SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood visited White Street School on Wednesday morning to read a children’s book she recently authored and meet the second, third, and fifth-grade students who created the illustrations for the book.
Commissioner Clapprood recently authored a children’s book titled “Kacey, a Bee and a Tree,” and enlisted the help of student artists in art teacher Donna Sousa’s classes at White Street School to create illustrations for the book.
“You have to get to know us, otherwise the fear is there. Some people spread that image, that we are the bad guys. But we are not the bad guys. I want them to like us, to get to know us, and come to us when they have a problem,” Commissioner Clapprood told 22News.
Fourth grader Jaiden Green told 22News, “It’s a great opportunity and it’s nice to be in a book.”
The story is about the Springfield Police Department’s emotional support dog Kacey and her adventures with the Commissioner’s staff around Halloween last year. The lesson of the story is to not laugh at or make fun of others.
“I like seeing the pictures that I drew in the book,” said Bakari Brown, a fifth grader.
“We were so happy to work with the kids at the White Street School to finish out the book. The talent of these young artists is obvious and I was floored when I saw how wonderful their illustrations came out,” Commissioner Clapprood said.
The book came to be after Commissioner Clapprood began to write down a series of funny moments involving Kacey and SPD staff members. The department then reached out to the White Street School to have students assist in illustrating each page of the book.
“What a great collaboration between Commissioner Clapprood, our SPD, and our student artists at White Street School. Art teacher Donna Sousa and her students did such a wonderful job illustrating the book. This will be a great experience for our brave and dedicated officers to share this book with our children,” said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.
Each of the student artists will receive their own copy of the book over the summer and additional copies will be printed for Springfield Police officers to read at schools.