Isabella Sementilli recalls how a prank changed her life at just 13 years old.
"Everything I loved to do was gone in one instant; tap dance, tennis, even running around was now very distanced," she said.
A chair pulled out from under her by a classmate left her with debilitating migraines and other injuries. But it also left her with something else: a passion to end bullying.
Her mission started with a simple cookie recipe sold at Scotties, her father's restaurant. It managed to rake in some dough for anti-bullying charities, but then Isabella got another sweet idea.
"I started just to draw what happened to me," she said.
Before long, her book "One Tough Cookie" started to take shape. Through each illustration and phrase, she began to turn the page on the negative effects of bullying.
"I never thought that with all the pain and circumstances that I was in, I would ever publish a book," Sementilli said.
She credits her family and faith as the main ingredients to her success.
The book sells for $12.95, and is available at Scotti’s; Amazon.com; Troy Book Makers, the Niskayuna Co-op; Connor's Church Goods in Latham; The Potter Hill Barn in Hoosick Falls; Market Block Books in Troy; The Book House in Guilderland; and the bookstore at Schenectady County Community College.