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Rising Starr duo creates book to help animals

A pair of Panthers are using their talents to make a difference for animals in need. Rising Starr Middle 8th graders Gracie Collins and Jillian Moore teamed up to publish a book that will benefit the Fayette County Animal Shelter.

Written by Jillian and illustrated by Gracie, “The Adventures of Charlie and Joey" will be the first in a series of books they are calling “Peachtree City on a Leash.” The book details the adventures of their dogs Charlie and Joey through Peachtree City as the local celebrity, Manny the Manatee, drives them on his golden golf cart. Manny the Manatee is a mailbox near McIntosh High that gets dressed for all occasions, and the authors hope to see a display including their characters.

The book is a product of the Community for Creativity capstone program. The program allows 8th graders the opportunity to explore open-ended passion and project-based learning over the year. Projects take learning beyond the classroom, connecting to five main areas: Art & design, film & tv, engineering & technology, music & recording, and business & entrepreneurship.

They pitched their project to a "Shark Tank" panel of teachers and education leaders, received feedback, and were approved to move forward with their project. They worked over the course of the year to complete their project with program mentor Meehan Murphy as their advisor, along with other faculty mentors.

“I am so proud of them and their amazing work,” said Murphy.

Principal Kathy Smith was so impressed by their efforts that she offered to fund printing 60 more copies of the book.

“These students learned so much about publishing, story writing, art work, and marketing,” said Principal Smith.

The book began on a simple day hanging out.

“We were really just trying to think of something to do while we were hanging out, so we decided to just draw a book about our dogs,” said Gracie.

“We had nothing to do, so we decided to write a book about our dogs traveling through Disney movies,” said Jillian.

Art teacher Kristen Specht suggested they turn it into a book for their capstone project, and Jillian’s mother suggested they switch the story to focus on Peachtree City and include Manny.

Finally getting a copy in print made it real for Jillian.

“When I first saw the book, I was shocked. The inside amazed me, and I couldn't believe that our idea had become a reality.”

Gracie was thrilled to see her work in print.

“It was unreal. It was hard to believe that I had drawn every one of the illustrations and it became a book. My drawings weren’t in a sketchbook or a piece of paper, they were in a physical book,” said Gracie. “I’ve always wanted to make a book, but it always seemed impossible, especially at 14 years old. However, now it was real!”

The duo is eager to share their work, and they have already read their book to students at Peeples Elementary.

As part of the promotion, they have created an Instagram account (@adventures_of_charlieandjoey) that includes a weekly spotlight of an adoptable shelter animal. They are selling printed copies of the book, an ebook, and stickers, with all proceeds benefitting the Fayette County Animal Shelter.


Order books:


Follow on Instagram: @adventures_of_charlieandjoey


Donations via GoFundMe:


Posted on 4/30/2024