Field Period Project Places Keuka Student on Amazon’s ‘Best Sellers’ List

"Paw prints in the snow"

Nissa Burch collaborated with college alumnus Laurie Gifford Adams on a recently published children’s book.

KEUKA PARK – Not many can say that a book has made it to the top five on one of Amazon’s best seller lists. Even fewer can say they did it at just 20 years old and with their first book.

But Nissa Burch can. The Keuka College student illustrated the new children’s book “Pawprints in the Snow” as part of her second year Field Period project. This is yet another example of the variety of possibilities offered by the annual experiential learning internship program.

“Pawprints in the Snow” was written by the College’s Associate Director of Alumni Relations Laurie Gifford Adams in 83. Based on a true story, the book neared the top of the “Cat Books” list. for kids ”from Amazon earlier this month.

The couple collaborated on the book after Laurie, who has written six novels, was asked if she was planning to write a book about the stray cat that had moved into her stable. She wasn’t, initially, but the idea of ​​a children’s book froze. When the time came to look for an illustrator, Laurie asked Keuka College art teacher Melissa Newcomb if she knew anyone who might be interested.

“I was taken aside and Melissa asked me to come into her office,” recalls Nissa, who at first thought she might be in trouble. “But then she said she wanted to give me the opportunity to work with an author and possibly illustrate a book. Heck, yeah! Who would turn down this type of opportunity?”

While Laurie is a prolific writer, Nissa had never illustrated a book.

“I’ve never had this type of illustration experience before, so even being a part of this book literally gives me goosebumps every time I think about it,” says Nissa.

Since Keuka College’s field period allows students to create their own educational experiences, Nissa was able to dedicate the time she devoted to the project to the broader educational opportunities offered by the program.

“During the process, I learned how things work from Laurie’s point of view as an author, how marketing works and how the process works,” says Nissa. “I take all comments from everyone and use this as an opportunity to continue my journey with drawing or graphic design, or even another book. “

In other words, a return to bestseller lists could be in its future.

“Nissa is very professional and understood that just like with the story you write, you could pull some big chunks out of it,” says Laurie. “It’s the same with the illustrations. It was a lot of responsibility that I gave her, and she was so good. She was responsive and positive, and I couldn’t have asked for more. I really couldn’t.

Author Laurie Gifford Adams presents Nathaniel Smart of the Humane Society of Yates County with checks totaling $ 600 from donations in exchange for originals and copies of illustrations from her children's chapter book,

To get your own copy of “Pawprints in the Snow,” visit Longs’ Cards and Books in Penn Yan, Laurie’s website, or Amazon. Additionally, Nissa’s illustrations from the book, both original and in print, are available for purchase. All proceeds will go to the Humane Society of Yates County and the Ontario County Humane Society in Canandaigua. To purchase a drawing, contact Laurie through her website.

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