Students from Erin Wood's Grade 2-3 class at Lakewood elementary in Langford gather in the playground along with the colourful characters they created for the now-published book ***Art is Alive at Lakewood School.

Students from Erin Wood's Grade 2-3 class at Lakewood elementary in Langford gather in the playground along with the colourful characters they created for the now-published book ***Art is Alive at Lakewood School.

Langford students star in first published work

Lakewood elementary was given an opportunity to expand on typical class project

A group of students at Lakewood elementary in Langford have had their collective artworks published, thanks in large part to the efforts of local author/illustrator Beverly Henry.

The aptly named storybook, entitled Art is Alive at Lakewood School, was released in hardcover on Amazon.ca earlier this month. The story line sees the students engaged in fun activities alongside the characters they created in a school art project, after a breeze through the class window brings the characters to life.

Students in teacher Erin Wood’s split Grade 2/3 class began collaborating on the project in early February by drawing characters for the book and helping with the story line. Not only were the students in charge of creating their characters, they were integrated into the story on the pages of the book, with some clever photography and design work from Henry, who publishes under the name Beverley Banfield.

“The characters were new to life and some of them made a mess in the classroom, or did other things,” Henry said. “Students could decide whether they were sad or happy,” and how they wanted interact with them, she added.

Wood was thrilled to have Henry, whose son is in the class, volunteer to work with the students on such an ambitious project. “It fit right in with what we were doing at the time,” Wood said. “She wrote the bones of the story and did some art lessons with the kids.”

Despite their tender age, the students were involved in more than simply the creative side of things. Henry, who had the raw version of the book stored digitally, brought her tablet into the classroom to show the children what it might look like, and solicited their input on everything from layout to page order.

“We showed them step by step how the book was going to be put together,” she said, adding that the students collectively proofed the book before it went to press. “It was a good way to get them more inspired, not only to read, but to illustrate and draw and write.”

While class projects often see collaborative student books assembled and bound in the classroom, “having a real published book is a step beyond that,” she added.

Around the time of the book’s release, Henry presented each student with a photo of themselves with the original artwork of their character.

To keep production costs down, she used the CreateSpace program and published it through her own local company, Coppertree Publishing.

All proceeds from sales of the book on Amazon.ca will be donated back to the Lakewood PAC or school-related projects.

Find the book online at coppertreepublishing.com or search for Art is Alive at Lakewood School or Banfield on amazon.ca.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com