We had a LOT of fantastic submissions this year! GREAT WRITING, KIDS!
We will share our Top 5 in the other categories next week, but for now here are glimpses of the judges' comments for our winners in the following five genres:
1. Descriptive Essay Winner: "In the Deep Ocean" by Kaylyn Li from SpiderSmart of Sugarland
Kaylyn's was the strongest of the stack because of all that had to be imagined. It was chock full of description and further beautified with details and specifics. Additionally, every line was descriptive and evocative so the reading was very pleasurable. There were many original moments of true sensory reflection that made it our winner.
2. Fan Fiction Winner: "Crossing Field" by Jung-Won Hwang from SpiderSmart of Rockville
With fan fiction pieces, there has to be a strong rhythm and gathering momentum to get the reader from chapter to chapter with a strong sense of anticipation. We really like what she accomplishes in that regard. Jung-Won's masterful piece kept our interest building and building, never lapsing into slower parts. The suspense was memorable! Additionally, we love fan fiction pieces the most when the kids put themselves in the story within whatever fan-world elements they've chosen. I think we have the best choice with "Crossing Field."
3. Persuasive Essay Winner: "The Slaughter of Wolves" by Esther Zhang from SpiderSmart of Cupertino
We really like how Esther summarizes and synthesizes all the research in this piece; it seems the perfect fusion of research and original, persuasive thought. She is compelling in her urging, as well as in her outlining of the issue at hand. While the other essays accomplished this in moments, her piece had an evenhanded way of presenting the research plus the personal persuasive elements. The surveying of her fellow classmates, in particular, made the piece very entertaining!
4. Short Story Winner: "Four-Leaf Clover" by Valerie Huang from SpiderSmart of Sugarland
Valerie's narrative drive and instincts are incredibly strong, and her voice is super confident for her age. The chapter titles made us laugh, and she just has a tone and fun style that totally stood out for us. Her unique, non-device-like details were particularly interesting. Her piece is funny without being randomly goofy, which was probably our favorite part!
5. Personal Narrative Winner: "Personal Fishing Experience" by Alice Zhong from SpiderSmart of Sugarland
This piece has a lot of poise and memorable qualities. Not only is it well-written, but it is fine-tuned. We love the lingering feel, sound, and sentiment behind every inclusion of onomatopoeia! There were many lines that resonated with us, and we loved its plaintive feel. There was a sense of observation and original discovery that made Alice's piece our winning selection.