PBS KIDS Writers Contest Announces National Winners

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Panel of honorary judges names twelve winners in annual writing contest 

ARLINGTON, VA, July 23, 2014 – Twelve children in grades K-3 were selected as winners by an acclaimed panel of judges in the PBS KIDS Writers Contest this year. The winning entries in the Contest were chosen from thousands of submissions from 62 participating PBS stations across the country.

“We were thrilled to see another impressive batch of submissions for the annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “PBS KIDS and our local stations always enjoy encouraging children to use their imaginations to create memorable stories. We look forward to supporting the next generation of creative thinkers as they develop important writing skills that will lay the foundation of success in both school and life.”

PBS stations throughout the country collaborated with schools, public libraries and other community-based organizations to present the PBS KIDS Writers Contest in local communities. Local winners were entered into the national contest, where a panel of esteemed judges ranked the top 12 entries. The national winners and their winning stories are featured on pbskids.org/writerscontest.

The national winners will receive prizes courtesy of national prizing sponsor, LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. Winners will receive a prize package that will include LeapFrog’s award-winning LeapReader Reading and Writing System along with educator-developed LeapReader books, maps and more to help children on every step of their reading and writing journey.

The 2014 national winners include:

1st place: “Grandpa Pig’s Pizza” by Nikolai Nawrocki, Wayne, PA – WQED
2nd place: “Bill’s Hat is Very Stuck” by Karsten Eckhoff, Stover, MO – KMOS
3rd place: “The Secret Alligator Key” by Inaaya Sethi, Binghamton, NY – WSKG

First Grade
1st place: “Once Upon a Pencil” by Ethan Mattocks, Guys Mills, PA – WQLN
2nd place: “A Survival Guide to South Dakota” by Samuel Ellenbecker, Cascade, WI – MPTV
3rd place: “The Colors I Feel” by Joshua Kafumbe, Middlebury, VT – Vermont Public Television

Second Grade
1st place: “Eric’s Job” by Oniana Boulware, Las Vegas, NV – Vegas PBS
2nd place: “Rosy Helps Cathy Catch Her Bus” by Michelle Kang, Annandale, VA – Community Idea Stations
3rd place: “Seeds from Space” by Connor Smith, Pittsburgh, PA – WQED

Third Grade
1st place: “A Humble Book of Poems” by Jishnu Dey, Dover, NH – New Hampshire Public Television
2nd place: “My Special Granddaddy” by Mollie Hensley, Mebane, NC – UNC-TV
3rd place: “If I Were An Engineer…” by Paul Schwartz, Bettendorf, IA – Quad Cities PBS

PBS KIDS Writers Contest Honorary Judges
A panel of America’s leading children’s writers, producers, and media creators served as honorary judges for the PBS KIDS Writers Contest this year. The 2014 honorary judges include:

  • Billy Aronson, creator, PEG + CAT
  • Jeff Kinney, author (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series), online game developer and designer
  • Martin Kratt, creator and co-executive producer, WILD KRATTS
  • Chris Kratt, creator and co-executive producer, WILD KRATTS
  • Joseph Mazzarino, head writer, director and puppeteer, SESAME STREET
  • Jennifer Oxley, creator, PEG + CAT
  • Bob Staake, author (THE DONUT CHEF, HELLO ROBOTS)
  • Vince Vawter, author (PAPERBOY)

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is made possible through national promotional support from Highlights for Children. The Contest is produced by PBS and based on the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, a concept developed by WNED-TV, Buffalo.

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About WNED
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well/WORLD TV, WBFO-FM 88.7 and Classical 94.5 WNED, member-supported WNED|WBFO provides high-quality programming and services to local, regional and national audiences that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED|WBFO can be found at wned.org

About LeapFrog
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. is the leader in educational entertainment for children. For nearly 20 years, LeapFrog has created award-winning learning solutions that combine educational expertise, innovative technology and a child’s love for fun. With experiences that are personalized to each child’s level, LeapFrog helps children achieve their potential through LeapFrog’s proprietary learning tablets, learn to read and write systems, interactive learning toys and more, all designed or approved by LeapFrog’s full-time in-house team of learning experts. LeapFrog’s Learning Path, the ultimate guide for parents on early childhood, is designed specifically to help support and guide their child’s learning with personalized ideas and feedback, fun activities and expert advice. LeapFrog is based in Emeryville, California, and was founded in 1995 by a father who revolutionized technology-based learning solutions to help his child learn how to read. Learn more at www.leapfrog.com.

About Highlights for Children, Inc. (www.Highlights.com) 
Devoted to “Fun with a Purpose,” family media brand Highlights for Children, Inc. has helped children become their best selves for generations. In addition to the flagship magazine, Highlights’ other offerings include a preschool magazine (High Five), an infant magazine (Hello), a children’s book company (Boyds Mills Press), puzzle book clubs and a variety of digital products.

Maria Vera, PBS KIDS, 703.739.3225, mvera@pbs.org 
Caitlin Melnick, 360 Public Relations; 617.585.5775; cmelnick@360pr.com