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Mystery Youth Writing Contest Winners

October 31, 2023:

Congratulations to all of our Youth Mystery Writing Contest participants! Twenty-nine young writers (ages 8-12) submitted stories to our mystery writing contest based on Long Lost, a middle-grade novel by Minnesota Book Award Winner Jacqueline West. We were so impressed by the many wonderful stories received.

Jacqueline had the challenging job of reviewing these shadowy and mysterious tales and narrowing the field to the top three stories. She announced the grand prize winner and two runner-ups during her visit to the library on Thursday, October 26.  The grand prize winner was Summer Sheffer for “The Sister Mystery”. The runner-ups were Eloise Bonneville for “Candy Quest” and Deana C. for “Lost History”.

Winner: Summer Sheffer

Summer, age 10, is a fifth grader in the GATE Program in Stillwater. She has two older sisters, an older brother, two dogs named Radar and Missile, and a cat named Cheeto. Summer is bilingual and speaks Danish at a conversational level. She enjoys reading, writing, and drawing. While she hasn’t illustrated her own books yet, that could be a future accomplishment. Summer’s favorite reads are the Warriors series (78 or so books long!) and the Wings of Fire series (17 books & 5 graphic novels).

Jacqueline’s comments about Summer’s winning story: “The descriptive language is beautiful, the writing flows clearly and logically, dialogue reveals character nicely, and I love the world the writer has imagined!”

Runner-Up: Eloise Bonneville

Eloise, age 9, is a fourth grader at Rutherford Elementary in Stillwater. She has an older brother, a dog, and two cats. She loves reading, spending time with friends, and doing arts and crafts. She has been writing since she was about six years old and has been sharing her stories even longer. From an early age, Eloise would carry around paper with pretend writing and read her story to her family. One of Eloise’s favorite books is The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz. She also enjoys reading the Who Was series of illustrated biographies.

Jacqueline thought Eloise’s story “was a fun and original take on the library concept, with nice clear writing. I especially loved the three witchy s’more sisters, Graham, Mallow, and Chocolate, melting together at the end!”

Runner-Up: Deana C.

Deana, age 11, is a sixth grader at Stillwater Middle School. She has always wanted a dog, but she has fish and a younger sister! In addition to writing, she likes to draw and swim. She is really happy that her story was selected as a runner-up. She likes to write a lot! Deana has so many favorite books that it is hard to choose just a few titles. Some of her top picks are Amal Unbound and Omar Rising by Aisha Saeed and Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd.

Jacqueline noted that she selected Deana’s story as a runner-up for its “moments of really beautiful figurative language.”