Following the longtime author's adage of writing what you know, Evans Middle seventh-grader Crystal Hernandez focused her story on a dancer.
A dancer for the Martinez-Evans Dance Studio, the 12-year-old wrote a children's book about a dancer and cowgirl who meet in London and attempt to switch lives, only to give up their plan and form a lifelong friendship.
"You don't need to be something you're not to be happy," Crystal said of the moral of her story.
Crystal was one of about 250 Evans Middle seventh-graders competing in an Authors Fair. As part of a class project, students wrote and illustrated children's books, which were then judged.
Many of the school's student authors recently read their books to dozens of visiting elementary pupils as part of the fair.
Later, school officials and students put their books on display for a parent reception and announcement of winners.
They are: Brooke Sarver, first place; Whitney Evans, second place; Bailee Adams and Hadleight Pitman, tied for third place.
Students receiving honorable mentions were Hannah Rumfield, Christy Petras, Robert "Rhet" Hutchinson, Charles Kirby, Scott Oswald, Stephen Maybee, Jessica Bennett, Ricky Johnson, Kaylyn Chavous and Ashley Kim.
All of the books are being sent to help impoverished children in Guatemala.
"One of our teachers has a daughter working for the Peace Corps in Guatemala," said Terry Wimburn, an English teacher at Evans Middle who organized the fair. "We'll be sending them all to her so she can use them to help teach the children there."
Wimburn chose to organize the Authors Fair to spur her student's interest in writing in a fun, creative way.
"Everything in middle school is all work," Crystal said. "For this, I had to think about when I was a little kid and remember how to make believe."
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