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Winners Announced for the 10 Year Anniversary of the Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Contest

Setauket, NY – March 7, 2024 –

It’s been a decade of delightful talent and creativity! Emma Clark Library and the family of the late Helen Stein Shack have been showcasing junior high and high school students in our Three Village community since 2015 through an annual contest. The Library has recently revealed the winners of the 10th annual Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Contest:

First Prize (Grades 7 – 9 category): Danny’s Birthday by Elizabeth Wright (9th grader at Gelinas Junior High School)

First Prize (Grades 10 – 12 category): Billy the Unusual Giraffe by Julia Hou (10th grader at Ward Melville High School)

Second Prize (Grades 7 – 9 category): Our Trip to Estonia by Juni Een (Homeschooled 8th grader)

Second Prize (Grades 10 – 12 category): Sleepless Saturday by Claire Sloniewsky and Justine Bushman (both 11th graders at Ward Melville High School)

Each of the winning entries has their own unique artwork and storylines geared towards young children. Danny’s Birthday by Elizabeth Wright is a charming story with bright watercolor and pen drawings of a dog named Danny and all of his friends. Billy the Unusual Giraffe by Julia Hou uses a positive reframing technique, told in a simple manner for children. A giraffe discouraged by his short neck soon realizes all the things he can do with it, rather than its limitations. Our Trip to Estonia by Juni Een teaches children about another country & culture through watercolor and pen illustrations and easy text for children. A collaborative book, Sleepless Saturday by Claire Sloniewsky and Justine Bushman, has delicate drawings and tells the tale of two cats looking for the sun, which has gone missing! Will they find it?

Contest winners will be celebrated at a private awards ceremony on Monday, April 8, 2024, 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. For those that are 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. Light refreshments will be served at the reception, generously donated by The Bite Size Bake Shop and Level Up Kitchen Library Café. Past ceremonies have had Library Board members, teachers and top school district administrators from Three Village, as well as elected officials from New York State, Suffolk County, and the Town of Brookhaven, all in attendance to honor the winners.

Emma Clark Library is thrilled to celebrate this beloved milestone for the community.

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. 

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”