By: Vivian Jair
A biennial competition open to all district students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, the 2012 FUSD Young Authors’ contest challenged participants to create their own book. Each contestant wrote a short fictional story, spanning from 100 to 1500 words, and added illustrations for further appeal.
Three winners for each grade level were picked from the pool of contestants by district judges. They were then honored on February 29 at the Young Authors’ Tea at Warm Springs’ Elementary School. Their entries will also be professionally printed and placed in libraries around the district.
This year, MSJ has three winners—Sophomores Alankrita Dayal and Tammy Tseng, as well as Junior Hannah Chu.
Alankrita Dayal’s “The Case of the Missing Composer” is a short mystery story written in poem format, with the addition of colorful hand-drawn illustrations. In Dayal’s suspenseful mystery story, a famous composer fails to show up for his scheduled performance. As the mystery of the missing composer comes to baffle the entire town, the main character Justice and his assistant Sun investigate to uncover the true villain.
Dayal revealed that many short stories and novels that she read served as inspiration for her story. Additionally, Dayal credits her grandmother for the motivation behind writing the story. She said, “My grandmother raised me with lively children’s stories consisting of intricately designed plots. She has molded me into the person I am today.”
Dayal is very excited about the award and her book’s publication. She hopes to participate again in the future and encourages all students to try out in the next contest.
Written as a satirical short story, Tammy Tseng’s “The Canary” is a new type of fairy tale. Not wishing to write a typical children’s story, Tseng took the classic model of a fairy tale and wrote it in a cynical manner.
Tseng comments that she had more difficulty with the artwork than with the actual storyline itself. However, despite having won the Young Authors’ contest twice before, Tseng was still surprised by her award.
“I didn’t exactly spend a lot of time on this so I wasn’t expecting anything…This was kind of a last minute thing so I did the whole story the last day of winter break,” Tseng said.
Raising awareness about the environment through a children’s story, Hannah Chu’s tale stars a tree that mutates and goes berserk due to deforestation and pollution. The mutated tree is hunted by a crowd that intends to cut it down, but luckily, one eco-friendly girl decides to step in.
Aside from the writing itself, Chu also spent much time on the pictures, which she described as an “Eric-Carle style”. Instead of simply drawing onto the paper, Chu painted patterns onto a stack of papers and then cut out shapes to paste onto the book.
She is satisfied with the award, especially as there have been few winners from MSJ in previous years.Chualso won before when she participated in the contest in fifth grade. However, because of the efforts required and the timing of the next contest, Chu probably will not participate again.
“…It’s very unlikely that I would compete again in this,” Chu said, “But in general, making the books is fun, though I don’t know what I’d do with them if I ever did make more.”