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6th Annual Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Award – Winning Books Highlight Imagination and Doing Your Part

Setauket, NY – March 12, 2020 –

Emma Clark Library is thrilled to announce the winners for the Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Award, an annual contest for junior high and high school students in the Three Village Central School District:
First Prize (Grades 7 – 9 category): Oliver’s Walk by Celia Gordon (8th grade

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 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 Clark Library on Monday, April 27, 2020 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 desserts are once again being generously donated by The Bite Size Bake Shop, a local Three Village business.

The Helen Stein Shack Book Contest called for teens in grades 7 through 12 who live in the Three Village Central School District to create a children’s picture book.  Each entry 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, Mrs. 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 Mrs. 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. Emma Clark Library is delighted to once again host a ceremony to recognize these talented young authors and illustrators and to add their creative and heartwarming original books to the Library’s collection.


The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, located at 120 Main Street in Setauket and online at www.emmaclark.org, provides public library service to all residents of the Three Village Central School District.

“The Heart of the Three Village Community”