‘Kyodi’s Great Adventure’: La Jolla teen Emerson Rota writes his first book

The graphic novel "Kyodi's Great Adventure" is the first book by La Jollan Emerson Rota, 13.
(Courtesy of Vincent Gumina)

A La Jolla teenager has spun his imagination into a published book and is already planning its sequels.

Emerson Rota, 13, published “Kyodi’s Great Adventure” in early December. Aimed at audiences in the young adult genre, the book is about a character named Kyodi who lives in a treehouse and visits a “giant castle he never knew existed,” Emerson said.

Kyodi “immediately is drawn to the gold” in the castle, Emerson said, and “eventually breaks in and he steals the gold.”

Emerson Rota attends Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla and enjoys writing in English class.
Emerson Rota attends Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla and enjoys writing in English class.
(Courtesy of Vincent Gumina)

However, Emerson said, “there are casualties — one lonely person” is hurt in the process. Kyodi takes the person home with him “and ends up being great friends with him.”

Emerson’s older brother Vincent Gumina, a Pasadena resident who is an English major at Southern New Hampshire University and helped Emerson edit and publish the book, said the story also is “based on a moral dilemma,” with Kyodi making a choice to help someone.

Emerson, a seventh-grader at Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla, wrote “Kyodi’s Great Adventure” as a graphic novel, with illustrations by freelance artist Samin Yasar, a contact of Gumina’s.

Emerson said he’s “been wanting to write this book for a while now” but didn’t know how to make it a reality.

He said Gumina offered to work on the book with him. “I wrote down everything and he sent it to the illustrator,” Emerson said. The entire project took about three months to complete.

“It all just kind of came together really quite fast,” Emerson said. “I’m really happy about it.”

Gumina said “the writing aspect was the fastest part; collaborating with the artist back and forth” took the most time.

Emerson said the entire idea for “Kyodi’s Great Adventure” sprung from a picture he drew of a “guy [who] was worn down and rustic-looking.” He said he often writes short stories inspired by images.

“I write a lot of stories in my English class,” he said. “They’re all based on a picture [given out by] my English teacher.

“I just really like the stories that I write [in class] and I think I do pretty well with them. So I decided to jump up to a book.”

When he’s not writing, Emerson plays football or guitar and spends time with friends and enjoying the ocean. But he’s already mulling over his next publications.

“I want to write a couple more books,” he said. “At least I want to be able to express my feelings into books and just really become a good writer.”

Emerson said he’s working on a second, and possibly a third, book “based around Kyodi and his journeys throughout life.”

Gumina said the next books will see Kyodi “facing moral dilemmas and processing his emotions.”

To buy “Kyodi’s Great Adventure,” visit