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5th grader turns school project into published book about her great grandmother

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Posted at 11:44 AM, May 15, 2021

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — It started with a standard school project to write a report on a grandparent. It would become a learning adventure that 12-year-old Rozi McDonald would eventually publish as a book.

“I could have chosen any other grandparent, but I decided to choose her,” McDonald said, referring to her great grandmother Dorothy Maneth.

The two video chatted over Zoom recently, sharing the story behind the story that eventually became McDonald's book.

“When you called me, I thought, ‘Gosh Rozi, I’m not gonna remember all this because I’m getting old,” 91-year-old Maneth said with a laugh.

McDonald and her great grandmother would trade letters, and as the process unfolded, Dorothy did remember plenty about her life growing up in Kansas.

“How we lived on a farm and had the gardens,” she said.

It included stories that went all the way back to the 1930s.

“Once I got started, I remembered things,” Maneth said.

The stories and the letters kept coming, to the point that McDonald decided she wanted her school project to be more than a single report.

“The Dust Bowl, World War II,” McDonald recalled. “They’d save all the flour bags, and they’d make dresses out of the flour bags.”

With assistance from her aunt, also an author, McDonald published her great grandmother’s life story in a book called “A Little Birdie Told Me.”

“The life of a woman seen through the eyes of her great granddaughter,” McDonald said. “I like that part.”

It’s 76 pages with hand drawn artwork for the cover.

“I like your drawing on the front,” Maneth said to McDonald over that Zoom video chat.

She may be the subject of the book, but this great grandmother is proud for a different reason.

“I have some friends that say what a great gal she is. So anyway, you know you’ve made a hit,” she told McDonald.

It's a story of multiple generations, told from one generation to another, that’s brought a 5th grader and her great grandma closer than any video chat could.

“It was extra special,” Maneth told McDonald. “You made my day, and you made my life.”

You can find “A Little Birdie Told Me” on Amazon.