Naugatuck school hopes for a best seller

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The Andrew Avenue Elementary School’s parent-teacher group is commissioning a children's book about the school mascot and selling it as a fundraiser for the school. CONTRIBUTED
NAUGATUCK — Jennifer Stone was reading her 5-year-old son a book about Lucky the Leprechaun, the mascot for the Boston Celtics basketball team, when she noticed an ad in the back for books about elementary school mascots.

Stone, who has two children at Andrew Avenue Elementary School and is a member of the school’s parent-teacher group, said she liked the idea of commissioning a children’s book about the school mascot and selling it to make money for the school.

“It’s an item that the kids are going to have and they will be able to keep using it,” Stone said. “It’s not like candy or wrapping paper.”

Students voted to name the school’s roadrunner mascot Rocket and the parent-teacher group is asking for donations by Saturday to offset the cost of printing the book.

Mascot Books, the publishing company based in Herndon, Va., required the school to order at least 250 copies of the book at about $10 each, although only 202 students attended the school at the end of last year. If all the books are sold at $15 each, as the parent-teacher group plans, they will make $1,250, and they could make more if sponsors help pay for the costs.

The books will arrive around the start of school, said Kelly O’Donnell, who manages the company’s elementary school program.

The parent-teacher group has already raised at least $500 on top of the $675 deposit needed to commission the book, Stone said.

The group might not sell all the books the first year, but even if they break even or lose money, Stone said, she thinks the project is worthwhile. The books could be used to encourage reading and quell new students’ anxieties, she said.

Mascot Books staffers wrote “Hello, Rocket!” which features the roadrunner going through a day at school, with input from the parent-teacher group. The group sent photos of the school and information about events to localize the book, O’Donnell said.

The book, filled with cartoonish illustrations, is about 12 pages long and can be read at a second-grade level, Stone said.

Andrew Avenue is the first school in the state to commission a book from Mascot Books, earning the school 25 free books that the parent-teacher group chose.

The school will also get a coupon code that entitles parents and faculty to any Mascot Book title for $5.

In addition to books about professional and college team mascots, Mascot Books has printed books for 63 elementary schools around the country and one about Bo Obama, the president’s dog.

To sponsor Andrew Avenue Elementary School’s book, contact Stone at (203) 232-3876 or jstone624@sbcglobal.net.