(Photo: Tom Zytaruk) Muskan Virk, 10, reads her book 365 Days of Gratitude while her proud mom Meera Virk looks on

Surrey author, age 10, celebrates gratitude

Muskan Virk has already sold “probably 10,000” books so far, she says

How many 10-year-olds do you know who’ve written a book? None?

Meet Muskan Virk. The Panorama resident says she’s to date sold “probably 10,000” copies of her self-published book, 365 Days of Gratitude, and her book tours have taken her to signings in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, where she has an event this weekend.

She draws her inspiration, she says, from her mom Meera Virk, a life coach.

Muskan’s book was released in 2016. It’s based on her “gratitude journal,” which has 455 entries pared down to 365.

“It took me a year and a half. I started writing when I was six years old and I finished when I was seven, but the publishing process took a little while,” Muskan told the Now-Leader.

Her philosphy?

“Be grateful for everything around you and just have fun with your life, and don’t always be like ‘I have to do this and this and this. Be able to be like, ‘Ah, I’ll do that later.’

“And to be grateful for at least one thing every day. To be you, no matter what, and have fun in life. Also, if you have fear or hatred or anything that comes from fear, shed some love on it and it will become into love.

She has a publicist from Buffalo, New York, and her mom says they are entertaining publishing offers from some traditional publishing houses in the U.S.

“We’ve got some on the table,” Meera said. “We’re not in a rush. “They want to buy the rights for this one. Buffalo is doing a ‘Gratitude Day,’ the whole city, in honour of this little girl.”

Muskan is contemplating writing two more books, one on homelessness and the other on gender inequality.

365 Days of Gratitude was born out of a disturbing realization. Before her sixth birthday, her grandmother brought home a flyer from the Sikh temple she attended, from an organization creating awareness about gender inequality.

Muskan read it, and asked her mom to explain why some people seek to abort female fetuses because they prefer sons over daughters.

“Muskan, there are some people that prefer boys over girls,” Meera recalls telling her daughter. “And she’s like, ‘Oh, OK, and then what?’ I said, “Honey, they don’t like to have girls.’ She said, ‘Then what? What does it say, what does it say about it?’ She got curious. And I said, ‘You know Honey, then they don’t even let the girls (be) born. They take their right of birth.’ She’s like, ‘How?’ I said, ‘They kill them in the mommy’s tummy.’

“The minute I said that she started crying very heavily, and she just went upstairs in the bedroom.”

Meera sat beside her. Muskan asked her, “What right do they have to take a life away? This has to change, mom. It’s just not right – I have to do something about it.

“It’s not fair.”

Muskan wiped her eyes. The next day, she went to school and spoke with a teacher who does charity work. The teacher asked her to write about it in a daily journal, and she did. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Well, I was six years old so I’d wake up in the morning and eat breakfast, and then get ready and then go to school,” she said, describing her regimen. “I’d go to school, and look what I was grateful for, pick one thing I was grateful for, come home, write it down, go to bed.”

Here’s her entry for Day 1: “I’m thankful that my family believes in gender equality and that I’m welcomed and loved as a girl.”

Said Meera, “I told her, ‘Focus on what is good in your world.’”

Meera said her daughter is “a beautiful gift. She’s my inspiration now. My heartbeat that beats outside my heart. She’s a very special child.

“She has a purpose and she found that at a very young age,” Meera said. “What I see in the world right now, it’s so much chaos. It’s lack of love. Underneath, everybody’s wanting love.”

The Grade 5 student at Southridge, a private school in South Surrey, is also a self-described “Harry Potter freak” who earned a black belt in Tae kwon do last October.

“I like all subjects. I like school, overall,” she said.

When she’s older, Muskan says, she wants to continue to pursue the life of an inspirational speaker/writer, “but I also know that I want to go to Harvard. I think I want to take medicine there, and from there have my own business.”