With thousands of fantastic entries in the Boys’ Life 2015 “Say Yes to Reading!” contest, choosing the winners was tough. Here are the top three essays from each age group:
8 AND UNDER CATEGORY
First Place: Gary Leschinsky, Mahwah, New Jersey
I absolutely love reading, but it didn’t always come easy to me. The books that helped me the most were the Fly Guy books by author Tedd Arnold. When I started reading them, I couldn’t stop. I wanted to read more and more. I just absolutely loved the funny Fly Guy and his best friend Buzz. They help me learn new things. I especially learned a lot about sharks, space, dinosaurs, firefighters and fire safety.
The best book I read this year is Fly Guy Presents Sharks. Sharks a re amazing creatures. They have super senses. A shark can hear its prey moving underwater. Their hearing is good, too. They can even hear a fish muscle moving as it swims! Sharks are also fast swimmers. They can swim at an incredible speed of 25 miles per hour. To compare, the fastest speed a human swimmer is 5.3 miles per hour. The fact that surprised me the most is that sharks don’t sleep!
Fly Guy Presents Sharks taught me a lot of new and interesting facts about sharks, but it also taught me about friendship and loyalty. This book illustrated very well with lots of cool pictures. It’s written in a way that is easy to read and understand. This book is a great gift for an child. I can highly recommend it. Most importantly, this book helped me discover the joy of reading. Thanks, Fly Guy!
9- & 10-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY
First place: Ethan Davidson, Channahon, Illinois,
I love adventures because of the action. The idea of going places that I have never been excites me into wanting to go and do new things, too.
Part of Rump’s quest was to right a wrong. This is where Opal comes into the story. She was trapped in a tower because the king expected her to spin straw into gold. This, however, was not something she could do. It was Rump who could spin the straw into gold. Rump was willing to help Opal by spinning the straw into gold for her. Since the king’s favorite thing is gold, he married Opal. When the king found out the truth about Opal, he imprisoned her and sent soldiers to look for Rump. During this part of the story many funny things take place.
I learned not to let people take the blame or credit for what you can do. Whatever your talent is, it is yours and you should use it. No one else can be you.
Also, I learned friendship is worth more than gold — literally. You cannot buy friendship, you earn it. You do this through kindness, helpfulness, caring and willingness to do things that other may not be willing to do.
This is a great adventure book with much humor. The story is fun and magical with great life lessons.
11–YEARS-OLD AND UP CATEGORY
First Place: Holden Elardi-White, Murphysboro, Illinois
I choose The Giver by Lois Lory, a 1994 Newbery Medal winner, as my favorite book of the year. It is about Jonas, who lives in a society that had eliminated all pain and strife by transferring everyone’s memories to one person: the Receiver of Memory. Jonas’ community lacks color, memory, climate, love, war, terrain and pain in order to preserve structure and a true sense of equality. Eventually, Jonas is chosen to become the new Receiver of Memory.
The dystopian society that Jonas lives in has its pros and cons. The idea of no war, hate, strife, and trouble makes it sound like the community of sameness is the ideal place to live. But, losing your personal individuality, spouses not choosing one another, family units having to apply for children (only one boy and one girl), and not being able to choose our own future makes the utopia not right.
I would prefer a place in which I make my own decisions, have the opportunity to learn new skills, have fun adventures, explore the natural world, meet challenges with good judgement, succeed and become a leader. I want to be able to create my own dreams and goals, not live in the place of “Sameness” where a “Community of Elders” decide the future, but instead live in the community of “Elsewhere,” where you can make your own choices.
Jonas escapes “Sameness” to save Gabriel, a small child who had trouble sleeping and was going to be “released” from the perfect world. By leaving “Sameness” all of the memories that Jonas holds are transmitted back to the community forcing them to experience feeling and emotions and to remember their past … the real world.
- Click here for details on entering the 2016 Boys’ Life reading contest
- Click here to win a free book.