Students put emotions into book

GALVESTON, TX [IKE ANNIVERSARY: Look back at the storm that changed SE Texas]

Some Austin Middle School students are among Hurricane Ike's youngest victims.

Ten-year-old author Jennifer Garcia recalled, "First it was scary because I thought everything in Galveston would ruin."

They documented their stories after the storm in a newly published book called "After Ike -- 20 Stories From 20 Galveston Kids."

"It was therapeutic for them to process what they had gone through, but also to see what other kids their age had to go through," said art teacher Stephanie Thomas.

Students kept a daily journal and took pictures around town for two weeks.

"We wrote a lot and we took lots of pictures, and then we had to narrow it down to a couple pictures," explained nine-year-old author Alexa Conrad.

Ben Thompson, 12, learned a tough lesson in photography. He documented how his pets were affected by the storm.

"I had a really hard time because I was taking pictures of cats," Ben said. "Either they would walk toward the camera so all I could see is a just a really big picture of their nose, or they just turned away."

The children's stories are remarkable and their candor often heart breaking.

"The stress from Ike is unbelievable. ... We ate MREs for weeks.," wrote one child.

Another wrote, "I felt scared. I could hear all this stuff smashing."

Nine-year-old author Zeke Havard's family is still displaced following Ike's wrath.

He said, "I kind of feel lucky because I know a lot of people lost all their house."

Lucky, too, now that they are published even before high school.

Ten-year-old author Dimitri Kraus said, "You never really get the chance when you're a kid to write a book about a hurricane."

Books are $45 and part of the proceeds benefit future artists and residents projects at Satori Elementary. The child authors will be available here at MOD Coffee Shop in Galveston for the book signing Saturday between 4 and 6pm.

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