GRIFFITH | Kids Are Authors is an annual competition open to U.S. students in kindergarten through grade 8 and designed to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills.
That's exactly what second-graders in Sue Guy's class at Wadsworth Elementary School did, and the result is "Breaking Walls and Building Blocks," an Honorable Mention award winner this year.
For the project, the class collaborated to write the story and a team of student illustrators created the artwork.
Recognized among the top 25 Honorable Mention entries, the Wadsworth project was singled out among 1,400 entries that went through four levels of judging by 40 people, including teachers, media specialists, marketing, graphics, editing, and product departments. The last level of judges consisted of award-winning children's authors and illustrators Ethan Long, Kate Messner, Edwin Fotheringham, and Noah Z. Jones, plus the president of Scholastic Book Fairs, Alan Boyko.
"My class won official certificates and $500 worth of books and materials for our school library," said Guy of the prize.
"'Breaking Walls and Building Blocks' helps raise awareness of the hearing impaired," Guy added of the nonfiction book.
"It focuses on three students in my classroom who are hearing impaired, and features the interpreter as a necessary component in helping to bridge the gap and break barriers amongst children. The book describes how sign language is used in every day activities in my classroom, and on the playground.
"All of the students in my classroom learned sign language to help communicate with them," noted Guy.
"The project had an illustration team, but the entire class wrote the story. The director of technology for Griffith Public Schools, Robby Dragomer, assisted with the project as well.
"Overall, the children were excited to see the fruits of their labor make the Top 25 out of over 1,000 entries," Guy said. "They enjoyed seeing their school's name, book title, and teacher/principal name on the Scholastic Book Fair-Kids are Authors website.
"The students purchased T-shirts with the book title on them for their photo shoot as well. I am so proud of my second grade students," Guy said.
To view the Wadsworth book online, visit www.griffith.k12.in.us and click on the book title.