ALMOST 41 primary school children in South Gippsland have officially become published authors.

Grade 4, 5 and 6 students at Loch Primary School participated in the West Gippsland Libraries’ Books By Us program, where they used an authentic publishing house process – from outlining plot ideas to creating blurbs and covers – to produce their own books.

The books were then professionally printed by Clancy’s Printing Service in Wonthaggi and will be added to the West Gippsland Libraries’ collections for the public to borrow.

The students’ families and friends watched via livestream, as the new authors celebrated their achievements with their teachers and the Books By Us presenters at a red carpet launch event on November 11.

Shaun Leane, Minister for Local Government, and Rick Brown, chair of West Gippsland Libraries, were beamed in to congratulate the students.

Staff at the small rural school, which has fewer than 150 students, were thrilled to be chosen for the term-long program and worked tirelessly to ensure it kept going even when lockdown meant half of the sessions had to be delivered remotely.

One student said: “I really like Books By Us because we get the opportunity to let our minds go wild. I hope we can do this more in the future.”

Another: “My favourite part of Books By Us was researching our projects. I wish I could do it again.”

Books By Us was developed by professional author Nansi Kunze and modelled on her own experience with her publishers, Penguin Random House and Hawker Brownlow Education.

Ms Kunze and Drouin librarian Michelle Lewry first delivered the program, which is funded by West Gippsland Libraries, Writers Victoria and other sponsors, to Trafalgar Primary School students in 2019.

They hope to share the experience of becoming real authors with more students next year, when West Gippsland Libraries becomes the not-for-profit group Myli.