“Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be a book, waiting to be read.” 

So begins Gretchen Hedberg’s tale, “Sometimes I Think Just To Think,” one of the winning books in the 2020 Book Writing Contest at Westside Elementary School in Hood River.

A total of 29 authors submitted, from grades K-5, compared to six to eight in past years. School librarian Debi Gallagher started the contest the week before Spring Break, knowing plans were going to be canceled or changed due to coronavirus. She said it apparently drew more writers due to COVID-19 school cancellation.

“I wanted to get the kids something to do,” she said. The books were originally due after Spring Break, but she changed the deadline to June 9.

Gallagher was impressed with more than the number of entries in 2020.

“I’ve done writing contests for several years, and the work the kids put into these this time, perhaps because they had more time, is outstanding,” Gallagher said. “Their writing, punctuation, story content is just amazing.” One child wrote a 42-page novel.

Gallagher gave the writers simple rules: The stories needed to be original work, a minimum of 10 pages, and all had to have words and illustrations, and each book had to have a cover with an illustration and the author’s name.

“That was it. I didn’t give a lot of guidance. I wanted them to use their creativity,” she said.

“It was the scariest night of the year and everyone in Salem, Oregon was overjoyed to have some fun.” — The Black Mercedes by Adina Blosser, 3-5 winner.

“The decision on placing the books was a very, very hard one,” she told the students in a letter students took home when they collected their books and prizes on June 10. “Each book was unique and I could tell that a lot of work went into them.” She encouraged the students to keep the books and share them with their classes next year.

Winners in grades 3-5 were Adina Blosser, first; Gretchen Hedberg, second.

Top prizes in K-2: Oliver Hiller, first; Levi Kintner, second.

First place earned a $25 cash, second place $10 for second. Ten honors winners took home $5 Waucoma gift certificates. All participants, including honorable mention awardees, received a Westside sticker and coupons from Papa Murphy’s and Rosauers.

Honor awards went to Layla Yost, Hanna Fuller, Logan Griffith, Riley Reed, Reagan Reed, Jennifer Morales Rodriquez, Haley Rutherford, Kylie Woodruff, Jai Marino, and Rhylan Tama.

Honorable mention went to Keizo Entriken, Eliza Kintner, Lily Clemont, Violet Lorenzen, Maddalyn Armstrong, Diyora Khudoidoddova, Tyven Wimmers, Ophelia Hubler, Aiyana Bergeron, Caleb Ingersoll, Lincoln Valentine, Finley Hawkins, Seth Ingersoll, Isaiah Ingersoll, and Lydia Ingersoll.

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