CEDAR SPRINGS, MICH. - Vicki Burke's cell phone and inbox has been dinging nonstop during the past few days since Animal Adventure Park shared the first story WZZM 13 ran on her students' book about April the giraffe.
Now, she said more than 2,000 books have been purchased all across the globe.
Chapter 1: A Book Is Born
Every day for weeks, Burke's class watched April the giraffe in awe of her popularity.
"Every day it was, 'Did she have her baby yet, did she have her baby yet?' Then it got to be, 'How much longer is this going to take,' and, 'Is this a joke?'" Burke said.
Burke decided to have her students draw pictures to pass the time. Day by day, as April’s belly got bigger and bigger, the students drew more and more pictures.
Pretty soon, the class had 37 pages of pictures – illustrating April’s daily life at home inside Animal Adventure Park.
One day, Burke was admiring the work of all of her talented students when she picked up a pencil and started to write.
"It just came out one night, I was sitting with my friend in Arizona who actually edited the book for us and I said, 'Oh, what do you think of this, I was writing this and I was writing this,' and it just went on from there," Burke said. "It just flowed one whole night and that was it."
Pretty soon, Burke’s class was looking at a 37 page book!
"The pictures kind of went with the words and I thought, 'Oh you know, I'll see what I can do -- I'll put it into a Word document and see what happens,'" she said, "but that wasn't going to fly because I needed the background and the border so then I have a graphic program that I put it on, I started designing the pages."
A friend decided to share Burke's project with WZZM 13 and the story went viral.
Chapter 2: The Story Becomes The Story
And guess what? April’s keepers at her home at the Animal Adventure Park in New York saw the story, posted it on Facebook and asked for copies!
Burke’s e-mail EXPLODED!
"My phone never stopped Thursday evening," she said. "It went all night long it was finally 1 o'clock in the morning, and I said, 'I really have to go to bed now,' and my phone is dinging and dinging and dinging all night long."
April's baby book has been purchased more than 2,000 from across the world.
"The place with the most comments came from is definitely the U.K.," a student said.
"Look how much people decided to watch us and liked us, and emailed our teacher," another student said.
The book was a hit.
"I got really excited that Ms. Burke told us that it went viral overnight!" said a student.
The message behind the story also went viral.
"It's not just an art project, it's not just a project on saving the giraffes -- it's so much more it's just bigger than that it turned into a geography lesson as well now," Burke said.
Burke said the book is already on Amazon's best-seller list and has close to 100 reviews, all which gave it five stars.
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