Teenage fantasy author Alessia Dickson tells students to follow their dreams

Alessia Dickson, 17, caught the writing bug young and now as a published author the Toronto teenager is hoping to spread the fever to others.

Recently published young author tells students anything is possible

Alessia Dickson 17, is the author of The Crystal Chronicles, a young adult fantasy novel. (CBC News)

Alessia Dickson caught the writing bug young and now, as a published author, the Toronto teenager is hoping to spread the fever to others.

The 17-year-old finished writing a 336-page young adult fantasy book called The Crystal Chronicles last year, but the characters have been with her much longer.

"The characters are kind of like my friends because they've been there since I was 10. As I got older and older the characters ... started to grow up with me so the story's very familiar," Dickson told CBC Toronto. 

The Chrystal Chronicles, published last year, is the culmination of six years work. Author Alessia Dickson plans four more books in the series. (CBC News)

The book tells the story of 16-year-old heroine Alyssa Brooks, who thinks she's just like any normal high school kid.

But through a series of events she finds out she's part of this supernatural group that uses crystals to harness the powers of the elements. She and her friends must travel the world to collect four crystals and save the world.

Dickson says now that the book is out there and getting great reviews, she can't think of doing anything else.
"I pretty much can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer, so ever since I could hold a pencil I've been writing stories, poems. It's just all I ever wanted to do,".

Alessia Dickson, 17, speaks to students at Romeo Dallaire Public School in Maple, not just about her book but realizing their dreams. (CBC News)

The Emily Carr Secondary School student has also become a literacy advocate. Dickson travels to different schools and speaks to students, not just about writing but anything the want to achieve.

"A lot of kids don't realize their own potential that they have and what they're capable of, so talking to them about my journey and the things that I've achieved can kind of inspire them to go after their own dreams," Dickson says.

"I always tell them it doesn't have to be writing. It could be arts or sports or even dance or anything as long as you have the  passion and the drive to work at it you can pretty much achieve anything."

Ethan Merisanu, student at Romeo Dallaire Public School in Maple, loved the book and says knowing Dickson began writing it when she was 10 is inspiring. (CBC News)

Her father, John Dickson, says she's visited more than 20 schools in Vaughan speaking to hundreds of students about how she became an author and why she wanted to do it.

"This is what she loves to do. This is not work for her. It's a passion. A love. And you can see it when she does her presentations how much passion she has for it," he says.

She ends her presentation by reading an excerpt from The Crystal Chronicles and he says more than a few students come away inspired.

Ethan Merisanu listened to Alessia Dickson's reading at Romeo Dallaire Public School in Maple.

"A lot of the students see that she did this at their age," he said. "I learned that you shouldn't give up on your dreams. If you want to write a book you can. It might take you a long time, but it's still going to be worth it in the end."


Philip Lee-Shanok

Senior Reporter, CBC National News

From small town Ontario to Washington D.C., Philip has covered stories big and small. An award-winning reporter with three decades of experience in Ontario and Alberta, he's now a Senior Reporter for the National Network based in Toronto. His stories are on CBC Radio's World Report, World This Hour, World at Six and The World This Weekend as well as CBC TV's The National and CBC News Online. Follow him on Twitter @CBCPLS.