Sixth Graders Collaborate to Publish Book

Sixth Graders Collaborate to Publish Book
Posted on 02/18/2022
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two girls at computer smiling with their published bookIt all started with two fourth-grade girls creating a backyard game for fun. Now two years later, those girls have turned that game into a 229-page published book called The Wishmakers.

Adena Elementary’s Gertie Hutchison and Freedom Elementary’s Anna Leitsch have been friends since first grade. They often played games in Gertie’s backyard, but one idea about two best friends in a fictional world of magic and wishes stood out. The girls both love reading and writing and often joked that it would make a good book.

“When COVID happened, I started a Google doc and wrote the first chapter,” said Anna. “Then I bugged Gertie to write the next chapter. That’s how we wrote the entire book. One of us wrote a chapter and then the other wrote the next chapter.”

Gertie said that it was really easy to go back and forth writing the story since they knew everything that was going to happen based on their game. Gertie wrote from one main character’s point of view and Anna focused on the other character.

The girls said that writing the book took the most time, but it was also the most fun. Then came the hardest part: editing. Anna and Gertie had to edit each other’s work and rewrite chapters to help make the story flow. Their parents even served as editors.

The cover illustration, just like the writing, was a joint effort by the girls. Gertie and Anna even created a pen name, Gale Wishful, to be the author of the book. They wanted it to seem like one person wrote the book.

The Wishmakers, a science fiction and fantasy book, is geared toward elementary students, but the girls think that anyone would enjoy it.

“It’s a fun book, with lots of mini messages like finding your own path in life,” said Anna.  

Throughout the whole process, both Gertie and Anna learned many lessons of their own.

“I’ve always wanted to write books,” said Anna. “The publishing and editing process showed me what it takes to be an author. It’s easy to write a book, but if you want to publish it, there is a lot of work that has to be done.”

Gertie agrees. “Writing The Wishmakers taught me that writing is fun and that I do want to be an author.” Her advice to others: “Stick with whatever you’re doing. It’s really easy to give up and it’s really hard to keep going. But just keep going.”

The experience gave Anna this advice for other aspiring writers: “Keep writing. If you think it’s not instantly perfect, that it’s not ‘New York Times best-seller ready,’ then you might just give up because it’s not worth it. But I would say that your writing is worth it. Just stick with it and you will be able to do cool things with it.”

The Wishmakers was published in December and Anna and Gertie have already perfected their autographs, signing copies for friends and family. Click here to get a peek at the first chapter and to purchase their book.