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UMFK students author own children's books

March 25, 2005

NR05045

Who would of thought that students in a University of Maine at Fort Kent writing for elementary teaching class would be illustrating and become authors of their very own children's book. One look at the dozens of original children's books created this semester in Dr. Terry Murphy's writing class, and you may very well have the making of the next Dr. Seuss.

The class assignment, which had each student writing and illustrating a children's story, has been an ongoing project for the class since the beginning of the semester. No guidelines were given to the students, rather each was asked to use their creativity to complete the assignment.

That creativity has sparked original works with titles such as "Mika the Magnificent," "All of the Other Reindeer," and "Journey of the Heart."

Many of the books created, both fiction and non-fiction, took root with the student's own experiences as children, including family experiences or subjects that were of interest to them.

The students began working on their own and would then bring drafts to class for peer review. Classmates critiqued the works in progress and shared ideas.

In addition, each student was required to provide illustrations for their story. "Writing the story is one thing but, illustrating it is another," said Murphy.

Whittney Zettergren, a junior from Presque Isle, gained a lot from this experience. She said, "Creating a children's book gave me the confidence to try new things, otherwise I would have never tried to write a story."

Zettergren's book is titled, "The Day Lynea Learned Her Lesson," which the author prides as a real achievement.

Whitney Bouchard, a senior from Madawaska, took a personal approach to her book. The publication she created entitled "The Three Texas Princesses" is a wonderful story about three of her nieces that she visited over Christmas vacation.

"This project meant a lot to me because it of its significance," said Bouchard. She wants to one day give her book to her nieces as a gift.

The student's books are on display in the Blake Library for the campus, community, and public to view through April 15.