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Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Award Winners Announced

Setauket, NY – March 11, 2021 –

Emma Clark Library has revealed 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): Alice Helps written by Julia Garcia-Diaz Lea A. Nekrasov (both 8th graders at Gelinas Junior High School)

First Prize (Grades 10 – 12 category): A New Normal by Rebecca Blumenthal (12th grader at Ward Melville High School)

Second Prize (Grades 7 – 9 category): Frankie Gets Stuck by Matthew Blumenthal (8th grader at Murphy Junior High School)

Second Prize (Grades 10 – 12 category): Peanut’s Passion by Matthew Marchese (10th grader at Ward Melville High School)

The books explore themes that all children can relate to – helping others, caring about the environment, finding something you enjoy, and even coping with the pandemic.

Contest winners will be celebrated at a private online awards ceremony on Monday, April 19, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.  Each First Prize award recipient will receive a $400 scholarship, and each Second Prize award recipient will receive a $100 scholarship. In the event of a collaborative effort, the prize money will be split between the author and the illustrator.  The newly bound books – made into hardcover by the Library – will have the honor of being added to the Library’s Local Focus Collection, and winners will also receive copies of their books to cherish in their own home libraries.

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. This year’s event will be held online in order to keep everyone safe, and the 2020 winners will be honored at the ceremony as well, since we were not able to hold the event last year due to the pandemic. Emma Clark Library is pleased to be able to celebrate these imaginative and hard-working teens and add their original books to the Library’s collection for the entire community to enjoy.



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”