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Art from I WISH I HAD A SISTERAlabama Girl Wins National Writing Contest!

Haley Suzanne Stewart of Trinity, Alabama has won the National First Place Grand Prize for Second Grade in the Eighth Annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Competition.

Haley's book, I Wished I Had a Sister was awarded First Place in the state back in April, and national contest winners were announced in mid-June.

This is the third consecutive year that an Alabama student has won a national prize in the public television writing competition that
attracts more than 40,000 entries each year. Two Alabama girls received national second place prizes in 2000 for their respective grade levels, and another received a national second place prize last year. First and Second Place Prizes are awarded for competitors in four grade levels, Kindergarten - Third Grade, that are judged separately. See a list of State Winners here.

As a grand prize winner, Haley will receive a computer, a printer, and a READING RAINBOW library set, featuring ten home videos and ten books. In addition, a similar READING RAINBOW library set will be awarded to Haley's public library. Haley received a $100 gift certificate from contest sponsor Books-A-Million for winning the state writing competition.

The Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Competition, held in cooperation with local PBS stations across the country, encourages children from kindergarten to third grade to write and illustrate their own stories. The local stations hold their own contests, and then submit the winning entries to the national competition, which is judged by a panel consisting of respected children's book authors, illustrators, publishers, educators, and representatives from organizations such as the American Library Association and the National Council of Teachers. The goal of the contest is to encourage children in grades K-3 to be creative and have fun doing it. Each contestant submitted illustrations with prose, poetry, fiction or non-fiction.

READING RAINBOW, hosted by LeVar Burton, has garnered more than 150 awards during it's seventeen seasons including multiple Emmy Awards for Best Children's Television Program. LeVar Burton recently won his second consecutive Emmy for Best Performer in a Children's Series.

READING RAINBOW is the most-watched program in American classrooms according to the 1997 Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Study of School Uses of Television and Video. Librarians and booksellers report increased requests for children's books featured on the series, which quickly become "classics" in kids' personal libraries.

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