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Crown School in Brooklyn Celebrates Student Authors

By Sonja Sharp | June 19, 2012 12:51pm
First-graders at P.S. 161 in Crown Heights were celebrated at a school assembly Tuesday after their book "Our Cinquain Poems" was named the 10 millionth title from Studentreasures.
First-graders at P.S. 161 in Crown Heights were celebrated at a school assembly Tuesday after their book "Our Cinquain Poems" was named the 10 millionth title from Studentreasures.
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DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp

CROWN HEIGHTS — First-graders at the Crown School were feted Tuesday as the pint-sized student-authors published the 10 millionth book of Studentreasures, a Kansas-based scholastic publishing company.

The five-line verses in "Our Cinquain Poems" might have come from any number of creative classes across the country, but most of the 25 books published by Crown School authors this year had a distinctly Brooklyn flavor. Titles on display at Tuesday's assembly included Coming to America and My Trip to Panama.

"I was elated when I learned we were the 10 millionth author," said Principal Michael Johnson. "The class is an integrated class — it just goes to show even students with disabilities can achieve great things."

First-grader Angie Rodriguez beamed as she read a poem about her mother from the hardbound book, which featured the student's writing and illustrations. 

The Crown School is hardly the first among local schools to explore publishing as a means of engaging young writers, and Studentreasures is far from the only publisher catering to their needs. Immigrant students in an ESL class at the Kurt Hahn High Expeditionary Learning School also recently published a book of personal essays through CreateSpace

In fact, on-demand publishing has exploded in recent years, both with viral successes like Fifty Shades of Grey, which was first published online as fan-fiction and later distributed by a virtual publisher before becoming a major market success.

Studentreasures, which offers free services to schools like P.S. 161, published more than a million titles in the past year alone. 

Students from first grade class I-308 read from their book during a morning assembly attended by classmates and Studentreasures representatives Tuesday. The company also donated $1,000 to the school for library books. 

"This school in particular is really engaged," said Studentreasures CEO Chad Zimmerman. "It's a lot of work."