Newark, New Jersey, June 15, 2012 – Bridge of Books’ (BoB) Executive Director, Abby Daly, along with Board member, Ellen McNamara, and volunteer, Cindy Gagliano, traveled to East Side High School to meet with students at lunch to announce the 10 winners of the inaugural “Hunger Games writing contest.”  Created as a way to get kids thinking more about books and their importance, BoB asked students to write why they wanted to win the Hunger Game Trilogy, why reading is important and why books are important.  Over 200 entries were received by BoB.

After careful review by a panel of Judges and Board members, ten students were awarded (1) The Hunger Games Trilogy in hard cover and (2) a book of each student’s choosing.  Read who the winners were, what they had to say about the importance of reading and the book that each winner chose.

Christofer O. – 10th Grade

  • “I want to read the whole (Hunger Games) series because I enjoy reading and this will help me toward my goal of reading 100 books by the end of the year! (I’m 50 books in so far!)”
  • Book of Choice: V is for Vendetta – Alan Moore/David Llyod

Alisson C. – 9th Grade

  • “Reading to me means opening a whole new world.  I read to get away from my world for an hour or so and connect with another person – a whole new life.  It is an amazing feeling.”
  • Book of Choice:  She asked for anything.  We gave her Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Daniel S. – 9th Grade

  • “Books keep me sane and take away the stress.  Without them, I would die.”
  • Book of Choice : The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

Anel G. – 9th Grade

  • “Books are important to me because reading  books inhance [sic.] my vocabulary and reading is better than watching movies because authors put so much [sic.] details into writing where you can actually picture scenes and characters as well.  Books are fun!”
  • Book of Choice: Feed by M.T. Anderson

Giuseppe L. – 10th Grade

  • “To me, reading means more than just words writing in any paper.  I truly believe that reading is a power that no one can’t take it away from you.  This power of education it’s only getting stronger by each and every word I read.”
  • Book of Choice: Artemis Fowl by  Eoin Colfer

Mario C. – 10th Grade

  • “Reading is my refuge, the place I go when I want to disconnect myself from this place we call ‘world’ and just dive into this world of fantasy where sometimes it is as real as concrete.”
  • Book of Choice: Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Dan B. – 10th Grade

  • “Books are important to me because it is the only was an imagination can grow and a book doesn’t tell you how to read.”
  • Book of Choice: Freakonimics by Levitt/Dubner

Kimberly R. – 12th Grade

  • “Reading makes you realize everything you never knew.”
  • Book of Choice: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Vera G. – 10th Grade

  • “Books are important to me because when I’m sad it’s [sic.] always there to cheer me up and make me smile.  Books help m eunderstand some life problems and whey they happen.”
  • Book of Choice: Night by Ellie Wiesel

Iyanah W. – 9th Grade

  • Books are important to me because it helps me out sometimes when I am angry, so when I read I calm down.  So, it’s really important because it helps me calm down.”
  • Book of Choice: The Pact by Jodi Piccoult

Every student who entered received a paperback copy of  The Hunger Games.  A generous donation by Kid’s Corner of The Charles Lafitte Foundation enabled BoB to purchase 200 copies of the book for each of the entrants.  All the students – winners and entrants alike – were thrilled to receive the books.  Sarra Schwartz and Michael Smith, the English teachers for the large percentage of the entrants and both members of Teach for America, were grateful for the opportunity to get more books into the hands of their students.

Of the whole experience, Ms. Daly said “It was a great way to expand what we do and come at the issue of getting more books into the hands of at-risk kids from a new and different angle.  This is something that we can and will repeat with other high school students throughout the State.”