A novel idea for Christmas

How kids at one Catholic high school in Bloomington, Illinois are learning—and giving:

Connor Sheehan, a high school student writing a children’s book, could picture himself as the next Dr. Seuss.

Sheehan, 16, is becoming an author and illustrator as part of his Central Catholic High School sophomore English class. His assignment: to write a story for a specific pre-kindergartner at Epiphany School in Normal, including the boy’s name, favorite color, toy and favorite food.

The 35-page story features a hotdog, the color blue and Batman. “I will be famous,” joked Sheehan, who also hopes to be an Air Force pilot.

The books will be presented next week as Christmas presents to the students of Kathryn Marie Albee Early Learning Center at Epiphany.

The youngsters’ personal details, carefully crafted into the stories, will make the books more special for the 3- to 5-year-olds who receive them, said English teacher Shelly Gruenwald, who helped initiate the project.

Next year, she hopes to have CCHS sophomore art students illustrate the books and perhaps have both authors and illustrators present the books to the kids.

The authors have to be creative when they get combinations such as a bunny, gravy, and the color pink to include in a story, said CCHS teacher Ann Cox.

“They are having a lot of fun,” she said. “It gives them a real-world audience.”

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