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Students inspire Liverpool teacher's first children's book

Long Branch Elementary teacher publishes holiday story

The idea brewed more than three years ago when Long Branch Elementary teacher Bonnie Carroll-Marsh performed a routine reading exercise with her second-grade class. The exercise involved matching a character to a setting.

For example, Marsh said there was a doctor that was matched with an illustration of a hospital and a teacher matched with a school. To shake things up, Marsh said she mixed all the cards together and made "silly matches." The most interesting "silly match," was when Marsh paired a picture of Santa's elves with a different setting other than the toy shop.

"The kids started laughing and told me, 'Miss Marsh the elves can't go on vacation, they never leave the toy shop,'" Marsh remembered from her 2006-07 second-grade students. "In the back of my head, I thought this would make a good story elves on vacation."

The holiday story idea for "Elves on Vacation: Having a Blast!" grew each day as Marsh said she had the theme in her head long after the learning exercise. During the school's February break in 2007, Marsh said she finally sat down with the idea and wrote the story in two days complete with rhyme.

Because the idea was born from the places she knows best, the classroom, Marsh said she would like to pair the story with a supplemental teaching guide to incorporate more educational ideas that can be used by teachers everywhere.

While Marsh had the manuscript in hand, she knew the next step of publishing her story would be a tough part of the process. She acquired a copy of the 2007 "The Writer's Guide to Publishing," and read through numerous publishing companies' criteria over the next few months.

"I was completely in the dark," she said about the publishing process. "They're [publishing companies] very specific on what they will or will not accept."

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