Cary Teenager Kali Bate Writes a Book That Benefits a Nonprofit

A love of music and desire to give back inspired Kali Bate to write a children’s book with proceeds benefiting KidzNotes.

As told to Ayn-Monique Klahre

Kali Bate, a sophomore at Cary Academy, is a talented violinist and now an author, too. She recently published Bailey Brings Her Friends Together with Music, the story of a young girl who uses music to solve a conflict. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to KidzNotes, a local organization that empowers children through music—kids who, she hopes, will learn to love to play and listen to music as much as Bate does herself. Here’s what she told us.

How did you get into music?

I’ve been playing the violin seriously since I was three and a half. Actually, this January, I performed as a soloist with the NC Symphony for the first time. I love chamber music, that’s my passion. I play solo and I spend hours a day practicing, and my summers are all about chamber music—I’ve traveled to California and Maine to practice it.

So did the idea for the book come from your own life?

Obviously music is huge and important part of my life, but I’m also on the speech and debate team at school. There was a speech that inspired me by Nicola Benedetti—she’s a famous violinist—about her work with the El Sistema music program. It struck a chord. I decided I wanted to help a local organization that helps disadvantaged children. KidzNotes helps kids to thrive, and I wanted to write a book about the unifying power of music for children. I have been so fortunate and affected by music and music education, so I was hoping that selling my book to raise money would make a difference for another kid. Ever since I was a kid, I believed that music is a powerful language, so I decided that I wanted to write about that.

What’s the book about?

The book is about a seven-year-old kid named Bailey who goes to Rockefeller Center. She brought her skates, and she’s about to start skating, when across the rink she sees some kids fighting over the last pair of rental skates. She tries to break it up, but everyone is speaking a different language. Then she hears music far away and finds a string quartet and enlists them to help break up the fight. So the quartet goes to the skating rink and starts playing music, and she hands the kids maracas. The are struck by the music and stop fighting, and soon they’re all playing music together.

Is this based on a real life story?

No! But I’ve been to Rockefeller Center, though I didn’t get to ice skate.

Any advice for other people your age who want to write a book?

I think it has to be something you really believe. You have to have such a passion for what you want to share, otherwise it won’t come across or relate to the people you’re benefiting. You have to share your love and passion. I wrote this in November and published it in May. The writing part was very straightforward because I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I searched a while to find the right artists and graphic designers for the book, then I published it through Amazon’s self-publishing platform.

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