13 May

Annual Scholastic Picture Book Competition

Contributed by Ms. Susan Abramson and Ms. Sheila Dorgan Sienicki

Burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline!  Well, the midnight part is not exactly what happened, but the expression captures the spirit, energy and hard work fifth-grade students Karina, Anya, Mauricio and Eli experienced in order to  complete their twenty-eight page picture book in time for submission to  the Annual Scholastic Picture Book Competition.

The idea for The Quest to Find the Singing Book started with a draft in January, and the edits and revisions were happening right up until the deadline for submission.  The hard work of the writers resulted in a beautiful, hardbound book now displayed in our Lower School library.

The Quest to Find the Singing Book is reminiscent of other quest stories in that the main characters work in service of their king and have to overcome a series of obstacles as they search for the magical singing book. However, the story distinguishes itself with interesting vocabulary words that jump off of every page and the sweet message about teamwork and selflessness delivered at the end. The illustrations are not mere accompaniments; they infuse the story with emotion and humor, and the picture at the end of the three friends sitting alongside one another as they enjoy the magical singing book is particularly charming.

The authors were very proud to share their work with author, Wendy Mass,  during her Lower School visit. Ms. Mass shared with the students the joys and challenges of taking a draft through the writing process. Mrs. Sienicki, advisor, consultant and guide to the writers, says, “I was blown away by the students’ creativity, commitment and work ethic. I enjoyed every minute.”

As a final, loving touch, the children dedicated their book to their good friend and fellow classmate, Charlie Levine.  Whether the children win the Scholastic award or not, The Quest to Find the Singing Book was a labor of love, and we encourage you to visit the Lower School library where you will find it in our permanent collection.