Teen Author Expo

Andrea Peeler, far right, talks with Kelia Shipley about her picture books she published through the WRiTE BRAiN program, while Tatiyana Birks and Annallee Brown, her fellow authors in the 21st Century Community Learning Center at Monroe Area High School, look on at the Teen Authors Expo.

Three Monroe Area High School students are now published authors through the aegis of WRiTE BRAiN Books and the 21st Century Community Learning Center at the high school.

The high school’s after-school program held a Teen Authors Expo Thursday afternoon to celebrate the accomplishments of the three girls, Tatiyana Birks, Annallee Brown and Kelia Shipley.

Each took advantage of the WRiTE BRAiN program, which fosters student creativity by allowing them to write stories and see them emerge in print.

The program provides students with pre-fabricated illustrated books, but no text, allowing students to write whatever story they feel matches the illustrations and create their own book, complete with an original title, dedication and narrative, even a personalized author bio with a portrait.

“It has been my honor and privilege to work with these girls,” teacher Andrea Peeler said. “They are so creative. They have some incredible stories to tell.”

Tatiyana wrote a superhero-focused story with an emphasis on science.

“This taught me a lot,” she said about the process of writing and releasing her own picture book.

Annallee agreed, saying the class offered through the 21st Century program was a great time.

“It was fun,” she said. “I liked meeting new people.”

Kelia said she greatly enjoyed creating her own story.

“This book really connected with me,” she said. “It feels good to be a published author.”

All three are working on new stories through WRiTE BRAiN, as are other students at MAHS as the program has proven to be a big hit.

“We’re sending more books to the publisher soon,” Faith Johnson, site coordinator for 21st CCLC, said.

Stephen Milligan is a staff writer for The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.