Teen girls use savings to write, illustrate, copyright children’s books

(L-R) Bella Maner, 16, Sarah Rose Govero, 16
(L-R) Bella Maner, 16, Sarah Rose Govero, 16(Bella Maner, 16, Sarah Rose Govero, 16)
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 3:14 PM CST
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CLINTON, Miss. (WLBT) - While many teenagers have life and schedules mapped out by mom and dad, Sarah Rose Govero and Bella Maner are writing their own stories - literally.

And it’s making year 16 even sweeter.

The girls, who are 11th graders at Mount Salus Christian School, have authored and illustrated two children’s books.

It started as a simple idea while babysitting at church.

“No kids were there yet, so it was just me and her, Sara Rose said. “And we were just sitting there talking, and I was like, ‘I think it’d be cool to do a book with animals’ because I’ve been crocheting for several years now.”

Sara Rose had a thought to write a book paired with a handmade animal from the story. Bella was immediately on board!

“I was stoked! ‘It was like a really great idea,’ and I love drawing, so it gave me an opportunity to do that.”

The best friends agreed on a theme - sea animals, then a topic - courage.

“It’s all about being brave. Our character is going to school for the first time, you know, and needs the courage to conquer those fears,” Bella said, who inspired the story.

Teen girls use savings to write, illustrate, copyright children’s books
Teen girls use savings to write, illustrate, copyright children’s books(Sarah Rose Govero)

“I’ve moved around a few times. So the whole entire, like, school experience, like going to a new school is close to home,” Bella said. “And I have three younger siblings, so I know how that feels when you don’t know anyone; it was definitely like inspiration for not only the story, but for the illustration.”

After writing the story together, Bella brought the artwork to life by uploading it to Canva, an online graphic design platform.

The girls spent their summer fine-tuning the storyline, hand painting each page of the book, uploading them to the printer, and crocheting the companion character that goes with each book.

And after getting their first book copyrighted and a couple of dozen sales through Etsy, they decided to do it all over again. The second book is about how to overcome - which is exactly what this months-long project took.

“This has just been a fun experience together, you know, to work through all the struggles of it and overcome the hard parts, but then to be able to have that rewarding feeling at the end... is just amazing,” Sarah Rose smiled!

They thought of everything - including personalizing each book for boys and girls and even allowing the reader to help the main character find courage and hope.

“The title of the first book is Natalie/Norman has courage with the help of you. The other one is titled Oscar/Olivia overcomes an injury with the help of you,” Sara Rose said. “And the help of you part is one of the things we wanted to do to put our reader inside the story. So at one point, the reader assists the character in overcoming whatever their struggle is.”

And the best friends did it all using a few hundred dollars of hard-earned babysitting money.

Now, despite juggling classes, athletics, student government association, and honor society duties, Sarah Rose and Bella are thinking of new themes, topics, and illustrations for their new line of children’s books.

You could find the Rose and Bee Creature Collections soon in a store near you.

And they might be the only books around town that come with colorful hand-crocheted sea animals from the story.

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