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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Fourth grade teacher teams up with student to illustrate book during pandemic

Waukee teacher Natalie Elliott teamed up with her student to write and illustrate "Peny's Purse" during the pandemic. It's on sale starting Thursday.

WAUKEE, Iowa — It's the story that we really need during this time: a teacher teaming up with her student to write and illustrate a book in the middle of a global pandemic. 

Natalie Elliott teaches fourth graders in Waukee. For her very first book, she decided to recruit one of her students to illustrate it.

"Peny's Purse: A True Story of a Determined and Brave Woman" is based off of Natalie's aunt Peny. Natalie said working with her student was a great experience. 

"Naomi wanted to make sure every page, every illustration was perfect. She's like, 'OK Miss Elliot, if you don't like this I'll redo it and do it again. I want to make sure Peny looks perfect,'" Natalie said to Local 5's Lakyn McGee. 

Naomi Davis is the talented artist for the book, which goes on sale Thursday.

Half of the money made from the book will go to a non-profit that provides books to low-income students in Iowa. The other half will go towards Naomi's college fund. 

"I hope that she continues with her talents. She has talent beyond her age for sure," Natalie said about Naomi. 

Working on a book in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for the pair, but they made it through the numerous Zoom calls and back-and-forth talks.

Natalie's advice for others wanting to try something new is to go for it. 

"This is 2020, this is the year of all these first happenings. Try something new," said Natalie. 

Natalie already has plans to start on another book with another student illustrator. 

"Peny's Purse: A True Story of a Determined and Brave Woman" goes on sale Oct. 1. You can pre-order it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble