13th June 2008 at 01:00
Jimmy Carter has a big reputation
Jimmy Carter has a big reputation. He has been president of the United States, global peace emissary, and opened the door to a new era in US politics by endorsing Barack Obama as the Democrat presidential nominee last week.

But now, aged 83, he has contributed to his biggest endeavour yet. His letter of support to a Massachusetts school will be blown up to giant size in the school's attempt to print the world's largest book.

The pupils of Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School have no intention of out-writing War and Peace. Instead it is the sheer dimensions of their publication that they hope will be record-breaking.

Led by Betsy Sawyer, their teacher, the pupils want to beat the current record holder, which is 9ft by 10ft and weighs 557lb. Their book should weigh in at 2,000lb, measure 12ft by 10ft and cost a mighty $500,000 to print.

The book will be filled with letters about the importance of peace, including letters from the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.

The pupils have had to call on local engineering students to work out a page-turning mechanism. They are now trying to find somewhere to bind and house such a weighty tome.

"This book is happening this year, I know it," Mrs Sawyer told The Boston Globe. "Somebody's got to have an empty airplane hanger. Someone's got to have space to build this thing."

When the project is finished, she hopes to take it on the road to highlight her pupils' dedication to peace. That may require another favour from the former president.

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