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It was Bound to Happen: First Graders Publish a Book

What is it like to be a real author or illustrator? To find out, first graders set out to learn on the job. In their study of book-making in library, students learned about brainstorming, the parts of a story, and the editing process. At the end of one month, each boy had written his own creative story. The stories ranged in topic from sports-centered themes to original superhero tales, from sequels to their favorite books like “Captain Underpants” to companion stories where two boys included the same characters in their own fiction adventures.

For the second month of the project, each author became an illustrator for a friend’s story. “They worked so well together,” said Lower School Assistant Librarian Blair Exter. “They gave feedback, and they asked each other questions.”

Once all the stories and accompanying illustrations were complete, the grade held a contest to choose an illustration for the cover of its anthology, and then it was off to the presses! The book is now printed and on the shelf (unless it’s checked out, of course) at the Lower School Library, and copies are available for families to purchase through Studenttreasures Publishing.

But that’s not all! Studenttreasures holds a drawing among schools across the country that publish books through the company each month. For January 2024, when Gilman’s book was published, 10 winners were selected to receive grants — including Gilman. Exter said she will talk with the first graders about which books the library should purchase with the $100 grant money.

“I’m very proud of the boys. They put so much time and effort into the work that they put out,” Exter said. “Their dedication to the project and their excitement walking to class made me feel like we are doing something they will remember and they will enjoy and that’s the most important thing when fostering a love of reading.”


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