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Tiny pigs and cardboard books are Building Better Minds in Hanover

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- "My heart was racing. My heart was pounding.  I couldn't speak.  I was so nervous. It was the first day of school and I am late, "4th grader Sarah Garrett said.

Could the next J. K. Rowling come from Cold Harbor Elementary School?

Sarah continued to read from the cardboard, self-illustrated book she made in class.

"I caught a glance at my six--year old brother walking down the stairs.  He's pretty good at dressing himself and so dramatic."

Sarah Garrett/4th Grade

These students aren't just writing books; they're making them.

"They've been authors all along," teacher Kelsey Zeilinger said. "But there's something about a tangible book and seeing each other’s and sharing with one another.  And that brings that all full circle for them and makes it more real."

Rob talking with Ms. Kelsey Zeilinger/Teacher

Ms. Zeilinger's Cartonera Project has kids going through their treasure chest of things they've already written through the year, pulling out their most precious jewel, and turning it into a book.

"If they're having fun, they're learning.  So why not make everything fun."

The books will be collected and sent to the lobbies and waiting rooms of local businesses.

That way customers and other students can read their stories.

Stories, like the one written by 4th grade student Milly Hallock.

"It's about a pig who gets teased all the time.  His name is Tiny," Milly said.

Milly Hallock/4th Grade

Milly is a little shy, but Ms. Zeilinger said Milly has a strong voice through her writing.

"Confidence is everything," Ms. Zeilinger said. "They have to believe they can do it."

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell recognizes the students, teachers, and school staff making a difference in our community. Click here to see more Building Better Minds reports.