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BRIGHT FUTURES — Port Neches Elementary 5th grader Grace Prioux authors book

PORT NECHES — Port Neches Elementary School fifth grader Grace Prioux is a published author.

It started with her wanting a pet, but her parents said “no.”

So she did chores and earned the money to buy a guinea pig and did some research on the animal, too. She was well prepared when her parents allowed her to get the guinea pig.

“I named her Cuddles because when I got her she cuddled on my shoulder,” Grace said. “The book is based on what happened when I got her, from a guinea pig’s point of view. We took her home, got a cage and set her up.”

The story, which is titled “I Am Cuddles” features a little girl named Grace is a fictionalized story from Cuddles’ perspective.

Her parents, David and Erin Prioux, are obviously proud.

“As her parents, watching her goals come alive in HER book that SHE wrote at age 9 has been very humbling. It’s an exciting time for her and for our family as well,” the parents wrote in a comment to Port Arthur Newsmedia. She has shown such dedication and perseverance through the very long process of writing, editing and finalizing her book. From the time she was 2 she has had a book in her hand. She memorized stories that we read to her, wrote short stories and now published a book. I think the biggest joy right now is watching her really understand that ‘hard work pays off’ and ‘you can do anything if you put your mind to it’ aren’t just cliché sayings.”

A photo of Grace Prioux and the Cuddles “About the Author” page. (Chris Moore/The News)

Rachel Richard, Grace’s fifth grade teacher, said Grace is a wonderful student with a passion for reading and animals, adding she is the kind of young lady who demonstrates a joyful disposition.

“She loves to learn and makes the classroom environment a brighter place,” Richard said. “I am so proud of her accomplishment and know that she will continue to make our world a brighter place. She is an example to her peers and adults that if you believe in your dreams and work hard, those dreams will come true.”

Principal Kimberly Carter said Grace exceeds expectations with the quality of her work.

To hear that Grace is now a published author at the age of 9 is no surprise.

“(Grace) is so smart, and her work ethic is second to none,” Carter said. “Grace has a can-do attitude, and it’s contagious. Students are drawn to her positive energy, and I think that’s what I admire about her the most. Grace Prioux definitely makes PNE the place to be. I’m so incredibly proud to be her principal.”

Carter isn’t through with her writing career.

She is going to try to write a series of Cuddles books, adding that ideas range from Cuddles going outside and experiencing all the new smells to Valentine’s Day.

There recalls a special moment when she held the book she wrote in her hands.

“I felt like I fully accomplished my life long dream, to publish a book,” she said.

As for the future, she’s undecided on what career field to enter but she has it narrowed down — either a veterinarian or marine biologist.

Either way she will continue writing books because it brings her to a “whole new world.”

Her favorite things to read are fiction with animals. Her favorite marine animals are the octopus and jellyfish.

The 22-page book is published by Christian Faith Publishing Inc., and is available through Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.