Humboldt Elementary Students Publish Their Own Books
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12 April 2017
 
Humboldt Elementary fifth-grade student Jesse Hudson (left) proudly displays his book "La Veetra vs. Whiskers" with his teacher Mrs. Jamy Myrmel (right) on Wednesday April 12th, 2017 in Dewey, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham
Humboldt Elementary Students Celebrate Receiving Their Own Published Hard-Cover Books

DEWEY, Ariz.- Eleven-year-old Jesse Hudson, a fifth-grade student at Humboldt Elementary, didn’t exactly like hearing the news that he and the rest of his classmates would have to write their own book in Mrs. Jamy Myrmel’s class. 

“My first response was I hate writing!” Hudson said.

Beginning in January, Hudson and his twenty-eight other classmates started the journey of becoming a published author. Each student had to create a superhero; thinking of their superpower, location and nemesis. Once the details were thought out, the students created their own artwork on the pages and cover. After a couple rounds of editing, the day finally came on Wednesday, April 12th when each student received the hard-cover book they wrote.

“I actually got used to it now,” Hudson said. “I really loved it.”

This is the second year Myrmel has assigned the project, originally starting with her previous school, and knows the difficulty for some children to learn the skill of reading and writing. 

“There is some hesitation at the beginning, a lot kids come in saying that they can’t write,”said Myrmel who has taught for thirteen years, four of which at Humboldt Elementary. “We really motivate them by saying, ‘hey, you're going to have this book at the end that’s going to be fantastic and it’s yours, you wrote it, nobody else did.’”

As the months go on, Myrmel notices excitement growing after each edited paper and revision. 

“Over the course of it, as I build up that anticipation of getting their book, they get a lot more excited about writing,” Myrmel said. “It kind of instills their love of writing.” 

The students presented the finished products in front of teachers, fellow students and family on Wednesday morning with some reading a page out of their book or sharing illustrations. Excitement of the occasion was clear as some couldn’t wait and started reading their book during the presentation while others proudly held it close.

“When we started to write it, I didn’t really think it would come out like this,” said Humboldt Elementary fifth-grade student Taylor O’Hagan who wrote about a girl that uses a taser to change evil individuals into good people. “I know a lot of people thought like ‘I can’t do this, I can’t write a real book’ and now looking at everyone else’s book and how they feel, it’s like you can do pretty much anything if you put your thoughts to it.” 

Humboldt Elementary Principal Lisa Navarro-Uvila loves the project as it instills a sense of accomplishment in students. 

“I think it’s really powerful for students that are continually reading to understand that they can an be author,” Navarro-Uvila said. “It provides an opportunity to go through the writing process very thoroughly. It teaches the kids to believe in themselves and gives them confidence.” 

“To see their own work published in a hard-covered book is just a phenomenal experience for them,” Navarro-Uvila continued. “(It’s) a gift they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

After a successful second year, the word of Myrmel’s project is making it’s way to younger students in the school who are looking forward to taking her class in the future.

“People know about it, the kids are excited about it,” Myrmel said. “They hear about it every year.”

Through a donation from the Yavapai County Education Foundation, each student received their book for free. Myrmel plans to continue doing the project as long as funding can be found.

 

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Torrence Dunham

Torrence Dunham is a multimedia journalist who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  Torrence is our PrescottValleyeNews.com Correspondent covering local news and events in Prescott Valley. He is also the lead sports correspondent and play-by-play pro for all our multimedia news sites. If he's not adding to his extensive sports bobble-head collection, he's talking baseball, his favorite. Follow him on Twitter: @Tadunham.