First-time author encourages children to pursue their goals during visit to Errickson school

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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Following the publication of her first book, a Freehold Township resident has visited a local school to explain to pupils how she created the story and to inspire them to pursue their own projects.

Emmanuella Macri, 19, recently met with first and second grade pupils at the Marshall W. Errickson School, Elton-Adelphia Road, to discuss her book “Older.”

Macri graduated from Communications High School in Wall Township. She is currently a sophomore studying philosophy at Rutgers University.

“Older,” which was written and illustrated by Macri, is her first published book. She began working on “Older” at the age of 17 as an assignment for a high school class and completed the book a year later.

“The assignment was to come up with an idea for a story,” Macri said. “I had to write it out and I had to draw it.”

Macri read her book to the children during her visit to the Errickson school. “Older” tells the story of Milly, a girl who always wishes she was older when she finds herself unable to take part in activities because of her age.

When Milly becomes an adult, she realizes she is now unable to do the activities she could have done as a child and begins to appreciate what she is able to do at her age.

Each page of the book includes an illustration of the story that is told in rhymes.

“I thought it would be more fun to make the words rhyme,” Macri said.

In discussing “Older” with the children, Macri explained that the story was published, which she learned to do online for her class, and she told the youngsters what being “published” means.

“When a book is published, that means anyone can buy it,” she told the youngsters. “It’s a book anyone can read in the library.”

Macri also explained what it means to edit a book and she talked about the process she undertook to complete “Older.” She told the pupils that in her high school class, she and a fellow student edited each other’s work.

“We tried to make it better,” she said. “That’s called editing. We decided what to add, what to remove and what to change.”

To demonstrate changes that had been made to the book, Macri showed the pupils her original manuscript and subsequent drafts, with each draft containing fewer words until the final version was the story she read to them.

Macri said she wrote the words for “Older” before she decided what she wanted to illustrate. She explained that when she finished writing the story, she created a storyboard for the drawings.

“I drew each page of the book so I knew what the full book was going to look like,” she told the children.

Macri said that just as the words of the book went through an editing process, so did the illustrations. She showed the children her original drawings to demonstrate how they evolved into the drawings that were used in the book.

Macri said the illustrations were created with watercolor paints. Once the illustrations were finished, she used a scanner to upload them to a computer.

On the computer, Macri put her writing on the pages next to the drawings and made further revisions until she was satisfied. Once “Older” was finished, her story became a computer file that she sent to a publisher.

Macri encouraged the pupils not to give up on any goals they have, including projects they may work on.

As Macri said, she had not completed “Older” when her high school class ended, but she decided to continue working on the book and she completed it a year after she received the assignment in high school.

“It’s an important thing to never give up,” Macri said. “Keep going, keep trying, keep making it better. In the end, you will get what you want it to be or you will figure it out.”