|Name Adora Svitak|
|Books Flying Fingers|
Parents John Svitak, Joyce Svitak
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Adora Svitak (born October 15, 1997 in Springfield, Oregon) is an American writer, public speaker, former child prodigy, and activist.
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- Early life
- Public speaking
- Writing and journalism
- Other work
- Awards and honors
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Svitak was born in Springfield. Her mother, Joyce, was a Chinese immigrant who grew up during the Cultural Revolution. Her father, John, studied physics and worked as a software engineer. She got her first computer at 4, and began to write short stories on it.
Svitak's February 2010 TED Talk, "What Adults Can Learn From Kids," has received over 4 million views to date on TED.com.
2015 Svitak addressed the National School Boards Association in an "Un-General" session, and followed up with an extended session on encouragement of writing and reading that is relevant to students.
From 2010 to 2013, Adora organized the annual TEDx (x = independently organized TED event) conference TEDxRedmond with an all-youth planning committee. The conference took place at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, WA. Over 700 people attended the inaugural conference in September 2010. Svitak said in a Microsoft interview that she hopes TEDxRedmond attendees are empowered by participating, adding, “I would love to see kids taking up issues that were important to them, whether it’s something that needs fixing at their school, or an environmental program that they’d like to start. I want them to see it’s OK to take action. As a kid, your voice is important. Use it.”
Writing and journalism
Svitak's first full-length novel, Yang in Disguise, which she began working on in 2006, was published on March 14, 2011 (ISBN 978-1460979976). She also served as a spokesperson for Verizon Reads campaign for literacy and edited a novella, The Pickpocket Princess. Her second book, Dancing Fingers, which her older sister Adrianna, who is a musician, helped write was published on April 30, 2008 (ISBN 978-1888045567).
From 2005–2009, Svitak was a Verizon Foundation Literacy Champion. In that capacity, she appeared on behalf of the Foundation alongside James Earl Jones at National Center for Family Literacy convention in Orlando, Florida and at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference (formerly the National Education Computing Conference). During the summer of 2012 Adora wrote scripts for, and appeared in, Google’s “Teach Teachers Tech” videos, modeled after the company’s “Teach Parents Tech” videos, promoting digital tools for use in education. From her Girls’ State of the Union address at the National Press Club to her 2014 speech at the Orange County Girls’ Conference at UC Irvine, Adora has publicly espoused feminist values. Forbes writer Denise Restauri wrote about Adora in an article titled “Is this 15-year-old Feminist a New Kind of Gloria Steinem in the Making?” In a later interview for Forbes commenting on the controversy around Sports Illustrated using Barbie as a cover girl, Adora said of the doll, “She encourages an unrealistic expectation of beauty grounded in narrow ideals – whiteness, thinness, a lack of hair and an abundance of breast tissue – instead of kindness, smarts, self-confidence, or athleticism.”
Awards and honors
In 2011, the National Education Association Foundation gave Adora their Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education. Past recipients include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, and Fred Rogers. The Huffington Post included her on their 2012 “18 under 18 Most Amazing Young People of the Year” list alongside athletes like Gabby Douglas and pop culture icons like Harry Styles. In her junior year of high school, Svitak was named a Redmond Rotary Club Student of the Month. Her “Girls’ State of the Union” video, submitted to a Women’s Media Center contest, took first place; subsequently, she spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. In 2013, Svitak was named a Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leader by the New York City-based We Are Family Foundation for her work organizing TEDxRedmond and raising awareness for the UN World Food Programme. As a Global Teen Leader, she participated in a week-long leadership summit in New York City in March 2013.