• Junior Rylee Kovalick reads a book she wrote and illustrated to first-grader Kyle Visser
  • Questionnaires filled out by first-graders were the basis for books written by high-schoolers just for them
  • High school language arts teacher Lindsay Bredin hands books out to Bushnell first-graders that were written by her students

For Every Child a Special Story

High Schoolers’ Tales Tailored for First-graders

by Morgan Jarema  

What if you told someone your favorite food and color; what kinds of stories you like to read; and whether you consider yourself brave, shy or funny; and based on your answers, a book was written just for you?

Susan Pomper's first-graders at Bushnell Elementary don't have to wonder.

Madison Taylor likes ice cream and chocolate, and her favorite color is maroon. Olivia Sage is fond of farm animals. And Roman Marsh is all about superheroes.

They and their classmates were matched with high school students in Lindsay Bredin's introduction to creative writing class who had at least a few similar interests. Every day for about two weeks, they pored over the questionnaires and came up with books of from 12 to 24 pages that they wrote and illustrated that were inspired by their pint-sized subjects.

The book Peyton Jankowski made for first-grader Madison Taylor was full of fun, but also had a serious messageWhat's more, before they visited Bushnell to deliver and read their original works, the high schoolers and first-graders had never met.

This was the fifth year Bredin did the book project with her students. She limited it to advanced writing classes the first four years, but this year opened it to those who were new to creative writing.

"Their talent and creativity was amazing," she said. "They totally rocked this project."

Before writing, Bredin's class visited the Kent District Library's Englehardt Branch, where Manager Heather Wood-Gramza read children's books, modeling how to read them aloud using emotion, inflection and tone.

Bredin said copies of the books will be on display at the Englehardt Branch and for loan at the Little Free Library on Riverside Drive.

"The books are so wonderfully written and illustrated," Pomper said. "I can tell they will treasure these always. We were so lucky to be on the receiving end of this project."


Read: "The Story of the Salamander" by Evan Johnson

Read: Chloe Schmidt's "Starshine and Her Magic"

Kent District Library Englehardt Branch

Sophomore Iyleighsha Hopkins wrote and illustrated a coloring book called “Hungry Farm” for first-grader Olivia Sage

The book dedication Peyton Jankowski wrote to first-grader Madison Taylor

Senior Peyton Jankowski wrote and illustrated “Lucy Runs Away” for first-grader Madison Taylor

Submitted on: December 5th 2017

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