To prepare for writing the book, Mrs. Litwin brought in a class cactus that the students named Spike. She changed the name to Prickle to make the character less intimidating for the book.

Whitemarsh Elementary (WE) second grade teacher April Litwin was the featured guest for an author event during the school’s recent Barnes & Noble Night.

Mrs. Litwin’s book, “Prickle”, was published this past fall. The story follows a young girl, her quest for a pet and a cactus.

“I like my teacher’s book, because it’s a story about how it’s a big responsibility to have a pet and how sometimes things are hard in life, but you just have to keep going and going,” explained Daniel Espinoza, a WE second grader.

In second grade, the students publish their own fiction stories, and Mrs. Litwin can share her professional experience with the process — especially getting feedback, editing and making revisions.

“It inspired me to write a book that I’m making right now,” said second grader Jori Taylor. “It’s about a monkey, and he gets stuck in a washer. I’m already planning part 2: monkey in a drier.”

The story features a few characters based on children at Whitemarsh Elementary School, but mainly Mrs. Litwin wanted to capture the spirit of the school and the people in it.

“It’s based on a real life event that did happen in the classroom,” said Mrs. Litwin. “The actions of the characters, the enthusiasm of the characters, the respect and responsibility and all those things we embody as a community, I put those in the book. I’m inspired by the kids.”