Norway student pens book for peers

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NORWAY — Be happy and smile.

That’s one of 50 ideas Marrae Kimball, a fifth-grade student at the Rowe Elementary School, advises in her first published work “Guaranteed Success for Grade School: 50 Easy Things You Can Do Today!”

The 10-year-old from Norway said she initially thought she might write 101 ideas, perhaps to match the number of Dalmatians in Walt Disney’s classic film, but she settled on 50. They range from listening to your teacher to cleaning up your work area, following playground rules and standing proudly to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The pledge is especially important to her because her father, Curtis Kimball Jr. of Harrison, was deployed last week to Afghanistan. He knows of her book but does not have a copy yet.

She thinks number 26 is one of the most important ideas: “Be brave and tell the truth. Sometimes it takes bravery to tell the truth but that is what becoming a big kid means.”

“I think that’s most important,” Marrae said.

Marrae began writing stories about her favorite cat when she was 3. When she entered grade school she decided to try to help younger students by putting together ideas that would make the grade-school experience easier. She and her mother, Melissa Eshleman of Norway, brainstormed ideas.

“Since she has her own business, we used to go out in the summer on the porch and talk about my book,” Marrae said. It took her more than a year, gathering ideas from friends, family and others. With the help of her teachers, Cathy Emerson and Reed Dyer, who edited the book, and Kimberly Martin, who designed the cover, she was finally ready to publish it through the company started by Melissa and her husband, Ed Eshleman. The book is available through www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com.

She believes her latest work will be useful for more than just young students, and she has already signed copies.

“I have a signed Stephen King and a signed Marrae Kimball book,” said her principal, George Sincerbeaux, who announced her achievement to the Oxford Hills School District Board of Directors recently. “It’s great.”

She said she intends to save her first royalty check. “I might put it in the bank and give a little to the animal shelter,” she said, referring to Responsible Pet Care in Norway.

And she’s already thinking about her next book, probably a similar publication for kindergarten students, said the avid reader, painter and musician.

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