SCBWI Member Wins 3rd Cheerios New Author Contest
- Monday, April 05, 2010
Lori Degman, Winner of 2nd Contest, Has Her Book Inside Cheerios Boxes on Shelves Starting this Month
Congratulations to SCBWI member and Renton, Wash., resident Laurie Isop, whose story, “How Do You Hug a Porcupine?” was selected as the grand prize winner of the 3rd Cheerios® New Author Contest. Laurie’s story netted her the grand prize of $5,000 from Cheerios and a book deal from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Her book will be featured free inside boxes of Cheerios cereal in spring 2011 and will be released in hardcover later that summer. Cheerios also named two runners-up in the contest: Billie Fowler, 55, of Williamsburg, Va., for her story, “Samuel T. Slingshot,” and Jessica Young, 39, of Nashville, Tenn., -- also an SCBWI member -- for her story, “Juliet the Jellyfish.” Both Billie and Jessica will receive cash prizes of $1,000 from Cheerios.
“Even though we can only name three winners, we would like to thank all of those who entered,” said Jeff Hingher, marketing manager for Cheerios cereal. “It’s important for kids to grow up with books of their own. For the past eight years, Cheerios has given away more than 40 million children’s books free inside cereal boxes, and donated $3.2 million to the nonprofit First Book® to provide new books to children from low-income families. We added this contest to help encourage previously unpublished children’s book authors. It’s another way that Cheerios can help get great books to parents and children to enjoy together.”
Cheerios received nearly 3,000 entries in the contest, which ran from March 16 to July 15, 2009. Laurie Isop had drafted her story, “How Do You Hug a Porcupine?” prior to learning about the contest. “My sister owns a bookstore in Stoneham, Mass., and she sent me a link to the contest and encouraged me to enter,” said Laurie. “I probably revised my story 18 or 20 times before submitting it.”
Laurie said she's immensely honored to have her story selected and thrilled to know it will be published and distributed across the country, thanks to Cheerios and Simon & Schuster. “I've wanted to be an author since I was twelve,” she said.
“There were so many great entries this year, but Laurie’s manuscript really blew us away,” said Publisher of Books for Young Readers, Justin Chanda. “It’s a delightful story that hits all the right notes: warmth, humor, with a great twist ending. It’s a proud addition to our list.”
Stories by Contest Runners-Up Available Online, PLUS Book by 2008 Contest Winner Now In Boxes of Cheerios Cereal
While families have to wait until spring 2011 to read Laurie’s winning story, they can read the winning stories by Jessica Young and Billie Fowler now, online at www.spoonfulsofstories.com.
In Jessica Young’s underwater dance story, “dolphins disco” and “lobsters limbo,” but poor Juliet the Jellyfish sits on the side. How can you dance with no fins, no shell, and no backbone to slide? Juliet soon discovers her own groovy dance moves – to the applause of her fellow sea creatures. “I hope that ‘Juliet the Jellyfish’ reminds kids to be who they are and encourages them to find their own way to shine,” said Jessica.
In Billie Fowler’s story, freckle-faced “Samuel T. Slingshot” uses a large round pebble to shoot down a rainbow, creating color havoc all over town. Billie called the contest “the cream of the crop” for never-before-published children’s book authors. “The Cheerios New Author Contest has it all,” said Billie. “It offers a large cash prize and a book deal for the grand prize winner!”
This is the third year that Cheerios has run the New Author Contest. SCBWI member Lori Degman, a special education teacher from Illinois, won the second contest with her book, “1 Zany Zoo,” a rhyming, counting story about a boy’s visit to the zoo and the zoo animals’ zany antics. The book will be published in hardcover in summer 2010, with hilarious illustrations by Colin Jack. A bilingual copy of “1 Zany Zoo” is available free inside 2.2 million boxes of Cheerios cereal, expected to be on shelves starting this month. SCBWI member Shellie Braeuner, a nanny from Nashville, Tenn., was the winner of the first year’s contest. Her winning story, “The Great Dog Wash,” illustrated by Robert Neubecker, is available through booksellers. Coincidentally, Jessica Young and Shellie Braeuner are in the same writing critique group in Nashville.
Cheerios started the contest as a way to encourage up-and-coming unpublished children’s book authors, and continue to nurture a love of reading. Entries in the Cheerios contest were judged on appropriate story/content for children ages 3 - 8, emotional connection, writing quality, uniqueness, and read-aloud potential. Final judging was done by a panel of literary experts.
2010 Call for Entries
Cheerios is re-launching the New Author Contest to support aspiring children’s book authors. The next contest is open for entries from March 15 through July 15, 2010. Judging criteria and contest details can be found online starting March 15 at www.spoonfulsofstoriescontest.com.