Comox Valley secondary students become children's book authors

GRADE 12 G.P. VANIER student Cassidy Nairn reads to Alice at Little Friends Early Learning Centre from a book she co-created. - Renee Andor
GRADE 12 G.P. VANIER student Cassidy Nairn reads to Alice at Little Friends Early Learning Centre from a book she co-created.
— image credit: Renee Andor

Two G.P. Vanier Secondary classes teamed up to collaboratively create and publish children's books.

When finished, the books were presented to kids in the Little Friends Early Learning Centre located at the school. Grade 11 student Tabi Wall enjoyed the experience from start to finish.

"I thought it was fantastic. It was so fun," says Wall. "A lot of us are really proud of what we did."

Creative writing teacher Megan Haut and art teacher Barb Mareck joined their classes together for the project in second term, which wrapped up last month.

Students were grouped into pairs featuring one writer and one illustrator, and each pair worked together to create a children's book.

Students first read children's books to kids in Little Friends to see which books were popular with the children. They then worked together to come up with their idea, and create the books.

Though the classes were separate, they joined together throughout the term to work on this project. As well, a local illustrator and a local children's book writer shared their knowledge with the students as guest speakers.

Wall, who was the writer in her group, says she is considering a career as a writer and the information the guest speakers shared was very useful.

She and Grade 12 art student Haley Dirnback created Six Crayons and a Paintbrush, which tells the story of a young boy finding colour.

"Our story's about a little boy and he lives in this world full of no colour at all, and he turns his head and he finds this red crayon, and he starts drawing," says Wall. "And then slowly as the book progresses he starts finding the colours of the rainbow in these crayons."

The boy faces a problem later in the story, but he overcomes it and is in a colourful world at the end.

School administration paid for some of the books to be printed, and those books were given to Little Friends last week so they can be read to children into the future. A few students read to the children from books they had created before handing the stories over to the eager-looking kids.

The teachers were pleased with how well the books turned out, with Haut noting they will likely do a similar project again next year.

"I think we set them a very challenging task and there were times when I thought, 'I don't know if they're up to it,' but the end, results were really, really good, so we were happy we did it," she says, adding the project helped developed the students' ability to work with others, and some pairs didn't know each other beforehand because the project involved two classes.

"So, I think that was really good for the kids in terms of, not just getting to the end result, but having that chance to collaborate."


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