Rutgers students publish children's book
Jessica Birk, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, and Lauren Krasnoff, a Mason Gross School of Arts sophomore, are fighting back against funding cuts to music and art education programs through their children’s book, “When Ellie Sang a G.”
The importance of art education has steadily been decreasing in schools, according to the National Educational Music Company. In the face of growing budget cuts, music and art programs are often the first to go.
Birk decided that something had to be done, and through that came the birth of Ellie.
In the book, Ellie is a girl who loves to sing. She is able to sing beautifully, but is unable to sing a G-note and avoids it until one day her G-note is needed, Birk said.
Birk had first written the story of Ellie in the summer and had no idea it would amount to anything more. She had grown up writing stories, so it was nothing out of the ordinary for her.
She met Krasnoff through mutual friends during the first week of their first year. After learning about her artistic abilities, she knew she wanted to collaborate with Krasnoff to illustrate the story, Birk said.
“It’s a lot of decision making, because even though the character was already created, we had to come up with visuals to go along,” Krasnoff said. “The way she looks, especially for a children’s book, is almost just as important as the way the words describe her.”
Writing the actual story had taken a week, but the book took approximately a year to finish. They had taken all of their first year to make sure the book was ready for publishing. Birk said creating a book as an undergraduate can be overwhelming, but she advised that it is best to take things one step at a time.
While the book had taken a while to be finalized, the timeline followed closely to that of a typical children’s book, said Jasper Chang, an editorial assistant of the Rutgers University Press.
“If all goes well, a children’s book probably would come out anywhere from 10 to 18 months,” Chang said.
The book was eventually released on Amazon in early November.
Birk and Krasnoff said they hope to create more love and excitement for music in children through Ellie.
“We wanted a strong character who is held back by an obstacle, but she doesn’t let that stop her and uses it to her advantage,” Birk said.
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