(Fox News) — As she signed copies of her book on Saturday, 17-year-old author Olivia Rodrigo of Portland, Ore., told Fox News she was thrilled to read her life story to a crowd.
“This is one of my favorite books, so I came out with the tour to represent my book,” Rodrigo said.
Rodrigo has been touring the country, visiting various bookstores and reading excerpts from her memoir “The Whisper Whisperer.” Her written story follows her middle-school years, when the bullying she suffered for her Latino background motivated her to speak up on her own behalf.
“I was called ‘smelly,’ the only one who wasn’t Mexican and I just wanted to make up for it,” Rodrigo said of her first experience with the bullying. “It [bullying] brought me more awareness to myself.”
Later in high school, Rodrigo started by telling her own story as part of a student-led theater project. The teacher who heard the story encouraged her to write a book, though she at first was hesitant.
“I was a teenager, and I was considering how it was going to affect my parents and my friends because I was going to tell my story and not only that, but about the Latino community,” Rodrigo said.
In her book, she refers to her mother, who she says brought her up by teaching her to be “peaceful” and never give up. Her main character in the book, Rose, starts at the bottom and works her way up to success.
“I wanted to talk about hope for the future because sometimes things are not going the way we want to do,” Rodrigo said. “But sometimes we just have to change in order to get somewhere.”
In the book, Rodrigo told her readers that it is a wonderful thing to be proud of who you are and your culture.
“I think that we as Americans, and as Latinos, we can learn from our parents, and we can try to make it in the world,” Rodrigo said. “It’s not easy, but it’s possible and it’s so beautiful to see someone that you know that is very proud of who they are.”
Rodrigo is also an accomplished musician. She plays trumpet in a group called the Ladymashster, and continues to make music with her mother.
Rodrigo said she hopes her book can inspire and motivate teenagers to be themselves.
“I am very excited to know that we have something for them that can show that it’s okay to be yourself,” Rodrigo said. “It’s okay to be different.”
“The Whisper Whisperer” has received international attention, including in the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, and Italy.
Rodrigo was selected as the youngest author to participate in the “Would You Put Your Name on This Book?” project at the 2018 NYC Book Fest, which celebrated authors between 18 and 25 years old.
Rodrigo has also been asked to participate in a book tour through Spain and in Mexico.