I can express myself, really, and share my ideas and just let my thoughts flow out.
I need to be allowed to make my own decisions and mistakes, take leaps – and fall – without receiving too much help, because it's what I'll be doing for the rest of my life.
The idea there were kids out there who didn't love to read and write just as much as I did struck me. So I went around schools and tried to make other kids love to read and write.
We need to reward the 'thankless job' of substitute teaching with better pay and chances for permanent positions. I look forward to the day when no student comes home saying, 'I didn't learn much today… we had a sub.'
If we all understood we can learn from both older and younger people, then we'd have a better world.
The unsaid message of that endless rack of juniors' pushup bras? No matter what size you are, it still isn't good enough.
In many countries, schools are preparing students to participate in a democratic environment; yet schools themselves tend to be extremely autocratic, with all high-level decisions being made by adults.
When I was little, I thought everyone in the world liked to read because it was so fun. But then I realised that was not exactly true. I want other kids to read and write more all over the world, because it helps them to understand things better.
Ineffective substitute teaching is a problem that means thousands of hours of lost learning for America's students. It cannot be dismissed with a sigh and 'Just wait for the teacher to come back on Monday.'
The only time I felt I was different was when one of my friends said, 'I hate reading' and I stared at her like, 'What kind of an alien creature are you?!' Because it was so incomprehensible to me that someone could dislike reading! That really started my desire to help other children love reading and writing.
Mostly, I avoid worrying since the time spent doing it could be spent more constructively.
Students read for tests and because their parents ask them to, but I think it's very important to tell children that you can read for fun, too, and to understand human spirit. It builds empathy.
I am writing to make sure that kids don't lose very important traits like curiosity that can drive social change because oftentimes I think parents emphasise more on doing well in school, which is important, but perhaps that sometimes comes at the cost of a child's natural curiosity.
The fact that a baby can be born today and condemned to a life of hardship, struggle, and discrimination simply because of sex is enraging.
My family joke that I'm really a very senior person who accidentally happens to be 11.
By creating so many illusory images of physical perfection, whether on store aisles or storefront ads, magazine covers or TV shows, we speak more to the profit margins of companies than the self-esteem of today's girls.
For kids like me, being called childish can be a frequent occurrence. Every time we make irrational demands, exhibit irresponsible behavior, or display any other signs of being normal American citizens, we are called childish.
We're used to the characteristics of social media – participation, connection, instant gratification – and when school doesn't offer the same, it's easy to tune out.
Hoping to instill my love of learning in other children, I taught my first class at a local elementary school the year my first book, 'Flying Fingers,' debuted; since then, I have spoken at hundreds of schools, classrooms and conferences around the world.
The current concept of prom just seems so empty. Teenagers get dressed up to go to a dance at a fancy location. It encourages social inclusion or exclusion based on your ability or inability to snag a date.
I do wear a lot of hats, and sometimes people get confused with all that I do, but one thing that I am extraordinarily passionate about is furthering women's rights. I think it's something that's incredibly important, not just for girls everywhere but also boys to get involved in.
Like probably a lot of people, I came away from watching films like 'Miss Representation' and 'Half the Sky' with the realization that the battle for women's rights is not over, especially not globally, and that the moral imperative of our century is to achieve full rights for everyone regardless of gender.
I think one of the keys to better writing is releasing all of your ideas and to not be afraid. Dream big. This could be the greatest novel in the world you know.
I was thrilled to be able to read at three. I just thought everyone loved reading as much as I did.
We all love people who give credit to others for their success. Companies would probably do better with CEOs who didn't blow their own horn and ask for ridiculous salaries and new yachts every year.
There are lots of different interpretations of the word 'prodigy.' My own is of someone who is talented and tries to help other children. So in that respect I could be called one, although I don't think I'll go off the rails.
My parents homeschooled my sister and me for many years. Why? Because the local school insisted that I, being three, should go to preschool, and my sister, being five, should go to kindergarten. The problem? You learn your alphabet in preschool, and I was already reading chapter books.
