JACKSONVILLE — A new children’s book appears to be captivating audiences at West Side Elementary School.
He said it is one of his favorite parts and reaffirms what he’s learned at West Side — that there is no excuse for not going to college.
Other students preferred pages that show the book’s star, the Little Indian, making new friends and meeting new people.
The hardcover book, called “Hello, Little Indian!”, serves as a fundraiser for the school and builds school pride, West Side Principal Sandi Jones said.
It chronicles a day at West Side, as the Little Indian recites the West Side pledge, reviews college bound characteristics, such as trustworthiness and respect, takes part in West Side TV, visits classrooms, eats, and joins friends in the library, among other things.
“Hello, Little Indian!” also highlights annual events, including Red Ribbon Week, the Storybook Character Parade, and the Rock the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Pep Rally.
The book also features colorful illustrations and addresses things that are done at all Jacksonville schools.
“This has been a big year for West Side, so we wanted something special to commemorate this year,” Mrs. Jones said, adding that West Side was named a 2010 Blue Ribbon award winner, putting it in the top 1 percent of elementary campuses in Texas.
The school also was accepted into the No Excuses University Network — a network of schools from across the nation that promotes college readiness.
Mrs. Jones worked for several months with nationally recognized children’s book publisher, Mascot Books, to create the book. According to a news release, West Side is the third Texas elementary school to partner with the Virginia-based publisher.
Mrs. Jones said the company gave guidelines, and she rewrote the material with teachers to fit West Side. As far as artwork, illustrators Brad Vinson and Danny Moore used photos of the school to help them with the design.
“I love it,” Mrs. Jones said. “When I read it, it feels like us … I think West Side’s a neat school, and the book portrays the climate and culture of West Side.”
As a former librarian, she said she also loves books, and that this one is a good way to help the school promote reading.
Longtime kindergarten teacher and former West Side student Sheron Stewart agreed, saying that teachers are excited about the book and are buying a copy for their classrooms.
“This just takes us back to the beginning of West Side and how it’s evolved over the years,” she said. “I just think it’s real exciting that we are doing so much more academically … It’s also exciting that we have extra programs.”
Ms. Stewart said students also have talked a lot about the Little Indian, as the mascot graces school shirts. However, she said, the book brought that character to life for them.
“Hello, Little Indian!” is being sold for $10 at West Side.
Mrs. Jones said copies of the book also will be available in the school library for students to check out.
She said the school also talked about reading the book to students at the beginning of the year and giving it to new employees to learn about West Side.