BRIDGEWATER, NJ - It was Halloween, so fifth-grade Eisenhower Intermediate School student Aanya Srinivasan decided to write a picture book called “Monster Mash” about two girls having a sleepover and having to compete with monsters to hold their party.
And now that book will be bound and placed in both the Bridgewater and Hillsborough public libraries.
Srinivasan was one of the grand prize winners of the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s Children’s Book Contest, held during National Novel Writing Month in November.
“I want to be an illustrator and a writer,” she said. “I liked writing the book.”
A total of 16 students were honored at a special ceremony at the Bridgewater Township Library Jan. 15 for the picture books they wrote and submitted. All the books were displayed in the library through the month of January.
The second grand prize winner, whose book will also be bound and placed in the two libraries for people to check out, was first grade Milltown Primary School student Fisher Grabell, who wrote “All About Football.”
“[I wrote about football] because it’s cool,” he said. “It’s fun. I will write another book about soccer.”
The students all attended a workshop to learn about writing and illustrating books.
Many of the students said they just really enjoy writing, and all said they would write another book.
First-grade Hamilton Primary School student Disha Hebbar said she wrote about fun in the sun.
“I thought about how it was hot in the fall,” she said of choosing the topic for her book. “I do a lot of writing. It is exciting to have my book in the library.”
Second-grade John F. Kennedy Primary School student Kensie Cook wrote “The Crazy Aliens from Space” because she is interested in aliens and wants to be a scientist.
“I read lots of alien books, so it made me want to write one because they are crazy,” she said. “I would like to see an alien, but I don’t think there are any.”
Cook said her next book will be about aliens going to school and making new friends.
For some writers, like fourth-grade Hamilton Primary School student Maya McCann, the topic of the book came from real life experiences.
McCann wrote about a dog that ran away, but was later found.
“I have a dog and once, she ran away, but we found her,” she said. “I have cats too, so my next book will be about a cat running away.”
“It is really nice to have a book in the library,” McCann added. “I want to be a vet, but I love to write.”
Second-grade Adamsville Primary School student J.P Zayle has a whole series of books planned, starting with the one he wrote for the program about people playing baseball.
“I have been playing baseball for five years, I like everything about it,” he said. “I will write another, four years later, with the same kids playing baseball.”
Zayle said he is excited to have his book in the library.
“I like writing because I love to make stories and I had great teachers teach me,” he said. “It is amazing, phenomenal to have my book in the library.”
In addition to the grand prize awards, awards were given to:
• Kensie Cook, “The Crazy Aliens” – Best Stinky Alien Story
• Achyut Nuli, “Snake Friends” – Best Folktale
• JP Zayle, “Baseball Fun” – Best Sports Drama
• Disha Hebbar, “An I Can Read Book: The Hot, Hot Sun and Some Other Stories” – Best Short Story Collection
• Gianna Losik, “The Red Eyes of the Ghost” – Best Scary Bat Drawings
• Luvyakrish Manche, “James’ Big Day!” – Best Story About a Boy Having Fun
• Abhijit Kosuru, “Rainbow Man” – Best Graphic Novel
• Sahasra Jaishetty, “Amelia’s Big Day!” – Best Cute Bunny Drawings
• Jacob Grabell, “The Stolen Dog” – Best Mystery
• Madison Taran, “Gorge & Toilet Trouble” – Best Turtle Adventure
• Samantha Osborne, “This Way is My Way” – Best Story About a Dream Land
• Scarlett D’Aprile, “Winter Break” – Best Story About Friends
• Maya McCann, “Scott the Runaway Dog” – Best Story About a Dog
• Atticus Palmer, “One Weird Kid” – Best Shapeshifter Story