Most 17-year-olds can’t say that they’ve had two books published, but Hockaday student Juliette Turner can. The high school senior has written Our Constitution Rocks and a follow-up, Our Presidents Rock, before she’s even completed her college applications.
Our Constitution Rocks was published in 2012 when she was just 14 years old.
So how does a young teenager get so into history that she produces a book now used in the classrooms of some school districts?
“It’s kind of a roundabout story,” Turner said.
Her mother, actress Janine Turner, founded a nonprofit organization called Constituting America.
While Juliette was homeschooled in middle school, she acted as its youth director.
In addition to a youth contest called We the Future, the organization also holds a 90-day class for adults.
For her history project that year, Juliette was assigned to interpret each day’s part of the class into an essay for kids.
“In turn, I wrote 90 essays on the Constitution when I was in seventh grade,” Juliette said. Those essays then turned into the book, which was picked up by HarperCollins.
Today, Grapevine ISD uses the book as a textbook. Juliette and her mother also donate copies of the books to schools where they speak, such as the Barack Obama School for Male Leadership, thanks to a Fort Worth patron.
“It’s the idea of a kid talking to a kid,” Juliette said. “It’s kind of like, ‘If she’s interested in this, then I can be, too.’”
And that interest is something that goes back generations in her family.
Not only was her grandfather a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, her mother also shares her passion for American history.
“I’ve always had a love of the founding fathers since I was 8, which is a little strange,” the actress said. “I read The Five Thousand Year Leap and that stimulated the thought process. Juliette was 10, and on our ranch, we sat on the hammock and started reading the Constitution.”
After that first full reading together, they began listening to seminars, reading The Federalist Papers, and researching further.
All of that research then turned into Our Constitution Rocks and Our Presidents Rock.
“She was born with this love of country,” Janine said. “I kept thinking she would outgrow it, but she’s on this trajectory. It’s fascinating to watch.”
Though Juliette’s primary interest lies in nonfiction, constitutional law, and political science, she’s also got a fiction book coming out in February called That’s Not Hay in My Hair, loosely based on her experiences on the family ranch, which — get this — she was working on before the history books came along.
“I loved that too, because it was the first time I’d done fiction, and a lot of me is in it as well,” Juliette said.
It’s that inherent drive to pick up new projects that keeps Juliette going — and it’s also one of the things her mother admires watching.
“She has a heart for service, and I’m proud of that — her good, sweet heart,” Janine said. “She thrives on it.”