Dora students author book

A group of Dora Elementary students became artists, a democracy, a family, and most importantly authors within the 30 minutes they met a day over the last six months.

Robin Simpson: Courtesy photo

A group of 13 Dora students created and wrote a book entitled "Ocean Life A-Z" which earned an honorable mention in a national Scholastic Book Fairs competition.

The final product of their research, creativity and hard work was a non-fiction book about aquatic animals entitled "Ocean Life A-Z."

Dora student Dakota Newman's peer walked into his Dora classroom Wednesday afternoon when she asked him excitedly if the book on the table was the one his group wrote.

"Yup, got it recognized in Scholastic," said a non-chalant Newman about their successful book.

But Newman knows completing the book was no easy feat. Newman, along with 12 other Dora students between third and fifth grade, wrote, edited and created the artwork for the book.

The book was entered into a national contest sponsored by Scholastic Book Fairs called Kids are Authors, an annual competition for students in grades K-8 that encourages students to use their reading, writing and artistic skills to create a book.

The Dora students are one of 25 honorable mentions to be announced Thursday and were selected out of thousands who entered.

"It makes you feel famous and confident," said student Lydia Barron about earning an honorable mention.

Sarron Simpson agreed with Barron and he wasn't modest about their accomplishment.

"I'll say it right off the bat, we did a good job," Simpson said.

Simpson justifies his pride by saying people have no idea what it takes to create a book.

The process started in September when Dora art and music teacher Robin Simpson, Sarron's mother, asked the class if they were interested in entering the contest.

"We thought it would be fun," Sarron Simpson said. "We may get something we did out to the world."

After the class agreed to participate in the competition, they had to make what they considered tough decisions such as the topic of the book, making the book fiction or non-fiction and who would be their target audience.

Barron said the class loved the idea of a book about the ocean. They decided to create a non-fiction book about aquatic animals whose names spanned the letters of the alphabet.

Each student drew two letters to represent which animal they were responsible for researching. The students required that each animal had to have a picture, a four-line poem and a "creature feature," which noted three unique facts about that animal.

When the final project was complete in February, the student mailed off their binded submission to the Scholastic offices and played the waiting game.

"We were in suspense for too long," said Newman intensely.

They received a letter about two weeks ago notifying them that they were to be honorable mentions.

"Ocean Life A-Z" will be in Dora's school library and Robin Simpson made copies for each young author to keep.

Sarron Simpson said this is just the beginning of his writing career. "I'm trying to write several books," Simpson said.

Barron said creating this book has inspired her to be a scientist or a doctor and she one day hopes to see her fish, the Mola fish, in person.

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