ARLINGTON, Va., June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A panel of America's foremost children's authors, illustrators and content experts will serve as final judges in the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest, a national-local contest designed to promote the advancement of children's reading skills through hands-on, active learning. The Contest, sponsored by PBS KIDS GO! and WNED-TV Buffalo/Toronto, encourages children in grades K-3 in communities across the country to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their original work.
Eighty-seven (87) public television stations participated in this year's contest, which generated over 25,000 submissions. The national Contest winners are expected to be named in July 2010. The winning stories will be posted on the Contest Web site at ReadyToLearnReading.org, alongside a message from singer-songwriter and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks about the influence of writing in her life. Other new site features allow kids to create "Story Mashups," put together "Story Stuff Pages," vote for their favorite stories, and use a customized search tool to explore over 1,100 kid-created stories.
The final judges include:
- Marc Brown – Creator of Arthur, the star of many picture books and a six-time Emmy Award–winning PBS television show. He is also the illustrator of Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur, by Laura Joy Rennert, and the New York Times bestsellers Wild About Books and Born to Read, both by Judy Sierra.
- Jorge Cauz - President of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. (parent company of Merriam-Webster, Inc.), a leading provider of learning and knowledge products and one of the world's most trusted sources of information on nearly every topic imaginable.
- Tony DiTerlizzi - New York Times best-selling co-creator and illustrator of middle-grade series The Spiderwick Chronicles, which has sold millions of copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in over thirty countries. He has also created fanciful picture books such as Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure, the Adventure of Meno series (with his wife, Angela) and Caldecott Honor book, The Spider & The Fly. The highly anticipated middle grade novel The Search for WondLa will be released September 2010.
- Lisa Henson - Chief Executive Officer of The Jim Henson Company, Henson serves as an executive producer of Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train, both currently airing daily on PBS KIDS®, and Pajanimals, a short-form musical puppet series airing daily on Sprout.
- Tad Hills - The author and illustrator of the New York Times best-selling picture books Duck & Goose and Duck, Duck, Goose, as well as four board books featuring the same characters, including What's Up Duck? an ALA Notable book. He is also the illustrator of Waking Up Wendell, by April Stevens, My Fuzzy Friends, and the forthcoming How Rocket Learned to Read.
- Emily Jenkins - Author of numerous highly acclaimed books for children, including That New Animal, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor recipient; Daffodil; My Favorite Thing (According to Alberta); Five Creatures, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor recipient, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, and an ALA Notable; as well as Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party, and Sugar Would Not Eat It..
- Ann M. Martin – Author of the mega-hit series The Baby-sitters Club and its newly released prequel, The Summer Before, Martin has also written a number of other award-winning books for children and young adults, including Belle Teal, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and A Corner of the Universe, which won a Newbery Honor in 2003.
- Susan Meddaugh – Author and illustrator of Martha Speaks, the best-selling book series, as well as a creative producer of the award-winning PBS KIDS series of the same name. The television series has recently inspired a collection of new books including Martha Says It With Flowers, A Pup's Tale and Shelter Dog Blues.
- Scott Nash – Author and illustrator of TUFF FLUFF: The Case of Duckie's Missing Brain, Nash is the illustrator of more than 30 children's books, including the Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown, Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp and The Bugliest Bug by Carol Diggory Shields.
- Chris Raschka – Has written and/or illustrated over 30 books for children, including the 2006 Caldecott Medal winning title The Hello, Goodbye Window, the Caldecott Honor Book Yo! Yes? and Mysterious Thelonius.
- Judy Sierra –The author of Wild About Books, which won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award, Sierra is also the author of Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf, Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly Pie, and Beastly Rhymes to Read After Dark.
- R.L. Stine – Best known as the creator of the best-selling, children's classic series, Goosebumps, Stine is the prolific author of many popular children's series, including Rotten School, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room and Fear Street.
- Dan Yaccarino - An internationally acclaimed author-illustrator with more than 30 books to his credit, Yaccarino is also the creator of the animated TV series Oswald.
- Paul O. Zelinsky – A highly acclaimed illustrator, Zelinsky has received a Caldecott Medal for his telling of Rapunzel, and three Caldecott Honors for Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, and Swamp Angel, which the New York Times Book Review called "in all ways superb." He is also the creator of the bestselling mechanical book, The Wheels on the Bus.
Throughout early 2010, PBS stations across the country have been active partners in the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest, working with schools, public libraries and other literacy organizations to implement the Contest in their communities.
"As a leader in educational children's media, PBS KIDS has assembled an accomplished group of children's authors and illustrators to judge the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest," said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children's Media, PBS. "The judges share our mission to open the world of letters and words to all young children, getting kids excited about developing their own stories and having fun as they build skills for school readiness and achievement."
"We are proud that through our partnership with PBS KIDS GO! and PBS stations around the country, we are able to illustrate the importance of literacy and creativity," said WNED President and CEO Donald K. Boswell. "The PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest extends the powerful mission of our children's media directly into the homes and classrooms of the community."
The PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest is a part of PBS KIDS Raising Readers, a national initiative which uses the power of public media to build the reading skills of children ages two to eight, with an emphasis on children from low-income families. The effort is funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, part of a cooperative agreement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS and The Ready To Learn Partnership.
About PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!
PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, offer all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. With positive role models and content designed to nurture a child's total well-being, family and educator resources - including PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! television series, PBSKIDS.org , PBSKIDSGO.org , PBS Parents (PBSPARENTS.org ), PBS Teachers (PBSTEACHERS.org). PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's nearly 360 public television stations, serving more than 124 million people on-air and online each month. For more information on specific shows supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom.
The Western New York Public Broadcasting Association (WNED) long ago established itself as an originator of television content for PBS. WNED is the founder and national co-producer of the Reading Rainbow series which garnered a total of 26 Emmy Awards, ten of which were for "Outstanding Children's Series." WNED was the producer of the popular Mark Russell Comedy Specials for PBS and is a producer of major documentaries for PBS national distribution. A series of WNED documentaries (Your Life Your Money, Window to the Sea, Niagara Falls, Frank Lloyd Wright's Buffalo, The Marines, The Adirondacks, Fort Niagara: The Struggle for a Continent, Elbert Hubbard: An American Original) have been broadcast nationally on PBS since 2005. WNED is currently producing several documentaries slated for national PBS broadcast in the coming years including the War of 1812 and a special on the Chautauqua Institution.
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.
The contents of this release were developed under a grant, #PRU295A050003 and #PRU295B050003, from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.