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Buckley Students Get Book Deal

Two Buckley Country Day School 2013 graduates, Angelique Simeone and Nefes Pirzada, age 14, co-authored and published a book entitled “Young Equestrian: Something in Common.” The book is now a success, with the help of Mrs. Barbara Thomas, their English teacher in fifth and sixth grade, as well as their fifth-grade advisor. Thomas also serves as the “Odyssey of the Mind” advisor, and coordinator of Buddy Program.

The horse lovers have been best friends since 3rd grade. This book was born out of a creative writing assignment given by Thomas in the fifth grade.

Each girl wrote a separate story about a young female protagonist and her love for horses. After the assignment, they both continued writing independently until they got together and realized the stories combined would create a great book.

Angelique wrote chapters centered on Lilian, one of two main characters, and Neffes wrote chapters for the other, Kate. They often got together to discuss and edit each other’s work, and that process continued all through their fifth-grade year.

In seventh grade, Angelique and Neffes presented Thomas with a completed 191-page manuscript. The two aspiring authors asked her to revise the manuscript and help them get it published.             

Thomas, who was enthusiastic, looked into publishing companies. She found Trafford Publications, which both prints and publishes books. The publisher was delighted with the storyline and inspired by the girls’ ambition.

“The fictitious book is packed with mystery, excitement, and drama, with the common motif of friendship,” Angelique explained. “It is about two girls who are from Michigan. The two don’t meet until they get accepted into an elite NYC school. Growing up as country girls, they both have a strong love for horses, and they both face common teenage struggles as well as the major struggle of losing their horses.”

The front cover of the novel was designed by Trafford Publishing. The look of the cover was important to the two girls, and they spent hours debating on what image to feature. At the end, they chose two identical girls with two identical horses, symbolizing how much the two main characters had in common.

 “We chose to obscure the two girls’ features because we wanted the reader to come up with how the two characters looked rather than us,” Nefes said. “The sunset was to show the beauty in the two girls’ lives, even though they faced so much hardship.”

From their huge accomplishment, the two authors have become well-known in Buckley. At their eighth-grade Academic Award Ceremony both girls received a Barbara Cooney Writer of the Year Award, and they had a book signing at their eighth grade book fair. They hope to be an inspiration to others who want to get their work published.

Thomas is especially thrilled about the girls’ accomplishments. “The girls are a great example to others,” she said. “They believed that their idea for this book was a good one, and with hard work, they took the time to develop it and to see this story published for other young people to enjoy.”

Headmaster Dr. Jean-Marc Juhel is also very proud of the young authors. “Angelique and Nefes are outstanding writers,” he said. “Being an excellent writer at age 14 is one thing, but sticking to the discipline it takes to actually co-author a novel and get it published is simply remarkable.” 

Both Angelique and Nefes plan to continue writing together as well as independently in the future. The authors dedicated their book to Thomas who was their “lifeblood” in pulling together the novel: “It wasn’t for her we would have never come up with the novel, and if it wasn’t for her work we would have never gotten it published.”  

Angelique and Nefes plan on publishing a series based on “Young Equestrian.” Currently, the authors are working on a book called, “Young Equestrian: The Hunter and the Hunted,” a continuation of the story of Lilian and Kate.

“Young Equestrian: Something in Common” book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble,, and at