Student stories celebrated at book launch Friday at the Bookworm of Edwards |

Student stories celebrated at book launch Friday at the Bookworm of Edwards

Leigh Horton
Special to The Daily
Author Lindsay Eland led a writing workshop at the Bookworm of Edwards.
Jackie Cooper Photography | Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Ungoverned Children release and book signing.

When: 6 p.m. Friday, May 30th.

Where: Bookworm of Edwards at Riverwalk.

Cost: Free.

More information: Call 970-926-READ.

A child’s success is typically greeted with high-fives, enthusiastic grins, and maybe a celebratory cupcake. Whether they win a sports competition, get an above-average score on a test or ride a bike for the first time without a parent hovering beside them, these triumphs are memorable and affirming.

The same is true for the winners in this year’s writing competition at The Bookworm of Edwards. From more than 100 submissions, the awards will be announced Friday. The stories — all written by students from third through eighth grade — have been published in the second edition of “Ungoverned Children.”

Kids will read from their work, sign books for their family and friends, and bask in the glory of knowing they are budding scribes.

“This is the most rewarding thing we do all year,” said Nicole Magistro, owner of the bookshop and café. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the young writers sprouting up in the this community. Drafting a story and submitting it takes a severe dose of courage!”

The name of each child who participated in the contest appears in the book, which finds a place on the counter at The Bookworm and in homes all around Eagle County.

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“How cool is it to be a published writer while you’re still in middle school?” asks Franny Gustafson, children’s department manager and organizer of the contest.

The creative writing samples submitted by the Vail Valley’s children demonstrate the care and dedication the youths have for their craft. They not only had the ambition to create their stories, but many kids also dedicated several evenings to workshops and in-class exercises to develop their skills.

“The creativity and diversity of the works were awe-inspiring,” said Gustafson. “It was clear that [each child] took the time to edit and clean their stories.”


These revising skills stem not only from each child’s knowledge, but also from Lindsay Eland, the workshop host and a competition judge.

Eland is a Colorado author best known for her children’s books “Scones and Sensibility” and “Summer of Sunday’s.” Eland’s lessons on style and literary quality aided each writer’s contribution and allowed kids to further develop their voice.

Each author brought one story an idea to develop at the workshops. They could ask questions and rewrite under Eland’s tutelage. As the stories took shape, Gustafson and the judges were astonished to read the breadth of topics on children’s minds.

“All the authors wrote about different things,” Gustafson said. “Topics ranged widely and included dragons, crazy lunch ladies, friendship, space travel and even the Roman Empire.”

Along with Eland, judges (and former teachers) Suzanne Foster and Genny Coffey ranked each contribution on a scale of one to 10, analyzing originality, grammar, syntax and other literary qualities. Each story had its share of astounding assets and that fact made choosing winners arduous. Gustafson admitted that at the end of the first read-through, there were so many stories with the same scores that each had to be reread more carefully to refine tallies.

It was a stiff race this year, with several entire classrooms from local schools submitting their best work. But those stories with the best literary talents, most interesting ideas and greatest originality won. Winners will receive publication of their work, along with three copies of “Ungoverned Children,” gift cards and other publisher memorabilia.

They will receive their prizes during the reception ceremony, and sign books purchased by Bookworm customers. Check the Vail Daily on Saturday for winners’ names and grade levels.

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