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'21 fabulous authors': Perham elementary students pen poetry book

Heart of the Lakes Elementary teacher Tracy Hein welcomed family to a book publishing event to celebrate her students’ book, “Poems for Each Season.” Nearly all of the authors were on hand to receive a copy of the book, and one copy was presented to HOTL librarian Heidi Swenson. Debbie Irmen/FOCUS1 / 4
Heart of the Lakes Elementary student Dakota Henry shows his mom, Kristine, his book, turning to the page on which his poem appears during a publishing party held Wednesday, Feb. 8. His poetry was one of 20 poems published by students in Tracy Hein’s second-grade class. The book, “Poems for Each Season,” was published for the students by Studenttreasure Publishing Company. Debbie Irmen/FOCUS2 / 4
Zach Morberg, a second-grader in Tracy Hein’s classroom at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School, pulled the task of designing the cover of the book, “Poems for Each Season.” He chose to draw four graphics illustrating the seasons in Minnesota. Debbie Irmen/FOCUS3 / 4
Note: please crop out the boy on the left of the photo and the boy on the extreme right of the photo. Please don't publish this note... Heart of the Lakes second-grade teacher Tracy Hein hands her student, Mackinzie Staggs, a copy of the book, “Poems for Each Season,” which features the girl's poem. In back, Jazlynn Fudge, right, and Jayden Schrupp, had just received their own copies of the book. Debbie Irmen/FOCUS4 / 4

Heart of the Lakes Elementary students in Tracy Hein's second-grade class found that writing a book is a bit more complicated than stringing words together. They learned about poetry styles, wrote multiple revisions to their poems and met a copy deadline. But the effort paid off last week.

Excitement was evident on their faces as they waited to share their book with family attending the book publishing party Wednesday, Feb. 8. After the manuscript was sent off to Studentreasure Publishing Company in January, they awaited its completed version. The book, "Poems for Each Season," had arrived at their Perham classroom the previous Friday.

Each of the 21 students in Hein's class contributed to the book, which features poems written by 20 of the students; and the cover illustration about the seasons drawn by Zach Morberg.

During the party, Hein presented each of the "21 fabulous authors" with a copy of their book.

"The kids found out it isn't an easy process to write a book," she told the audience. "We started in December talking about poetry, and the different types of poetry, and each student picked a style and wrote to the theme of the four seasons."

Upon receiving an email from book publisher last fall, Hein started preparing students for the Jan. 9 deadline. In December, she worked with students on a poetry unit and the writing process and the manuscript was sent off by the deadline. The completed books were received last Friday, she said.

During the poetry unit, students learned about "Haiku," a traditional form of Japanese poetry, consisting of three lines. The first and last lines of a Haiku have five syllables and the middle line has seven syllables. The lines rarely rhyme.

Free verse was another style of poetry they learned about, Hein said. In Free Verse, the lines may or may not rhyme.

Limerick poems are a humorous poem consisting of five lines. The first, second and fifth lines must have seven to 10 syllables while rhyming and having the same verbal rhythm. The third and fourth lines only have to have five to seven syllables, and have to rhyme with each other and have the same rhythm.

Cinquain poetry is similar to Haiku, with five lines of verse that do not rhyme. Each line has a specific set of syllables assigned to it, the first and last lines being just two syllables.

Acrostic poetry uses specific letters in each line to spell out a word or phrase in vertical form.

Each form of poetry is included in the book.

It soon became apparent to the students that someone had to design the book cover. Hein quickly decided the fairest way to handle it was to make it a separate part of the book. She wrote the various poetry styles on pieces of paper along with the word "cover" and the students drew their poem style. Zach Morberg drew the cover illustration and set to work designing artwork based on the theme. He chose to depict the seasons in four graphics.

"He's now know as the 'Cover Guy,'" Hein told parents.

Each student was presented with their own copy of the book, and one was presented to HOTL Elementary School Librarian Heidi Swenson to keep in the library.