The story starts in a northern hardwood forest, weaving your way through the tall, strong trees, focusing on the water flowing through the rocks alongside you, looking out for any creatures you may encounter along the way.
Jessica Lawton, a fourth-year student at Keene State, decided to combine her degrees in secondary education, and sustainability in order to create a children’s book of her own about science and the environment, formally named, “The Most Unusually Usual Brook.” Growing up in Rhode Island, Lawton has been familiar with the New England woods for a long time. Two years ago, she was able to attend the Harbor Brook Experimental Forest with her class for the first time. The objective was to write a field memo, but Lawton was able to turn it into something bigger.
“[Writing a book] was never on my radar [until] this project where I was supposed to write a field memo… but there’s not a lot of personality in it and I felt like there was a better way to capture this, I took all these beautiful pictures, can I put it in a storybook?” Lawton said.
The book writing process was not fast for Lawton. She said she began working on this project in December 2021 and finally finished it in January of this year. Her process consisted of visiting the forest site, taking a plethora of photos for visuals, and creating a storyboard.
She then was able to start writing out the story and found a selfpublishing website. At the end of her publishing process, she had a completed book, a tangible product of her love for science.
“One of my life goals is to make science really accessible because, unfortunately, we lose a lot of kids around this age where they’re like I don’t like science because science isn’t approachable for me. This book makes science a little bit more approachable [and] accessible,” Lawton said.
Lawton’s book is directed towards a fourth to sixth grade reading audience. To fulfill her other passion for education, she wants to turn her story into a teaching tool for all teachers alike.
“I haven’t been able to [read my story] to kids [yet], but I’ve had my friends who are teachers… read it to their kids, and they [understood it]. Unfortunately, I haven’t had anyone use the lesson plans yet, but I’m a student teaching now and I hope I get to use them,” Lawton said.
With the overwhelming love and support from her family and friends, she was able to write something that could be used to educate children around the world on why nature is extremely important and why they should protect it.
“I’ve had people and my friends messaging their family [recommending] teacher friends [to] buy this book. My family’s posting it everywhere and, during Christmas, that’s all we talked about,” said Lawton.
“The Most Unusually Usual Brook” by Jessica Lawton retails for $15.99 and can be found at TMUUB. com and lulu.com.
“Go out there and find nature,” Lawton said.
Reilly Sanborn can be contacted