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Stephen King helps elementary students publish their pandemic-inspired books with $6.5K donation

The students have reportedly been working on the books over the course of four years during which they mapped out the character development, plot, and overall storyline with the help of another Maine author.

Stephen King helps elementary students publish their pandemic-inspired books with $6.5K donation
Cover Image Source: Stephen King promotes "Under The Dome" at the North Point Boulevard Walmart on November 11, 2009 in Dundalk, Maryland. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Author Stephen King is helping dozens of aspiring writers get one step closer to realizing their dreams by donating thousands of dollars to an elementary school in his home state of Maine. The world-renowned author will reportedly donate $6,500 to Farwell Elementary School, located in Lewiston, Maine, to help students in its after-school Author Studies Program publish the two books they've written. Farwell Principal Amanda Winslow told CNN that the students have been working on the books over the course of four years during which they mapped out the character development, plot, and overall storyline with the help of another Maine author.



 

Now, the young writers have two books — an original and a sequel — and a 290-page manuscript ready for publication. King stepped in to make it happen after he noticed the school raising money on Kickstarter to publish the books, Winslow revealed. "It was, like, mind-blowing," seventh-grader Ella Leo remarked to ABC affiliate WMTW. "He is my favorite author and I love his work," said 10th grader Annora Johnson. "I've been in it for the last four years, and only the people in my school have ever gotten to read what I've written, and it's really cool to think that (now) pretty much anyone can read anything you write," said fifth-grader Hailey LaBrecque.



 

Winslow said that she is proud of the students for their accomplishments and praised the dedication of librarian Kathy Martin and author Gary Savage — who advised the students — towards making this happen. "The kids talk in the hallway about this, they talk to me about it, they talk to their teachers about what they're doing," Winslow said, "and it's really wonderful to see this much effort and support put behind their writing." According to NBC affiliate WCSH, the $6,500 donation came through the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, a private nonprofit the Carrie author and his wife launched in 1986 to help give back to local Maine communities.



 

"You persevere, you keep working hard, you have patience, and it eventually pays off, and it's really been paying off big for them," said Winslow. "It's very exciting to see that Stephen King is actually noticing us and wanting to help out," seventh-grader Lilly Baulie told the outlet. Although the Author Study program has been in existence for several years, its focus shifted when the COVID-19 pandemic first reached Maine in March. Savage and Martin moved the program online and tasked the students with taking Savage's existing novel Fletcher McKenzie and the Passage to Whole and reworking it into an entirely new tale that incorporates their personal experiences in the coronavirus pandemic.



 

"Really incorporating their own experiences into the book, really that extra kind of feeling of this is a real book that you can really get your hands around, and once you start to read it you can't put it down," said Savage. The author revealed that the books are expected to be printed and published in April of this year with the students in the program credited as contributing authors. "This student inspired book, 'Fletcher McKenzie and the Passage to Whole,' is a journey through Maine history and the wildly fantastic and healthy world of Whole. The major edits, written by elementary students, give the readers exactly what they crave at a time of Covid-19 fatigue and exhaustion — excitement, suspense, vividly funny characters, healthy eating, and subtle nutrition lessons, history lessons, respect for Native American history, and traditions, confusing and strange ventures, magical journeys, deadly danger, and closure," states the Kickstarter campaign.



 

"In the end, Fletcher McKenzie, after overcoming a dangerous villain, becomes the hero of the day by bravely delivering a desperately needed Covid-19 vaccine to a wounded and tired world. it is truly a wonderful and suspense-filled novel."

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