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Student comment inspires Saratoga Elementary School teacher's first book

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 10:05 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 10:34 a.m. CST
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(Heidi Litchfield - hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Saratoga kindergarten teacher Adam Peterson reads a book he wrote to the students in his class Thursday.
Caption
(Heidi Litchfield - hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Peterson holds up the two books he published this year geared at children, like those he teaches at Saratoga Elementary School.

MORRIS – As Adam Peterson taught his kindergarten class at Saratoga Elementary School, one of his students asked why he wasn’t in a good mood.

That question led him to write his first book, “My Teacher Has Feelings Too.”

“I wanted to show that teachers are regular people,” Peterson said. “I just wasn’t having a good day and this little girl said, ‘Teacher’s are always in a good mood.’ So I wrote the book based on the conversations I had with my students last year.”

The book is geared toward kindergarten through third-grade students, but Peterson said other teachers also have used it for their older students.

As he thought about the book at home one night, he pulled out a marker and sketched out ideas for book illustrations, choosing to use a “teacher” image that looks a lot like what a kindergarten student draws when they draw a person: a large head with arms and legs and no body.

He scanned the finished illustrations and used computer software to color the images.

A few of his fellow teachers helped edit the content, and when he was finished, he self-published the book and marketed it through Amazon.

“It took off a lot faster than I expected,” he said. “I sold the first 200 copies in a couple of months.”

Peterson’s class heard the story on their first full day of school this year Thursday, so they understood their teacher does have feelings.

Students said they like the emotion “happy” more than “sad” or “mad”.

Peterson had been writing since college, but never thought about publishing his work.

All that changed after the response to his first book, released in January.

Since then, he has released a second book, “Yellow,” released in April.

An honor for Honor

“Yellow” is a book he wrote in honor of Honor Trotter, a fellow teacher who taught for 33 years at Saratoga School. Trotter died of cancer in 2013.

“Everyone has a friend who can make a gray sky turn yellow, right? A friend who can make you happy just by being who they are,” Peterson wrote about Trotter. “A friend like this is hard to find, but easy to remember.”

He said Trotter touched so many lives that he wanted to make sure her spirit lived on.

“It’s not about the color yellow. It’s about her and the friendship I had with her,” Peterson said. “Anyone who has a friend like this can relate.”

Peterson also illustrated this book and has made it available on Amazon. It also can be found in several Saratoga classrooms.

“I thought it was a great tribute,” said Neil Trotter, Honor’s husband. “It doesn’t surprise me that she inspired it, but it shocked me when I saw it.”

Trotter said he had no idea Peterson was writing the book, but he thought it was a great way to celebrate her love of teaching and the friendships she had at school.

“She would be tickled yellow,” Trotter said.

Peterson is working on three books and hopes to turn one into a series.

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