Eight students at The Graham Academy, a special education elementary school for students living with autism and students living with behavioral challenges, can now say “I am a published author”. Their writing activity assignments for World Kindness Day in November were collected and published into a professionally bound hardcover book. “What Kindness Means to Us” is now in print.

Teacher Michelle Toepfer found the idea for the book publishing program online at Studentreasures Publishing. She sent away for the free kit that included a step-by-step guide to submit the student’s creations. Illustrations accompanied a hand-written sentence from each child on what kindness means to them.

“When I think of the word kindness,” said one student, “I think of kind actions. I think of giving hugs, having safe hands and helping others.”

Toepfer wanted to complete a fun project with her students that helped build their reading and writing skills, while also creating a treasured keepsake. She enjoys showing the families what their children can do and plans on making the book project an annual event.

I’m so excited for them,” she said. “It’s something that they can take home, it’s something they can see their work and understand that they wrote that, they put in the work and were able to get like a product out of it, which I think is cool. In 20 years, there’s going to be kids who say, ‘Oh, this is the book I made with Miss Michelle.”

Congratulations to the new publishers on this great accomplishment!

Families, staff, students and teachers can purchase a copy of the book, here (use pin number 8199325 to order the book).