BROOKSVILLE — Using her younger sister as her inspiration, a Hernando County teen has written a book of advice for young adolescents.
Someday My Prince Will Come was self-published in October by Ariel Lenart as "big sister encouragement for preteens."
"The book is about relationships, friends and self-image," said Lenart, 18. "It talks about when the right time is to date and pursue a (serious) relationship."
Lenart chose the fairy tale-related book title and chapter headings.
"It's girly," she said. "Girls like princesses and princes."
The book is short, just 50 pages. There are eight chapters, all of which direct a young girl toward sexual abstinence.
"People can choose what they want to do, but the Bible says to wait. There are people out there that are choosing purity," Lenart said. "I have friends who are about to get married, and both have chosen to wait. So it's possible."
Questions answered by Lenart at the end of the book include: Is it okay to like a guy? What age is it okay to date? I already blew it, now what? Is it okay to be friends with guys?
Lenart's final word of advice: "Always trust God in all you do, and turn to him especially in your pursuit for purity. Even when it gets tough, don't give up. You can do it!"
Cami Lenart said she was "surprised and happy" to learn that her older sibling had dedicated the book to her. Being 13 years old is "kind of tough nowadays," she said, so the book has been helpful.
"A lot of the things she's covered, I've had doubts about," Cami said. "The book shows you to be yourself. If you don't want to date, don't date."
Some of her friends have read the book as well.
"I've shown the book around my school," Cami said, "and a lot of my friends think it's pretty cool."
Ariel Lenart was in sixth grade when she took a course called "Passport to Purity" through the church she was attending at the time. She was given a necklace with the words "True love waits" on it. She decided to make similar dog tag-style necklaces to hand out with copies of her book. Hers include a Scripture reference.
"We decided to put 2 Timothy 2:22 on them," Lenart said. "The verse says to 'flee from the evil desires of your youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.' "
Sexual abstinence is promoted by Women of Purpose conferences hosted by an organization called Strive for Greatness. Deborah Yoerg, owner of the organization, has asked Lenart to speak at the non-denominational, Christian conference in Tampa in May.
"She's an inspiration," Yoerg said. "She's just a young girl who wrote a book and is standing on what she believes, which is God's word and God leading her to be abstinent, and that's huge."
Yoerg hopes Lenart will be an inspiration to other teens at the conference.
Lenart already has experience speaking to groups and one-on-one with middle-school girls. At her church, Grace World Outreach in Brooksville, she served as an intern, working on the leadership team with the church's Ground Zero ministry, where she was a co-leader of Bible studies and discussion groups.
Lenart feels strongly about her ministry and hopes to pursue more opportunities as a conference speaker. She is available to speak to other church groups as well. Meanwhile, she is finishing her senior year of high school at home and plans to attend Pasco-Hernando Community College.
Sales of the book have gone well. More than 100 have been sold through Lenart's website, Amazon, individually and at a book signing earlier this month. Another book signing is scheduled for Wednesday at the Tilted Teacup Tea Room and Boutique in Brooksville.
The online price is $10.95; at book signings, the price is $10. The necklace is free with each book purchase.
"I've gotten good feedback," Lenart said. "People that have read it have told me that they loved it. I've had a few girls come up to me and say they would look at their dog tag, and it would remind them when a temptation would come — 'This is why I'm waiting, because true love waits.' "
Joyce Chiavaroli has known Ariel Lenart since she was 8.
"I've watched Ariel grow up (in Deerfield Estates, south of Brooksville), and she is a beautiful young lady," said Chiavaroli, who is known in her community for her philanthropic endeavors. "She wrote this book, and I was thrilled with it when I read it. It was wholesome. It was great."
Chiavaroli has been passing out copies of the book at local churches and youth groups.
"A lot of kids wouldn't have gotten in the trouble they've gotten into if they'd had something like this to look at beforehand," Chiavaroli said. "I think kids need to know this. I thought every kid should have gotten one in their (Christmas) stocking."