Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

The 2000 winning entries collected into a book

The Dear America Writing Contest was a contest held four times on Dear America: The Official Web Site. The contest was sponsored by the Arrow Book Club.[1] It was judged by Dear America author Barry Denenberg. The first and grand prize winners entries were published by Scholastic. The winning entries of the third contest was released in a book in September 2000.

Contest details[]

Children from fourth to seventh grade were eligible to enter the contest. Their entry had to be submitted by a teacher, not by themselves or a parent. The student was required to write a five day diary set in the past or present from the point-of-view of a historical figure or fictional character. The Dear America website included tips on writing and ideas for time periods.[2] Prizes were usually awarded to winner's classroom and included visits from Dear America authors, a collection of Dear America and My Name Is America books, or a collection of the Dear America films.[3]



The winners of the first Dear America Writing Contest are unknown as the information has been lost to time.


The winners of the second contest were announced in 1998.[4]

  • Twelve-year-old Katelan Janke was one of the first prize winners. Her entry about the Dust Bowl was later expanded into a full book, Survival in the Storm, when Janke was fifteen.[4][5]
  • "In the Dragon's Teeth: The Journal of John Black" by thirteen-year-old Justin K also won first prize[5]
  • The second prize winners were Stephanie C. from Indiana, Marena L. from Georgia, Chrishantha V. from Florida, Dana K. M. from Illinois, and Nicole R. from Michigan.[5]
  • The third prize winners were Diana C. from Virginia, Thomas Patrick C. from New Jersey, Phoebe D. from Indiana, Kelsey F. from California, Daniel Avery G. from Indiana, Annie H. from Pennsylvania, Erica L. from Wisconsin, Breanne M. from Washington, Ryan M. from New York, and Sean O. from Indiana.[5]



Cover of Jodie's entry

The third Dear America Writing Contest received almost six thousand entries from November 1999 to Winter 2000.[6] The winning entries were later collected into a book.



Illustration for Justin's entry

The fourth and final contest gathered entries from 2000 to 2001.[8]

  • Ten-year-old Justin K. from California won the grand prize with "The Tide of Turtles: The Diary of Lee Ghe Song, Naval Commander."[9][8]
  • Anne Elizabeth O. from Indiana was the first prize winner. She also received a journal, Tiffany pen, and a set of books.[8]
  • The second prize winners were Kate W. from Illinois, Lauren G. from New Jersey, Luciana R. from Wyoming, Samantha B. from New Hampshire, Katie L. from Missouri, Laura M. from North Carolina, Olivia W. from North Carolina, Kathleen P. from North Carolina, Rebecca Elizabeth S. from Oregon, and Duncan M. from Missouri. They also received a journal, Tiffany pen, and a set of books.[8]
  • Third prize winners included Ryan F. from North Carolina, Maria W. from North Carolina, Amanda K. from North Carolina, Dhruvi P. from Texas, Rachael O. from Pennsylvania, Katy W. from California, Kayla G. from Vermont, Michelle P. from New Hampshire, Teague Briana H. from Wisconsin, and Amela K. from Minnesota. They each received a set of Dear America and My Name Is America books.[8]

Other contests[]

Holiday Winter Contest[]

For the winter season of 2001, Dear America hosted a similar contest titled "Dear America Holiday Winter Contest." Children were split into two groups, ages 6-9 and 10-13. They were required to make a gift and write a diary entry around the gift from the point-of-view of someone from the past.[10]

Ages 6-9[]

  • Grand prize winner Cate D. used Minnie Swift from Christmas After All as inspiration for her button bracelet. Cate used over fifty buttons for the craft. In the diary entry, Minnie makes the bracelet as a present for her mother.[11]

Ages 10-13[]

  • Toni P. was the grand prize winner and chose to write as Madeline Beck from My Secret War. She created a victory wreath using pine branches, ribbons, and lace. The gift was meant to be from Madeline to her father. Toni also did research on how people of that time would make Christmas gifts.[12]
  • First prize was a tie and was won by both Katie N. and Megan B.. Katie also used Madeline from My Secret War as inspiration. She made a shell ring as a gift from Madeline to her friend Clara. Megan chose Emma Simpson from When Will This Cruel War Be Over? and created a quilted bible cover. In the narrative, the present was from Emma to her mother.[12]
  • Second prize winner Kimberly "Kim" F. chose Clotee from A Picture of Freedom as her inspiration. Her craft was a sack cloth doll meant to be a gift from Clotee to her friend Spicy.[12]
  • Lynn R. was the third prize winner. She chose Amber Billows from Early Sunday Morning. Lynn created a small pair of ice skates using paper clips, cloth, and stuffing. For the diary entry, Amber made the present for her friend Kame.[12]
Arts & Crafts

Special Mentions[]

Several entries were given a special mention. The entries were separated by age and the type of craft.[13]

  • Ages 10-13
    • Creativity: Shannon Black, Chelsea Bernard, Diana Dombrowski
    • Embroidery: Caitlin Brooke Trent
    • Sewing: Lindsay Spangler, Brittany McCoy, Danielle Hudson
    • Sculpture: Amber Richardson
    • Paper craft: Melissa Anderson, Caitlyn Fife, Karla Kringle, Heaven Gouch, Danila Hickson, Amanda Perry
    • Creative writing: Kiersten Timpe
    • Jewelry: Karlina Kaufman
    • Weaving: Deandra Maynard
  • Ages 6-9
    • Doll: Sloane Workman
    • Artwork: Valerie Kraus
    • Creative writing: Jessica Aguiar


See also[]

Dear America: The Official Web Site

Arts & Crafts | Dear America Writing Contest | "Our Diary"

External links[]