Area children win PBS writing contest

Eastern Idaho might be home to the next big children’s book author.

Through Idaho Public Television’s PBS KIDS Writers Contest, kindergarten through third-grade students submitted a children’s story accompanied by five illustrations. Three IdahoPTV regional stations, located in Moscow, Boise and Pocatello, selected and gave out first-, second- and third-place winners Saturday. First-place winners have advanced to the national competition.

“I think (the program) helps instill a love for reading and writing, and enhances their skills,” said Kris Freeland, station manager for Idaho Public Television’s Moscow location. “We have many teachers across the state that implement the program in their classroom for all their students.”

KISU Pocatello gave out first-place awards to four area students. For kindergarten, Kaleb Mickelsen of Idaho Falls won for his story “The Magician and the Whale.” The first-grade award went to Caleb Evans of Ammon for “Charli the Chameleon.” Seth Stevens of Victor won the second-grade category with “A Crazy Day.” Annika Mickelsen of Idaho Falls won the third-grade category for “Anastasia’s Artistic Adventure.”

All the first-place winners from each station had their stories submitted to PBS affiliate WNED in Buffalo, N.Y. for a national contest to be judged by a prestigious panel. Judges include: Lisa Hensen, daughter of Jim Hensen and CEO of the Jim Henson Company; Jeff Kinney, who was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2009; and Joseph Mazzarino, who has worked on both “Sesame Street” and the Muppets productions.

Winners are expected to be announced July 1.

Freeland said the contest provides a rare opportunity for children to be more hands on with storytelling.

“It really shows the kids what it’s like to be an author because they get into drafting and editing process,” she said.