To try to teach ignoring technology is to ignore the progress that we have made over the last century. If school is preparation for the real world – a real world that is increasingly technology-driven – then to ignore technology is to become obsolete.
If I had my way, I'd end all wars and poverty. We should all be more aware of what's going on in the world around us and less ignorant.
Any good teacher knows how important it is to connect with students and understand our culture.
History is made every day. The challenge is getting everyone to pay attention to it.
Young people are often asked, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' and given advice about how to lead meaningful adult lives, but where's the encouragement to lead meaningful lives right now?
I think women should be more independent. In society, we're portrayed as people who simply wear make-up and sit around. We need a Princess Charming – a woman who rescues her man and slays the dragon instead of the other way round.
As we grow up in more technology-enriched environments filled with laptops and smart phones, technology is not just becoming a part of our daily lives – it's becoming a part of each and every one of us.
None of my friends don't have Facebook accounts. Op-eds and studies can highlight our decreased enthusiasm for Facebook 'til the cows come home, but it doesn't change the fact that we are chained to the beast. Voluntarily, of course.
As children, we have a tenuous idea of love; we often try to quantify it with how much we feel seen and heard.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of family encouragement – not just for me, but for everyone.
Any good teacher knows how important it is to connect with students and understand our culture.
I wouldn't call myself a geek, but I do sometimes teach Mommy and Daddy stuff about computers. And I do watch TV, but only informative programmes like the news and documentaries.
By bringing current events into the classroom, everyday discussion, and social media, maybe we don't need to wait for our grandchildren's questions to remind us we should have paid more attention to current events.
The traits the word 'childish' addresses are seen so often in adults that we should abolish this age-discriminatory word when it comes to criticizing behavior associated with irresponsibility and irrational thinking.
The point of my work is to make it clear that all youth can make 'big miracles' happen.
I would love it if we made more comparisons between current issues and issues of the past. Maybe we'd realize that sometimes 'current issues' and 'past issues' are one and the same. Our world's people still fight over natural resources, kill in the name of religion, occupy regions and give them up – just as we did 'so long ago.'
A lot of negative words adults call the young, like 'naive,' 'impulsive' and 'way too connected online,' are all things we can turn into strengths to help us.
Success on the front of women's rights will look like a world not only with obvious advances – where no girl is denied access to education, for instance – but also one with more subtle changes in how we regard gender and gender stereotypes.
Since the age of four, I've been exploring what I can do with the written word: everything from championing literacy and youth voice to raising awareness about world hunger.
CEOs of top companies could probably use a dose of not-asking-for-raise behavior and less self-entitlement, rather than us trying to change girls in order to fit into the common mold of what we think a CEO looks like.
I would say that kids are great in many ways, because I think that we are less hampered when it comes to 'this costs too much' or 'that's impossible'.
The world needs opportunities for new leaders and new ideas. Kids need opportunities to lead and succeed. Are you ready to make the match? Because the world's problems shouldn't be the human family's heirloom.
Make sure that your kids or the kids in your life have an opportunity to share their ideas, and to teach you something about what we know.
It seems we're not only uninformed about our present, we're ignorant of our past.
We always reference kids but very rarely ask their opinion. Our inexperience might be what gives us the ability to teach our elders something, due to the fact that we are not jaded or cynical.
I realise I'm still a child, though I do feel older. I recently did an on-line test called 'What's Your True Age?' My result was 50-60 years old.
I think that my peers deserve more than products to buy wrapped up in advertising. We need ideas to share and causes to believe in – opportunities to lead and teach.
America, you're sending girls a mixed message. On one hand, you're saying to have positive body image and love who we are; on the other, we're being marketed makeup and clothing that obviously turns us into someone different.
Prom has all the elements of a popular story. It reeks of all-Americanness, tension, drama. It has romance. Pretty dresses. Dancing. Limos. High school. Coming of age.