Looking for a good book to read? Then go no farther than Jackie Gray’s West Street School third-grade class where students have written and illustrated their own books.

The students shared their talents with family and friends during an Author’s Tea in their classroom on Tuesday afternoon.

“My students worked throughout the year writing in their journals about things that were important to them, such as writing from the heart, short stories, autobiographies, recipes and such,” Gray said. “They planted what we called thoughtful seeds.”

Later in the year, the students chose one genre from their journals to focus on and made that idea, or seed grow, into something bigger.

“Going through the process of writing, they drafted, responded and revised with their peers, researched, edited and finally produced their own book,” Gray said. “They were excited throughout the year knowing that they would get to share their books with family and friends during our Author’s Tea. It was wonderful to see that they owned their writing today and believed in themselves as authors.”

The range of subjects the students wrote about ran from autobiographies to cats and even a sharktopus.

Young author Natalie Bautista-Ramirez wrote her autobiography in both English and Spanish so all members of her family could read it.

“I really liked writing my book,” she said. “I’m really proud of it.”

The subject of student Carl Cooper III’s book was warrior cats, in memory of his cat that “had to go to sleep.”

“I like cats,” he said. “And we still have four of them.”

Corning Union Elementary School District Superintendent Rick Fitzpatrick attended the tea and spent a good amount of time listening as students shared and read their books to him.

Dozens of parents, grandparents and friends of the students enjoyed the experience and gave wonderful feedback to their children about the books.

Third-grade author Branden Martinez was all smiles as he shared his booked that he wrote and illustrated about a boy trying to escape the teeth and tentacles of a Sharktopus.

“I had fun with my book,” he said. “I really like to draw, so doing the pictures for my book was one of my favorite parts.”

Refreshments rounded off the event, including tea of course.

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