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Local author hits #1 on the New York Bestseller’s list

Mar 30, 2023 08:23AM ● By Verlene Johnson

Jennifer Nielsen talks to students at the MMS assembly about her best selling book. Courtesy photo

When Jennifer Nielsen first started her writing career, she set her sights on a few goals that she hoped to reach one day. “Ten years ago, I set a goal to one day hit number one on the New York Times Bestseller List,” said Nielsen. “I knew it would be difficult, but I also believed that if I kept writing and finding ways to improve, eventually I would get there.”

Nielsen reached her goal making number one on the New York Times Best seller list in March for Children's Middle Grade Hardcover, only weeks after her book “Iceberg” hit bookshelves. “I got the news from my editor while in a grocery store with my husband. I think I might’ve cried, but I hardly cared.” Later that evening, Nielsen said she sat down to make a new goal.

While this list measures the number of sales in a given week, reflecting how many people bought a certain book that week as compared to every other book for sale in its category, Nielsen says that there are many amazing books that never hit number one or never hit the list at all.

Nielsen visits MMS

When Morgan Middle School invited Nielsen to come visit their school and talk to the students, they had no idea they would be listening to that week’s number one bestseller author. On Wednesday, March 22, Nielsen spoke to young writers who have their own stories to tell. “It’s an honor to be invited to speak anywhere with young readers, but never more of an honor than in your own town,” said Nielson. “I thought the students there were among the finest I’ve ever met, especially in terms of their respect, enthusiasm and their excitement to learn a few stories from history.”

Ben Hoffman, an eighth grader at MMS said, “I thought it was a really neat experience. She told us to never give up no matter what happens. She inspired me to aim high or go home.”

“I thought it was really cool to meet the New York Times Best Seller author,” said eighth grader Quentin Johnson. “She inspired me to keep writing and to follow my dreams.” 

In life, we make decisions based on the goals we hope to achieve. So I believe that everyone should have at least one crazy, big dream because we rarely achieve higher than the biggest goal we can imagine for ourselves,” said Nielsen. “It is possible to achieve nearly anything in life if we believe we can do it, take the steps to do it and never give up, even if the pursuit of that goal takes years. In my case, more than a decade.”

This is not the first time Nielsen has been on the New York Times Best sellers list. These books include those such as “The False Prince” series, “Line of Courage.” Additionally, others of Nielsen's books have made it on USA Today bestselling list and have also received the Whitney Award.

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