Poetry written by Columbus preschoolers to be featured in animated short films

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A group of Columbus City preschoolers will have their poetry featured in eight short films and a documentary.

"I like writing because you can make anything out of writing. Like a story or poetry or a song," said Michaiah Long, a now 2nd grader at Stewart Elementary.

"I'd never written with kids who don’t write themselves," said Nancy Kangas, who teaches poetry as part of a literacy program with Columbus Early Learning Centers. "Nor do they know abstract concepts. So, everything that you can play with figurative language... I didn’t think was going to work. What I didn’t know is how they think in terms of metaphor."

Last year, Kangas says her student's work was so inspiring that she decided to turn their poetry into an animation.

Kangas began raised money through a Kickstarter campaign. She raised $15,000, hired an animator and musicians to bring the preschoolers poetry to life.

"These are not necessarily for children," Kangas said. "They are for all of us and they are about the power that children have and about their fears too."

Kangas says the short films speak about things like gun violence and sickness. The animator then interpreted the student's words and put them to picture.

"I hope he got it right!," said Samuel Harper, also a 2nd grader at Stewart Elementary. He also wrote poetry that will be featured in the short films.

When asked how he felt about his poetry being featured in a film, he responded "amazed."

The short films will be screened at the Wexner Center for the Arts on Friday evening. The young poets will be transported to the big event by limousine.

Kangas plans to submit the films to film festivals across the country.