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Kaneohe El. Students Shine At Nene Awards

Last year's Nene Award-winning author Jacqueline Davies (center row, in lei) was in Hawaii last month to announce her 2013 successor and help honor student contest winners. Among officials and students are the six winning children from Kaneohe Elementary: (front, from left) Tiana Goudreault, Aisha Yamamoto, Mariko Quinn, (back, from right) Sean Koyamatsu, Cole Mojo and Drew Swanson. Photo from Hawaii State Public Library System.

The written word still has some clout, folks. Hawaii’s young readers have declared their favorite 2013 author, and some Windward students also scored recently for their own related commentary on good reads.

In a vote of 6,000 Hawaii fourth- through sixth-graders, the Nene Award went to Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by Chris Tebbetts and James Patterson (yes, that bestselling James Patterson). Last year’s co-winner, The Lemonade War author Jacqueline Davies, was present April 18 for the awards ceremony at Hawaii Okinawa Center, where winning student essays, digital media and posters also were honored.

Kaneohe Elementary School dominated the list of the best entries in two categories:

* Persuasive digital media, grade 6 – Sean Koyamatsu and Cole Miho (images and comments)

* Persuasive essays, grade 5 – Tiana Goudreault, Mariko Quinn, Drew Swanson and Aisha Yamamoto.

Following are snippets from the essays.

Tiana Goudreault, who favored 2012 co-winner Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, said: “As I whispered the sentence to myself with each word slowly rolling over my tongue, my admiration grew. It felt like I was watching a mini movie in my mind, just like how Brian Selznick’s black-and-white creations in the book made me feel.”

Aisha Yamamoto, another Selznick fan, admitted: “I admire how Brian Selznick uses a simile to compare the world to a machine. His words are like a charm that takes over the reader’s mind and forces him or her to read more and more until the reader is out of pages.”

Drew Swanson was sold on Davies’ prose: “This book is so descriptive and detailed that I wanted to get me a glass of that lemonade! In one scene, Davies was able to cram three types of figurative language and make it sound truly amazing: two metaphors, an example of personification, and two more of onomatopoeia.”

Mariko Quinn declared of The Lemonade War: “The words put me into a trance as I pictured Jessie and Evan in the kitchen, firing angry comments at each other, like a machine gun firing bullets. When I read this scene I thought I was going to burst from all the excitement bubbling in my body.”

Sponsored by the Hawaii State Public Library System and DOE, children from 78 libraries and schools across the state voted for their favorite fiction books of 2013. Each library and school will get copies of the award-winning titles from Perma-Bound Books.