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The City Journals

Grant Elementary students to be published—book expected in mid-April

Apr 07, 2021 11:36AM ● By Julie Slama

Grant’s peer leadership team, representing all of the elementary’s students, are writing and illustrating the book, “Stronger Together,” to represent the school year. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Mia Hathorn represents her fourth-grade class on Grant Elementary’s Peer Leadership Team.

That means she listens to their ideas and brings them back to her team and at the same time, shares with them what the team is doing and how the class can participate. 

Right now, that has meant the PLT team soon will become published authors and illustrators as they have collaborated with her classmates to create pages in the school’s book, “Stronger Together.”

“We did an experiment in class where we tore one piece of paper, which was easy to rip, but when we tore a stack, it was harder,” she said. “One student remembered that, and we liked it. It was creative and outside the box.”

So, on one page, Mia will illustrate the class idea and on another, write how they are “stronger together” like that stack of paper.

Each class will be represented in the book as well as those students studying online this year, said Sierra Marsh, school PLT adviser and social worker.

“It was a fun way to have our students identify with one another and unite,” she said about tying in their ideas with the school’s theme for the year.

Creating a book was the idea of Student Advocate Lindsay Preece, who saw it on Facebook. 

“I felt it was a fun thing and one that can make the kids become stronger,” she said.

The book, published by Student Treasures, provided students with an outline and samples of other published books.  

“We have just let the students take the rein on how they wanted their pages to look like,” Marsh said about the process that began in the fall. Marsh said the book process has been a positive experience, so she plans to have each PLT coordinate a book each school year. 

It also has brought much excitement to the 13-member PLT team and to the school as the students work together to create their pages, Marsh said as she helped students edit their pages or give suggestions on illustrations before they needed to submit them to the publisher in mid-March.

Fourth-graders Anna Patrick and Lorealye Martin were working together as were the bees they were illustrating.

“One bee can only collect a little bit of pollen, but a colony of bees can get a lot,” Anna said as she drew 17 bees to represent each of the students in her class.

Lorealye added: “We work together in our community, just like the bees, no matter what.”

Nearby fifth-grader Felicity Price was trying to put together words to illustrate the strength of her class while fourth-grader Lyla Andreen was writing what kindergartners wanted their spread to include.

Classmate Mallory Fait was working on the first-graders’ pages based on a book they read in their class about filling their bucket.

“I always wanted to write a book and have it be published,” Mallory said. “I’ve learned so much from PLT. These kids are so much fun and they’re so smart.”

Sixth-grader Brooke Facer interviewed second-graders and decided to use their ideas about working together like a school of fish. She wrote a page, then was sketching the sea in her illustration idea before returning to the younger classroom to have each of them draw their own fish to be included on the spread.

“I was able to include many of their ideas in my write up and I thought it was right to include their artwork as well,” she said. “This book is really a fun idea, and I’ve really become closer with the second-graders. It has definitely brought us stronger together during COVID.”

Brooke hopes to purchase a book as a reminder of her PLT year as well as a reminder how her school bonded during the pandemic.

Grant Elementary’s books will be available for purchase—$20 soft-cover or $25 for hard-cover. The school, which will have one copy available in the library, has order forms. 

“Stronger Together” should be released in mid-April.