By Kenneth Goh
SHE is just five years old, but Nyla Esman is already a published author.
This is how it happened. Her mother reads a story to her every night. But one night Nyla said she wanted to tell a story instead.
Sick of wolves being portrayed in a negative light, Nyla made up a story about how a wolf befriends a girl in the woods.
When Nyla fell asleep, her mother, Madam Nura J, 27, a home-based tuition teacher who was a New Paper New Face finalist in 2002, wrote down the story and edited it.
The former primary school teacher then asked an ex-student to provide the illustrations for the book. Muhammad Khilfie, 12, completed the illustrations within three days. Colouring took another week.
Nyla's aunt, Madam Netty Mattar, a postgraduate English Literature tutor, vetted the story. Nyla herself made decisions on how each character should look, right down to the hairstyle and clothes.
The result: A book titled The Big Good Wolf.
"Storytelling is a good way to unleash a child's creativity," said Madam Nura.
And, thanks to mobile phone maker HTC's "Celebrate Me" contest, Nyla will get to celebrate her achievement with a book party.
The contest called for people to tell HTC about an event or person they wish to celebrate. The top 10, voted by the public, won celebration packs worth up to $1,000.
Nyla and the other winners will receive their prizes at a party at Zirca tonight. Madam Nura had chanced upon the contest on Twitter.
The former Suria artiste decided to participate - just a day before the contest closed on June 18.
She submitted a photograph of herself, Nyla and her businessman husband Mohamed Esman, 40, calling themselves "The Dream Team" and wrote about her daughter's achievement.
The book had been published on May 24 to mark Nyla's fifth birthday.
Apart from the story, it features interactive elements like spaces for readers to draw and imagine alternative endings for different characters.
"This allows budding writers to create their ideas for new stories," said Madam Nura.
Reading has always been an essential part of Nyla's life. Madam Nura recalled reading to her daughter even when she was pregnant.