The first Big Class book had a theme chosen by its 6 and 7-year-old authors; animals doing things they would not normally do. The writers, who by day are students from Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts in Marrero, LA, wrote five-sentence stories which were sent to 35 artists from all over the place to be illustrated. The book was beautifully laid out and designed, then published and sold in stores. A release event was held at the local library in which the students read their stories and signed copies of their book for 150 fans. The book has nearly sold out its initial 250 copy run at independent book stores in New Orleans.
The authors of Big Class No. 1: The Animals decided to follow up their success with not one but five books. They chose the following themes: sports, robots, superheroes, food, and princesses, and commenced their writing workshop. Their work this time was even more vivid and expressive than their first book, the students driven by the knowledge that their work would be a means for outside engagement. The 43 stories have been illustrated in "colorable" form (a response to the students desire to interact more with the first book) by 43 artists . The five books come in a box, with a set of crayons and a bonus book of activities inspired by the stories.
Sixteen 3rd-graders at Batiste Cultural Academy in New Orleans wanted to make a book about their lives in New Orleans, and began by writing personal narratives. These pieces were given to local artists to illustrate. In the meantime, the students received a crash course on point-of-view photography from a local photographer, and brought disposable cameras back to their neighborhoods to capture on film some of elements of the experiences they wrote about. When their film was developed, they discussed their pictures and the ideas surrounding them with adults. All these elements- the personal narratives, illustrations, photographs, and transcriptions from their conversations- are collected in Big Class No. 3: The 504.