Kelso students paint characters from their favorite stories on gourds for fall

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Trenton Doerr, Lainey Loeb, Everly Benson, Lilly Benson, Callahan Brune, Jolena Johnston and Aaron Diaz-Juarez won bookmarks, certificates and a handful of sweet treats for their book-inspired painted pumpkins at Kelso Elementary. With students falling back into regular reading, Kelso Elementary librarian Nancy Hansen took advantage of their renewed interest in books and in a fall-time tradition.

In a recent contest, Hansen encouraged all students to paint a pumpkin inspired by a favorite book character.

"I chose 'Wonder' because it was one of my favorites and it's really inspiring how (the main character's) friends stood up for him," said fifth-grader Lilly Benson.

In the end, seven students were awarded for their creations at several grade levels. Among them were Lainey Loeb, Lilly Benson, Trenton Doerr, Aaron Diaz-Juarez, Jolena Johnston, Callahan Brune and Everly Benson.

"I think Tippy Tinkletrousers is a really fun character and invents really cool stuff and he's really tricky," fourth-grader Trenton Doerr said of his book inspiration.

For weeks, the library was decorated with gourds glammed up to look like popular personalities like Captain Underpants, Dog Man, Fancy Nancy, Splat the Cat and many others.

"I wanted to help them know the book characters and think about the characters more," Hansen said. "It's been great to see the kids come in and get excited about the pumpkins and their characters."

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