A group of Battle Creek Central High School students can now proudly call themselves published authors after penning children's books as part of a recent project-based learning initiative.
The fruits of the months-long effort were on full display Thursday as the high school students turned children's authors read their original works to second-grade and Pre-K students at Fremont International Academy.
Elementary students bounced eagerly from station to station, listening intently to each author while exploring the many vibrant illustrations of each piece.
But the moment was about much more than books. As evidenced by the frequent smiles and laughter, the visit provided a long-awaited confidence boost for each individual author.
"Seeing the (elementary kids) enjoy what (the students) produced, they are so excited," BCCHS teacher Shelley Samples, who oversaw the first-year project, said. "I love that, giving them that passion for reading, being excited about education and just their life and what they actually can do and accomplish."
The extensive project began earlier this year with students exploring the question: "What makes a good children's book?"
Through extensive research, which included reading a variety of children's books and even interviewing Dustin See's second-graders at Fremont, students developed their own ideas and set out to work writing and designing their own creations.
In his work "Walk in the Woods," BCCHS student Taz Ash invited students to join him and his dogs Duke and Milo on an outdoor journey.
"I love nature, so I decided to make a book about it," Ash said with a smile, pointing toward colorful renderings of his dogs
In the book's final pages, Ash encourages students to treat others as they wish to be treated while also reminding them they are "always loved, no matter what."
"Not all kids are told how much they’re loved," Ash said, admitting it's something every kid deserves to hear.
Classmate Nazeon "Naz" Kindred, who crafted a unique storyline of his own in "Brooke's Adventure Home," said his favorite part of the project was brainstorming with classmates to develop story ideas.
"The teamwork (aspect was the best)," he said, adding later, "I would (do it again)."
Battle Creek Public Schools Superintendent Kimberly Carter commended Samples and the students for their efforts.
“At BCPS, our North Star is literacy because it is the foundation for school success," Carter said in a statement. "It warms my heart to see the work of incredible teachers like (Shelley) Samples, empowering students to think and dream big and sharing the love of reading. I am thankful to all who participated to make this project a success."
Contact reporter Greyson Steele at email@example.com or 269-501-5661. Follow him on Twitter: G_SteeleBC
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Battle Creek Central students pen children's books