Karen Ramorino’s second grade has had an interesting year. First, their teacher was kidnapped. Then, they stumbled across a hidden portal that led them into a magical land where tacos grow on trees.
“My favorite part was when the squirrels started attacking us,” said Skylar Yoshimura.
Skylar and her classmates at Benjamin Fox Elementary School, in Belmont, might be ordinary second-graders, but they also recently became characters in their own adventure novel, a 110-page book that they wrote and illustrated themselves.
“Zombies Kidnapped Our Teacher” started as an idea for the school’s annual fundraiser, said Becky Scott, a PTA volunteer whose daughter is in the class.
Scott led the students in a brainstorming session at the beginning of October. The children sketched out the bones of a plot, voted on ideas and then broke out into smaller groups to concentrate on each section of the story.
“I had no idea what they were going to say or where the story was going to go,” said Scott, who transcribed the children’s ideas.
“It was hilarious,” Ramorino said. “I’ve never been in a story before. At one point they had me riding an ostrich.”
After the manuscript was complete, Scott published it through the website Bookemon.com. When she brought the first professional-looking copies to school, the children were amazed.
“It was hard to believe we started out with just these little words and it turned into this big book,” said student Elle Horst. “It’s fun to think that we wrote it.”
The PTA has sold 60 copies of the book, raising more than $1,600 for the school. More copies are available by emailing the creators or at a book-signing today at 2 p.m. at the Belmont Public Library.
With some of the children already planning their next forays into fiction, their teacher was imagining their illustrious futures.
“We read lots of stories, and I love when the writers say, ‘I started writing when I was 7 years old,’” Ramorino said. “For them to realize they can become authors, too, I think that was the best part.”
Zombies Kidnapped Our Teacher