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Confidence-boosting books from local authors draw crowds

Forest Hills — Enthusiasm for reading was already through the (outdoor tent) roof recently at Ada Vista Elementary’s Scholastic book fair. A trio of district authors who read, signed and sold their own confidence-boosting books made the event all the more celebratory.

Northern High senior Lexy Gregory felt like a rock star reading her bilingual children’s book, “Fear Fighter” (“Luchador Terror” in Spanish). 

Lexy wrote and illustrated the pocket-size book her freshman year. Drawing on her own struggles with anxiety as a child, it centers on coping with anxiety, and even turning it into a superpower. 

Students’ overwhelming reaction to the book during the fair “definitely made me feel really good” about having written it, Lexy said. “I just want kids to understand what anxiety is, and to learn that they can see it as a strength.”

Laura Schuler, first-grade teacher at Ada Vista, read from her book, “Yes You Can, Raeann!” Inspired by her grandmother’s life, the book has a simple and powerful lesson about confidence and being true to one’s self.

Jenn Gregory, art teacher at Ada Vista and Lexy’s mother, read from her book, “The Test.” Gregory wrote and illustrated the book about COVID-19 and how to talk with kids and find hope. 

Schuler and Gregory are both longtime Ada Vista teachers and both self-published their books since the pandemic began.

“We both love books, art and inspiring kids,” Schuler said. “We are excited to share the message of our books (and) are hoping that we can inspire a new generation of authors at Ada Vista.”

Explore more unique video stories of students learning, interesting school programs and educators working to help all children succeed.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Kent ISD, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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