2004-03-11 / Front Page

‘Groovy’ authors, 7, publish a storybook


JACKSON — It’s not every day that a 7-year old becomes a published author. Last week at the Switlik Elementary School, 21 second-graders did just that.

The youngsters’ first work of fiction was the result of a three-month class project in which they developed, wrote, illustrated and published a 45-page hardcover book titled "Amanda Gets a Groovy Farm."

"I am so very, very proud of them," said second-grade teacher Tina DelSontro, who became emotional during the March 4 book-signing event. "This is a great class. They all enjoy writing."

Hot off an Iowa printing press, the book arrived just in time for the sixth annual Read Across America Week, which was celebrated at schools nationwide between March 1-5 in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

"Amanda Gets a Groovy Farm" tells the story of a Manhattan girl who dreams of building a farm behind her New York City loft. Although agricultural development on Madison Avenue does not comply with Manhattan’s borough ordinances, Amanda writes numerous letters urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make an exception. In the end, she prevails.

"We were working on cities and suburbs and urban areas in social studies class, and the kids were [curious] about children who live in New York City," said DelSontro, who got the idea to publish a class book from a friend who works in the Manchester school district. "The kids voted on the characters and every kid in the class picked up the story where the other left off."

The school’s parent-teacher organization funded the printing costs, while parents and faculty members donated time and effort to the project, DelSontro said.

According to Principal Ronald Janesko, the endeavor earned DelSontro’s class a place in Switlik history.

"I am so proud to be a part of this," he said. "This book will be part of the principal’s office forever."

Second-grader Morgan Barney, 7, said the class project inspired her to pursue a writing career.

Jessica Brodeur, 7, said although the book-writing process was a lot of fun, she has ruled out writing as a future career choice.

"Writing takes a real long time," she said. "I try to write at home and I never seem to get a chance to finish."

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