PATERSON, NJ – Students in Tanya White’s fifth grade Language Arts Class at Public School 18 are on their way to becoming published authors thanks to their efforts in the Young Writers USA’s Spooky Sagas contest.

In a November letter shared with TAPinto Paterson, Jess Giafredda, editor at Young Writers USA, confirmed that the local entries, accounting for more than 10,000 submitted, had been received.

“We have enjoyed reading every story, the standard has been fantastic,” Giafredda continued before adding that several of the entries by White’s students will in fact be published in the Spooky Sagas 2019 - Stories from New Jersey edition scheduled for publication later this month. The works will also be memorialized in the Library of Congress in Washington DC to “provide a lasting record” of the students’ achievement.

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Whether or not the stories made the final cut, or receive cash prizes in April, White said she is happy that her students had the chance to further develop their skills through their participation in the project.

“The students have embraced this opportunity to put their story writing skills to work,” said White. “Many of the students used descriptive language, and devices like imagery, settings, and suspense. We’re hopeful that we’ll do well in the contest.”

Paterson’s top educator commended the students for “putting their imaginations to work.”

“I’m very impressed that these fifth-graders have committed themselves to writing their scary stories,” Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer said before wishing them luck and offering her hope that the students are “very proud of their accomplishments no matter what the outcome of the contest may be.”

The students’ stories are “mini-sagas,” which are described by as stories that are 100 words or less. Some of the titles of the students’ stories – The Haunting of Hitch House and The Figure In The Dark, to name a couple – were reminiscent of those penned by masters of horror like Edgar Allen Poe and Shirley Jackson. 


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