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Kids who wrote “April’s Baby” book get surprise

These Beach Elementary students wrote the book “April’s Baby” in Vicki Burke’s art class last spring. Courtesy photo

By Judy Reed

Earlier this year, second and third grade students at Beach Elementary School in Cedar Springs celebrated March is Reading Month by illustrating and publishing a book about the internet sensation, April the Giraffe. They will now get something in return.

Thirty-one students, affectionately dubbed “Team April,” volunteered their drawing talents for a short story titled “April’s Baby,” which Vicki Burke, Beach Elementary art teacher,  penned and graphically designed. The book has received rave reviews on Amazon, and Burke has received positive feedback from people she meets in person as well.

“What started as a simple art project exploded into so much more,” remarked Vicki Burke, at the Cedar Springs Board of Education meeting Monday evening, Sept. 11. She said that the book taught the children about art, literacy, giraffe conservation, and more. When it was finished, it went on Amazon.

This summer, Burke went to New York to see the giraffes. But it was bittersweet, because she felt like she wanted the kids to see the giraffes, too. So, while they cannot take a field trip to see April and her baby, a couple people and businesses worked together to make something happen closer to home.

Transportation supervisor Jerry Gavin, who now works with Dean Transportation, said they are willing to donate one school bus and one school bus driver free of charge to take the kids to Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto, to see the giraffes. And Ryanne Donahue, with the new State Farm office on Main Street here in Cedar Springs, said she will donate admission for the students and chaperones and also enough for them to feed the giraffes as well. The announcement was made at the school board meeting.

The children who were there were all smiles, and seemed excited by the news.

There is no word yet on when the trip might happen.

To purchase the book, go to www.amazon.com and search for “April’s Baby.”

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Save on Everything for Back-to-School with these Smart Tips and Tricks


(c) HaveZein - Fotolia.com Back-to-school shopping for students of any age can be expensive, but with the right knowledge, there are plenty of ways to save time and money.

(c) HaveZein – Fotolia.com
Back-to-school shopping for students of any age can be expensive, but with the right knowledge, there are plenty of ways to save time and money.

(StatePoint) Whether your kids are school playground-bound or college-bound, the back-to-school season can be an expensive time of year. Families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 while college students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to a National Retail Federation 2016 annual survey.

Where are their dollars going? The top five back-to-school supplies searched for are Crayola ColorStudio iMarker, BIC Pencil Xtra, TI 84 graphing calculator, Brita filtration water bottle and Crayola Washable Erase, according to Qmee, an online shopping companion.

So how can you save on these popular items and more when shopping?

“Whether it’s a calculator, backpack or dorm furniture, before making a purchase, it’s important to do your research. Educated shoppers always get the best deals,” says Jonathan Knight, Co-Founder and CEO, Qmee.

Shopping online is the best way to save time and be sure you’re getting a good deal, says Knight, who recommends a few strategies for how parents can get more bang from their back-to-school buck:

  • Price check: Price comparison tools can help you know for sure whether you’re getting the best deal on any given item. These tools automatically research what you’re searching for to show you the best prices available.
  • Use coupons. These days you don’t need to spend hours scanning the paper with scissors. Online coupons and discount codes can help you save big at checkout. Before clicking “Purchase,” always verify whether any such deals are available.
  • Connect: Brands are looking to connect with their consumers online. In some cases, you can earn cash for your everyday searches by clicking on relevant ads. Likewise, by sharing your valued consumer opinion through surveys, many brands will reward you with cash.
  • Use shopping tools: Download a free browser app which will automatically allow you to earn cash for your everyday searches, and also find the best coupon codes while you shop online. For example, online search and save companion Qmee unobtrusively becomes part of your browser to work with search engines and commerce sites such as Google, Bing, Amazon and Walmart, to help you search for what you want, compare prices, secure discounts and offer opinions while earning cash. It’s a good tool to help college kids stick to a budget while shopping for everything from books to dorm supplies. For more information or to download, visit Qmee.com.

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