PHS students continue children’s book project

By Connie Nolen / Community Columnist

“My favorite aspect of writing the children’s book was creating the story,” said Sarah Arestizabal.

A freshman writer, Arestizabal was a baby the first time PHS writers delivered books to Valley Elementary School. Those first children who received books are in their twenties now. Those first writers who made deliveries are in their thirties.

Many PHS writing students have become doctors, attorneys, teachers, engineers, nurses and successes in a host of other professions. Most of these writers I’m still connected to via social media. They tell me their writing skills served them well in pursuit of their various degrees.

Creative Writing builds up to this children’s book publishing opportunity all year by focusing on most writing genres along the way. Beginning in the fall, students emerge from labor and delivery with a character they’ve created. That character may resurface in NaNoWriMo novels if students choose to write a novel.

Students are consistently perfecting essay-writing skills as they compete in scholarship competitions. More and more often, they’re also working on scripts as scholarship essays are occasionally replaced with videos. Many contests give the students choice of genre and include all high school grades. Students are reminded to complete their FAFSA, file for University scholarships by deadline, and they’re required to submit to several contests.

Writers also have fun—traveling to Alabama Scholastic Press events at the University of Alabama, taking spontaneous outdoor haiku trips, helping with Write Night decorating and submitting to the school’s Lit Mag.  Friendships are formed in these writing classes; writing community emerges. Collaboration as children’s book authors cements these bonds.

“It was harder this time around, but I feel more accomplished than before,” said PHS third-year writer Pete Marvin.

Students are stunned at their work ethic and intellectual investment in their first-graders’ books.

“I have gained additional appreciation for the project by talking with Sean Wynn. He told me he received one of these children’s books. He cherishes that book,” said Pete Marvin.

I’ll share that information with one of Wynn’s authors soon who I will see at the University of Alabama’s law school graduation.