With a book under her belt, 10-year-old Grace Vaughan has set a new goal — dancing with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
"I want to be on 'Ellen,'" she said. "It's just really cool and I want to dance down the runway with her."
Grace, a fourth-grader, shared her book "Annie and the Magic Book" with the kindergarten- and first-grade students at her school, Mariners Elementary, on Tuesday and Wednesday. She read the book to them, shared her original, handwritten version, talked about how the book came about and fielded questions from her younger peers.
"It's really nice when I get a laugh, or a smile, or a really sweet question," Grace said.
The book follows a young girl who goes to the library and picks out a book. When she gets home, she discovers it isn't any ordinary book. The story, specifically the magic aspect, was a hit with Miki Andrew's kindergarten class Tuesday.
"I think it was pretty much magic when the kid whooshed into the book," kindergartner Milo Hostetler, 5, said with a big smile. "I would like to read the book again some time."
Reading the book again won't be a problem as Grace presented the class with a signed copy of "Annie and the Magic Book."
Grace wrote the book in second grade while sitting in the garage as her babysitter, Becky, did laundry. It took her about an hour with pens and marker to finish the story and staple in together into a book.
While writing a book was not unusual for Grace, her father, John Vaughan's reaction was different, she remembered.
"I just didn't remember seeing a book with an ending like this," Vaughan said. "It was clever and cute."
Her father took it with him to his Harvard reunion to show friends and a New York artist, Robert Kobayashi, who sent Grace illustrations he made for her book.
It took about a year and a half to publish the book and during that time, Grace and her family had to say goodbye to Becky, who started babysitting for the family when Grace's older sister, Emily, was a baby. Becky's own daughter was diagnosed with cancer and the family moved to Germany for treatment.
"It was really sad because I miss her a lot," she said. "She's part of the family."
Grace dedicated her book to Becky and is splitting all of the proceeds between Becky and Emily, who is raising money for a school in Ghana.
Grace also hopes to inspire other kids to write.
"I think kids should write their own books because it's a great experience," she said.
How To Get It
What: "Annie and the Magic Book" by Grace Vaughan and illustrated by Robert Kobayashi