Saugus native Kelli (Conley) Martin has published her first children’s book, “A School Year in the Life of a Pencil,” a 20-page story about the encounters of a pencil over the course of a school year.
Martin, a 1989 Saugus High School graduate, read her engaging book to a group of children on July 25 at the Saugus Public Library.
The tale follows the life of a pencil owned by an elementary school student named Howie. Each month the pencil has new experiences that Martin highlights in the book, such as the time it almost melted on the hot school playground to crossing paths with the dreaded pencil sharpener.
Martin sprinkles details from her past in Saugus and current residence in Sugar Land, Texas throughout the book. She has lived in Texas since 1993, when she accepted a job as a teacher and moved there after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
In one scene Howie is pictured wearing a Saugus Sachems shirt. Later on Howie sports a Bears shirt depicting the nickname of Baylor University, where her son is enrolled.
The idea for writing her own children’s book came out of an assignment Martin gave her third-grade students in Texas. The students were tasked with writing a diary from the perspective of an object and Martin wrote about a pencil to demonstrate what she was looking for.
Martin enjoyed the writing process and decided to try to turn her story about a pencil into a book. She did most of her writing after school and on weekends.
The effort paid off and on Aug. 1 “A School Year in the Life of a Pencil” will officially be released through her publisher Mascot Books.
Choosing an illustrator was one of the fun aspects about writing a children’s book, Martin said. She reviewed about 50 samples of artists’ works and narrowed that down to 10 portfolios to look through.
Martin told the Advertiser she really liked the test sketches that Romney Vasquez created for the…