Emma Clark Library Announces Helen Stein Shack Award Winners

Emma Clark Library Announces Helen Stein Shack Award Winners

Last year’s first-place winners Nicole Xiao and Juliet Weschke pose with their books. Photo from Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library announced the winners for the Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Award. The annual contest invites junior high and high school students in the Three Village Central School District to create a children’s picture book.

First Prize (Grades 7–9 category): “Oliver’s Walk” by Celia Gordon (eighth grade, homeschooler)

First Prize (Grades 10–12 category): “Your Part” by Rebecca Blumenthal (11th grader at Ward Melville High School)

Second Prize (Grades 7–9 category): “The Knight and the Monster” written by Ricky Herling and illustrated by Ashton Hopkins (both 8th graders at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School)

Second Prize (Grades 10–12 category): “How Tom Talks” by Riley Meckley (10th grader at Ward Melville High School)

For “Oliver’s Walk,” Celia Gordon used watercolors to illustrate the story of a baby bird and mother bird taking a stroll together. The bird uses his imagination and pretends that the puddle is really a river or that a single pink flower turns into a big bouquet for his mom. “Your Part” by Rebecca Blumenthal gives examples of what one can do to be a good person for the earth and for others. It’s told in a sing-song voice, which makes it a perfect read aloud book.

The winners will be celebrated at a private awards ceremony at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library Monday, April 27, at 7:00 p.m. At the reception, each first-prize award recipient will receive a $400 scholarship, and each second-prize award recipient will receive a $100 scholarship. The newly bound books — made into hardcover by the library — will be presented to the winners and copies will be added to the library’s Local Focus Collection. Light refreshments will be served at the reception, and The Bite Size Bake Shop, a local Three Village business, will donate desserts.

Each entry in the contest could be the work of a single author/illustrator or a collaborative effort of an author and an illustrator. The contest was divided into two grade categories, grades 7 through 9 and grades 10 through 12, with one first-prize winner and one second-prize winner selected from each group.

This award is given in memory of Helen Stein Shack by her family. As a teacher, Shack was committed to the education of children, and she especially loved literature written for them. She was a frequent visitor to Emma Clark library where, even in retirement, she kept current with the latest children’s books. The library is grateful to the children of the late Shack who have established a substantial endowment with the library to cover the cost of the prizes.

Past ceremonies have had library trustees, teachers and top school district administrators, as well as elected officials from New York State, Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven, all in attendance to honor the winners and present them with certificates.

The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is located at 120 Main St., Setauket.