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Annual Book Contest for Three Village Junior High and High School Students

Setauket, NY – September 24, 2021 –

Emma Clark Library is pleased to announce the 8th annual Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Contest, a challenge for junior high and high school students in Three Village to create a picture book for children. The winning teens receive a sizable monetary prize, are recognized at a special ceremony, and receive the honor of having their books added to the Library’s Local Focus Collection.

Those in grades 7 – 12 are invited to showcase their creative artistic and writing abilities, whether it be individually or collaboratively with a friend. The Library encourages students to enjoy the process and think back to when they were young children first learning to read and discovering picture books. This year the Library is opening the contest a month earlier than previous years, in order to give entrants more time to work on their creations, which always turn out beautiful, but are understandably a lot of planning and hard work. Last year’s Grand Prize winners were Julia Garcia –Diaz and Lea A. Nekrasov (Grades 7 – 9 category) and Rebecca Blumenthal (Grades 10 – 12 category).  The public may view previous year’s winning entries at emmaclark.org/picturebookaward.

Once the artwork and text are judged, winners are announced in March, and there is a ceremony in the spring honoring the winners and their original books. In addition to Library Trustees and staff, in the past, teachers and top school district administrators, as well as representatives and elected officials from New York State, Suffolk County, and Brookhaven Town have all been in attendance at the event.

Contest Details: The contest is 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.  Each entry can be the work of a single author/illustrator or can be a joint effort between an author and an illustrator.  The picture book entries must be their own original work (both artwork and text).

How to Enter: Those in grades 7 – 12 may obtain an Official Entry Form in-person in the Library’s lobby or online at emmaclark.org/picturebookaward starting October 12, 2021. Included with the form are the contest procedures & guidelines.  They should bring their completed picture book, along with a completed Official Entry Form, to the Children’s Department by the contest deadline, January 31, 2022.

Prizes and Winner Information: Each of the First Prize award recipients will receive $400, and each of the Second Prize award recipients will receive $100 (in the event that a winning entry is a collaboration, the prize will be shared). Winning entries are bound, made into a hardcover book, and added to the Library’s shelves. Additional copies of the winning books will also be available for purchase by family and friends. Winners and their families will be invited to an awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. All entrants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

The Helen Stein Shack Picture Book 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 ongoing cost of the prizes.

Please note:  A maximum of one entry will be accepted per author. Entries may be a collaboration of no more than one author and one artist/illustrator. Entrants must live within the Three Village Central School District. Emma Clark employees, trustees, and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter. For a complete listing of the rules, visit emmaclark.org/picturebookaward.


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

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