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Inspiring Arizona art teacher shows students how to follow their own dreams through illustration

"I realized to make my dream come true, I can't sit there and wish on a star," Mrs. F said. "I have to actually do something about it."

GILBERT, Ariz. — As if teaching during a pandemic wasn't enough of a challenge, one Valley art teacher also decided it was the perfect opportunity to cross off one of her big-time goals, inspiring Arizona students along the way.

Jenni Feidler-Aguilar is a Gilbert art teacher who shapes hundreds of growing minds each school year in the city. 

"I love seeing the kids create," Feidler-Aguilar said. "I love seeing their imaginations and what they come up with."

Feidler-Aguilar, or Mrs. F, teaches are at Gilbert and Mesquite elementary schools. She's also practicing what she preaches, taking her talent to the pages of children's books.

"I realized to make my dream come true, I can't sit there and wish on a star," she said. "I have to actually do something about it."

Mrs. F, landed her first gig as an illustrator in the middle of the pandemic, while teaching art remotely.

Her first illustrated book, Brave in the Water, was just released in April.

"I think it's a really important message not only for swimming but also for anything that you're afraid to do in life," she said.

Jenni's initial illustrations were a success, and now she's filling the pages of her second title.

"It features a child from many different countries across the world saying 'I love you' in their native language," she said.

The book is called I Love You Across the World.

"It's a really beautiful message of unity and how we are all part of the human race," she said.

It's a timely story of kindness, reminding readers while we might say I love you differently, the phrase shares a special common meaning.

It also shows how a few beginning sketches and some paint, can make the words and pages come to life just like her students' own aspirations.

"It's something that seems surreal to them at first, but when you have the opportunity to take that chance and take that risk, you can make it a reality," Mrs. F said. 

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