From journaling on notecards to essays to a published book at the age of 9, Louisville’s own Prisha Hedau chronicled the past year in hopes of helping young people through these unusual and often challenging times. Prisha was inspired to write her book, Pandemic 2020: A 9 Year Old’s Perspective - Practical Tips for Online School, Hobbies, and Healthy Habits during COVID-19, from watching the news and daily updates from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “I began writing note-cards because I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I wanted to remember what I did on a daily basis,” says Prisha. Her parents, Raj and Rachana, encouraged her to turn the notes into essays. “So I sat at the dining table and just started writing.” Those essays then became chapters.

“I never realized until writing that I would be able to put my perspective, emotions, feelings, and thought processes into a book,” explains Prisha. But the writing process was not always easy. “Now, I will respect every single book I read. I realize the effort the author and illustrator put into their work.” Her favorite author is J.K. Rowling, and her favorite book is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Prisha first checked the books out from the school library, then saw all the movies and acquired her own copies. She enjoys comics as well.

Now ten years old, Prisha reflects on her recent struggles. “We are not socializing as much as we used to. We are not in school. We aren’t spending time with our friends. We can’t travel the world.” But Prisha found that if she made herself a schedule every day and stuck to it, her routines helped her feel better. “If I for- got, my day would go lopsided.”

In managing her online schooling, Prisha developed tips she found helpful and brainstormed ideas to produce more. As for the rest of her time, Prisha tried to maintain a positive attitude with the mantra, “I am happy that I am safe at home.” In addition to state and national rankings in Chess and Math Kangaroo competitions, she fills after-school hours and weekends with painting, dance, and some time out- doors. Prisha picked up painting in the past year because she found it calming. She has been dancing in different styles and swimming since age 4.

Following her book’s publication, Prisha also had a plan for the proceeds from her book sales. She split the money into three areas: her education fund, fun activities for celebrating the book release, and helping people in need. Through her contributions to Dare to Care Food Bank, Prisha provided 1050 Thanksgiving meals and 1000 meals at Christmas time. She also donated $500 to the Team Kentucky Fund.

Prisha plans to spend 2021 “developing ideas” for future projects. She is already well-represented on multiple social media platforms (with her parents’ careful supervision) and creates self-choreographed dance routines for her TikTok and YouTube channel. Prisha loves technology and even developed her own website. Beyond this year, she is careful not to limit her choices. “Your personality changes as you get older. But my favorite subjects in school are math, technology, and social studies.”

Whatever she decides, Prisha has strong role models, such as her parents and Michelle Obama, to help shape her future vision. “I learn what I can from them and then take that and add it to myself.” Prisha is also inspired by Vice President Kamala Harris and a quote from her election victory speech, “I may be the first, but won’t be the last.” Prisha also looks up to Indian actresses and music artists Madhuri Dixit and Priyanka Chopra for their artistry and activism. Prisha was recently certified by India’s World Records Foundation as “Youngest Girl Author to Publish a First Non-Fiction Book on Pandemic 2020.”