New Stories For Newtown Contest To Build On Author Visit Inspirations

C.H. Booth Library Children’s Librarian Lana Bennison, and committee members including author-illustrator Ross MacDonald of Newtown, Janice Bernard, Georgia Monaghan, Yvonne Cech, and CHB Young Adult Librarian Kim Young are encouraging writers and artists age 19 and under to take part in a contest that will build upon the June 6 and 7 experience of famous author/illustrator visits to Newtown. (See related story.)

“New Stories For Newtown: Words and Images” is a means of making the experience in which school visits take place on Friday, June 6, and the public presentations on Saturday, June 7, more interactive.

“Last year, the first year of the author-illustrator presentations, was great,” said Ms Bennison. By adding on the contest this year, the committee hopes to further inspire young artists and writers who have had the opportunity to meet with and hear what professionals have to say about their successful careers.

Any person under the age of 19 who is currently schooled in Newtown is eligible to enter the contest.

Original works of art, illustration, poetry, fiction, graphic novels, digital art, paintings, collages, prints, fabric art and photography will be accepted through August 30. Mixed media or three-dimensional pieces can be submitted via a clear photograph of the piece. Each piece must relate to the theme “What inspires me…”

One piece of artwork and one written piece per person is allowed.

Written pieces may be up to 500 typewritten words, but no longer than one page. There is a 30-line maximum for poetry.

Artwork up to 11 by 17 inches will be accepted. Larger pieces may be submitted by photograph. Graphic novel artists may select just one page of a longer piece for submission.

An entry form — found at www.Facebook.com/NewStoriesforNewtown; in the Children’s Department of the library, at 25 Main Street; and also to be available at the June 7 public author and illustrator event — must be taped to the back of each entry. Complete rules, as well as information on digital submissions can be found on the Facebook page link, or at www.chboothlibrary.org. Questions should be directed to 203-426-3851.

Entries should be mailed to New Stories For Newtown c/o C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470, or dropped off in the library’s Children’s Department.

The value of this contest lies in its ability to bring out the creativity in children, said Ms Bennison.

Inspired by Ross MacDonald’s experiences in Canada with a similar program, the contest seems an ideal way to get young people involved in the process they will hear about from experienced authors and illustrators, Ms Bennison said.

“We want kids to put thought into this and do a good job to produce something they can be proud of,” she said. With that thought in mind, committee members will review the works and special recognition will be given to outstanding entries in K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12 grade divisions. One gold and one silver designation per age group will be awarded.

Top works will be displayed at the library.

The other incentive, said Mr MacDonald, is that every submission that meets guidelines will be included in one of two age-appropriate books to be published in the fall of 2014.

An important aspect of the contest, said Ms Bennison and Mr MacDonald, is that the young artists are creating for other Newtown youth.

“We will distribute the finished product to all of the Newtown schools, at no cost. It’s for their peers,” Mr MacDonald said. Copies of the books will also be available for purchase, for a small fee, to offset printing costs.

Adding to the panache of the book, Mr MacDonald added, is that many of the authors and illustrators who take part in the June 6-7 events, as well as others unable to make the June program, will contribute to the book.

“So, the kids will have their works side by side with some of the best known children’s authors and illustrators around,” Mr MacDonald said.

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