Valley school students publish a book of stories recalling the day of the Nov. 30 earthquake

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Students in a first grade class at Meadow Lakes Elementary in Wasilla are now both authors and illustrators after writing a book about their experiences on the day of the Nov. 30th earthquake.

1st grade teacher at Meadow Lakes Elementary Megan Luke talks about "Alaska Earthquake 2018," a book her students wrote. (KTUU)

Megan Luke - and her class of 27 students - was already working on a book when the earthquake happened. The group decided to seize the opportunity to make a unique memento.

“I just wanted a chance to make a book with my students, and then the earthquake happened,” Luke said. “I was like, ‘Let’s make this meaningful for the kids, a way for them to share what happened.'”

They returned to class on Dec. 5. Luke said many of her students at first were too shaken up to share, until she mentioned they would be writing and illustrating their own stories. That’s when it turned into a way for them to process what happened.

“We had students who were really excited about the earthquake, to the ones who were really scared,” Luke said.

They finished the book around Christmas time, and received the published, hardcover copy titled “Alaska Earthquake 2018” in early February. The students were so excited about the finished product, Luke said, that they resolved to read their stories to other Meadow Lakes Elementary classrooms.

“Some of mine that struggle at school came up to me that day and said, ‘This is the best day of my life! I’m an author, I’m an illustrator!’” Luke said.

Though originally meant to serve as a poignant memento, Luke thinks the book shows that Alaska schools deserve support in the face of potential statewide funding cuts to education, and local contract negotiations.

“Now, with everything that’s going on, I told the school board, ‘Hey I want to get you a copy,’ just to say there is some good going on in the schools right now,” Luke said. “We just want to be able to keep it up. And we have a goal to get it into the hands of Gov. Dunleavy, and Lisa Murkowski, and other people who are representing Alaska and just say, ‘Hey, our kids are here. We’re ready to learn. Please keep supporting us.’”

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