Aubrey Ortiz ’09 never imagined that five years after graduation she would have published her first book. Especially not one she wrote with her 8-year-old sister, Eliana.
Princess Diana and the Magic Light Beam started as a small project while Aubrey was babysitting Eliana for a couple weeks. As someone with high-functioning autism, Eliana needed a project to focus on for short periods of time — and she loves to draw.
When the book was complete, their father surprised the girls by self-publishing it.
In Princess Diana and the Magic Light Beam, when the main character, Princess Diana discovers that she is not, in fact, the most beautiful girl in the world, she goes on a journey to try to become the most beautiful. Along the way she meets a wise old woman who sends her off in search of the Magic Light Beam.
Upon finding the Magic Light Beam, Princess Diana is turned into an ant. Princess Diana then goes on a quest to become human again. Along the way, she meets special characters who teach her the meaning of true beauty.
Eliana spends most of her time drawing, and she had “hundreds and hundreds of drawings of Princess Diana,” Aubrey said.
Aubrey gave most of the credit for the story to Iliana, saying that she only “took her ideas and made it so that others could understand them.”
“Eliana’s thoughts were scattered, as a kid, but especially as a kid with autism,” she said.
When she is not working as a gymnastics coach in Oahu, Hawai‘i, Aubrey is working to make Princess Diana and the Magic Light Beam available in her local libraries and elementary schools. Currently Princess Diana and the Magic Light Beam is only available to order online in hard copy or as an e-book.
Aubrey said the experience has reinforced Eliana’s desire to become a book illustrator — and it’s been a joy for Aubrey to see her sister’s dream come true.