Children Authors

O’Neal students empowered to pen book series
Posted on 05/05/2021
Elizabeth Brannum, Kinsley Huffman and Norah Mattison.

Second graders of Shannon Miller’s class at O’Neal Elementary have collaborated to author and illustrate a series of non-fiction books on their own initiative.

First, “The Amazing Things About Flowers” was written by Kinsley Huffman, and illustrated by Norah Mattison (the self-described drawer) and Elizabeth Brannum (the colorer). Next, “SOLID: Facts About Crystals” was penned by Makenna Baucom, drawn by Amelia Rousan and colored by Brayden Conover.

“It started with them writing facts on Post-it notes, then paragraphs, then pages, then the books were illustrated,” Miller recalled. “They began researching gemstones, checking out books from the library and every resource they can think of, and it continued to flowers, and zodiac signs and even pet animals.”

Miller’s classroom library contains a science book entitled “Crystals and Gems” by Joyce Churchill, popular among the class, which the teacher attributes to being the initial source of inspiration. From there, Makenna purchased a similar book at a school fair which actually came with a set of gemstones that she showed to her friends.

The day the original group completed the flora book, they shared their work with school librarian Ashley Robertson, who is presently reviewing options to publish the book or otherwise have it laminated to include on the shelves. Norah, who happens to be Makenna's cousin, utilized the ClassDojo points that she had acquired for being a model student, to present the book to her classmates.

“It makes my heart happy to see them supporting each other and collaborating, self-motivated, on their own terms,” Miller said.  “All teachers love to see that energy and enthusiasm, and the [seeds] of a lifelong learner in action, blossoming and growing. There’s no stopping these kids.”

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Cutline: (Left to right) Elizabeth Brannum, Kinsley Huffman and Norah Mattison display their non-fiction book about flowers.

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