Sara Rocco spent the end of her senior year in her children’s literature course writing a book about a balloon traveling the world, having no idea the journey that book would soon go on.
As a part of her class, she was asked to write a children’s book, but had no idea what to write about.
After taking some time, Rocco came up with the idea of a little boy in New York City releasing his balloon to let it travel and see the world, leading to her first published book, “A World From Above.”
Rocco said she was thinking of story ideas, but isn’t the best artist, so she figured a balloon would be easy enough to draw.
“I had my sister and my dad help me draw everything so it was awesome to work together with them on that,” Rocco said.
The book begins in just black and white, but as the balloon travels around the world to new places, it begins to see the world in a different way.
“As the balloon travels, it begins to see the world in color, so the pictures go from black and white to all color at the end,” Rocco said.
This story was turned into a published children’s book, one that Rocco said she is so proud of and excited about.
Rocco is now a junior at Stonehill College, studying early childhood education.
In her freshman year, she took another children’s literature course where she was required to publish a children’s book of her own.
Since she had already written her own story in high school, Rocco worked with her professor to get “A World From Above” published.
She said she had no idea Stonehill offered such a similar course to what she took in high school, but was so excited when she enrolled and found out she had the opportunity and resources to publish her book.
It is now available as a hard copy and online, and can be seen being read by her family and friends, previous teachers, and elementary schools in Lynnfield.
“In high school, it was just a hard copy. But when I got to college, I had the opportunity to make it digital and add in pictures and type in the text so I could sell it online for people to buy,” Rocco said. “It was really cool.”
When she began writing this, Rocco said she was unsure of the plot of the story and where it would go.
Once she started writing, however, she said she just went with it.
She started writing with the little boy releasing the balloon, then came up with the idea of the balloon visiting famous landmarks, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Great Wall of China.
She then came up with the idea of incorporating the black and white to color theme, which she said reminded her of “The Wizard of Oz.”
The little boy buys the balloon at a balloon stand with his grandfather in New York City, and they name it Cherry.
One day, the little boy sets Cherry free, telling the balloon to go chase its dreams.
“I realized I could make it a lesson for kids to chase their dreams,” Rocco said.
The balloon traveled all around the world, but found its way home to the little boy at the end.
“As the balloon goes around the world, the kids reading it can recognize where it is and learn about all these places,” Rocco said. “The whole book rhymes, so it’s kind of like a song and it’s educational.”
Rocco said she got so carried away with this story that she wrote it all in one sitting.
“I’ve never done anything in one sitting before, but for some reason, when I was writing the book, I just sat in bed and all of these things started flowing out,” Rocco said. “I was just like ‘oh my gosh I think I have a good story here.'”
When it was published, Rocco posted the book on a Lynnfield community page on Facebook, and people started buying it.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Rocco said.
She also gave a copy to her grandmother, which was read at her nursing home.
“I want the next step for this book to be exposure,” Rocco said. “I feel like I have enough if I want to take it to the next step and bring it outside of Lynnfield for any teachers to use it.”
One of the best parts about publishing this book, Rocco said, is that the kids love it.
She said parents will tell her their kids love it and she’ll sign some books for them.
Rocco does have plans to write more books about Cherry the balloon, when things slow down with school.
She is hoping to write books that focus on one city that the balloon flies to, such as one book just about the balloon flying to Boston, going over Fenway Park and the Prudential Building.
“I want to do something like ‘Goodnight Moon’ with the balloon,” Rocco said.
Rocco was on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in high school, and said this book is like a tribute to how thankful she is for the education she got in Lynnfield and what the teachers did for her.
“Seeing them (her teachers) getting the book is like (coming) full circle in a way,” Rocco said. “Now I’m in college writing this book. I always knew I was going to go to college but I was on an IEP and never really expected to be at a school that I love and following my dreams by writing this book.”
Rocco said it is amazing how her teachers have supported her along the way, pushing her to be her best and helping her follow her dreams, just like Cherry did.
“A World From Above” is available for purchase at www.blurb.com/b/10058601-a-world-from-above.