Howard Elementary School

Way to go, Ali Beidoun!!


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Four Dearborn Elementary School Students Awarded For Their Outstanding Writing at the 2016 Young Authors’ Festival

Four students from Dearborn elementary schools received awards for their writing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Mardigian Library’s 4th annual Young Authors’ Festival. The half-day event was held in the Mardigian Library on Saturday, November 12. Around 120 young writers from grades 3 to 5, parents, and teachers listened as the award winners read their winning entries aloud. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell stopped by to congratulate award winners and encourage students to read and write. Winners received Barnes & Noble gift cards as awards.

3rd Grade, 2nd Prize: Owen Strieff (Lindbergh Elementary) for “Families,”

3rd Grade, 3rd Prize (tie): Hussein Mansour (William Ford Elementary) for “Family Memories,”

4th Grade, 3rd Prize: Nameh Sharif (Henry Ford Elementary) for “My Life, My Everything,”

5th Grade, 3rd Prize: Ali Beidoun (Howard Elementary) for “Big Dreams.”

The 2016 Young Authors’ Writing Contest received around 260 entries from children in grades 3 to 5. Entries were judged by UM-Dearborn pre-service teachers.

At the festival, young writers learned tips on what it takes to be an author from Newbery Medal-winning author and special guest speaker, Christopher Paul Curtis.  Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan and is a graduate of UM-Flint. Curtis is the author of the highly acclaimed books, “Bud Not Buddy,” “Elijah of Buxton,” and “The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963.”

He told the eager audience to be observant and listen, and encouraged them to use what they see and hear in their everyday lives in their stories. He gave an example about how writing can be a collaborative process through the challenges he faced when writing a book from a girl’s perspective. He got a lot of advice from the girls and women in his life to help him shape his character’s personality and voice. Curtis also took time to autograph books and have pictures taken with the children attending the event.

Children also participated in 11 fun, educational writing workshops conducted by UM-Dearborn pre-service teachers. While the children were in workshops, their parents were getting tips on how to inspire their children to continue writing and reading. Workshop topics included: collaborative group writing, how to create a picture book, creating a story to accompany a piece of music, a bookmaking workshop, and more.

This event is sponsored by the College of Education, Health and Human Services; the Mardigian Library; the Salloum Family in honor of Abdallah & Leila Salloum; Mrs. Judith Smith; the Metro Detroit Book and Author Society; the Hub for Teaching & Learning Resources; the Office of Metropolitan Impact; and the UM-Dearborn Barnes & Noble College Bookstore.