Kaewai Elementary prints students’ stories into hardcover books

Kaewai Elementary prints students’ stories into hardcover books

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fifth-grader Athena Tiqui-Teleni really likes writing stories. In fact she can claim something most people can’t.

Her stories end up in print.

"It feels amazing! I can just look at my book and be like, 'I'm going to inspire so many kids by this,'" she said.

All students at Kaewai Elementary School, from kindergarten through the fifth grade, are published authors.

"We want to encourage them to read books. One way of doing it is having them make their own books," teacher Lianne Kanamu said.

Publishing student stories started as a summer school project. Three years ago school principal Bert Carter extended it into the school year and into every classroom.

"We felt it was really important that the kids see their writing in print, to go through the steps of how you write a book -- the story board, doing the artwork, and then seeing the final product of a hardcover bound book," he said.

The stories are grouped by grade and every student contributes a story.

In three years Kaewai has produced about 150 student books. The school sells them to parents and the surrounding community as a fundraiser.

This will be Gabriel Luczon's third year of having his stories in a Kaewai book. It makes him feel good.

"My parents thought, 'Wow! Gabriel, you wrote this story? That's good,'" he said.

When the books are ready the school holds a publishing party and the students autograph their work. That's another confidence booster.

"When they do this book and it's become a published book they're like, 'I can do it!'" Kanamu said.

The Kaewai kids are putting the finishing touches on this year's stories.

Their books go to print at the end of the month.

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