Chippewa Middle School student’s art chosen for book cover
A portion of the book’s proceeds will go towards the literacy coalition, to help students who struggle to read
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A student at Chippewa Middle School had his art chosen to be on the cover of a book Tuesday.
Although it’s not just any book, it was written by an Okemos Public Schools employee. A portion of the book’s proceeds will go towards the literacy coalition, to help students who struggle to read.
Rob Blankenhorn, the book’s author, spent eight years at Okemos working with kids who had a hard time reading. He wrote his book to benefit those same kids but wasn’t satisfied when the publisher’s cover art came back. That’s when he had the idea, to host a cover art competition.
“They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but yes, you can, you know,” said Blankenhorn.
Blankenhorn retired from tutoring to be a part-time bus driver and a part-time author. He said being able to help the students is what keeps him around.
“It’s like having your own kid, it’s a neat thing I really love doing it,” said Blankenhorn.
During his time teaching students who struggled to read, he realized a few things.
”It’s one of the most essential things for children. If they don’t read by the third grade, their path for the future is not good,” said Blankenhorn.
He also realized how life-changing the skill can be.
“You saw the spark,” said Blankenhorn, recalling students’ successes, “They caught on and it was just this epiphany within them. It was just such a cool thing to see. Grades went up, their self-esteem went up.”
He wanted to help more students who struggled with reading, so he picked up his pen to become an author for young adults.
His book is called “Making Friends With a Monster.” It’s about a Michigan teen who overcomes the school bully, with the help of the supernatural.
A few chapters later, 8th grader Keegan Alvarez, was chosen out of 55 students to be the winner for the book’s cover art competition.
“Took me like three times to really figure out what to do with this, and come up with a final product,” said Alvarez.
“But the idea was just spot on. It gave me chills when I saw it,” said Blankenhorn.
Alvarez will now work with a graphic designer, to perfect his sketch for the book cover. It will soon be available on Amazon.
“It’s gonna be a lifetime experience,” said Alvarez.
5% of the book’s proceeds will go towards the literacy coalition, to help local students that struggle with reading.
Blankenhorn said it’ll become a yearly competition at Okemos, as he’s currently working on a children’s picture book. He hopes the competition promotes creativity and the arts as a career path.
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