MEDFORD — Jenna McLaughlin, a 17-year-old from Medford, is not only the most recent winner of Miss Massachusetts’ Outstanding Teen, but also an accomplished writer. During the pandemic, she wrote a children’s book against bullying.
“I wanted to write a book because growing up, when I was bullied, I always read books to escape,” she said.
McLaughlin was bullied throughout his life. She says she’s always been a bit taller, taller, and into different hobbies than other kids.
“When I was younger, my first day in second grade, I was pushed down the stairs. I was pushed against a tree and a fence, a metal fence,” she said.
She changed schools three times because the bullying was so bad. Her book, “Roxanne Takes a Stand,” aims to teach children, and especially young girls, to be kind to one another by standing up to bullying.
“I think I want the girls to know that we have to stick together. We have to support each other,” McLaughlin said.
Now the 17-year-old walks around libraries and schools reading her book to children. In addition to the captivating book, her Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen crown and sash certainly help keep their attention.
“Roxanne is the person I wish I had when I was being bullied. I wish someone was Roxanne to me, even if I was Roxanne to other people.”
Jenna wrote the first draft of the book on her phone and drew the cover in a notebook. Now his books are self-published through Amazon and local bookstores.
“This [book] is exactly what I imagined, so it was so cool to finally see it all done. It was crazy.”
What’s even crazier, she says, if she could go back, she wouldn’t change a thing.
“If I could go back in time, I would still be bullied because I think it made me stronger.”