Every spring, the Tulare County Office of Education invites students to participate in the annual Young Authors’ Faire (YAF). This student event offers budding writers in grades K-8 an opportunity to showcase their work at the county level and be recognized in a variety of genres. Typically, exemplary submissions from county schools are displayed at the administration building for visitors to read and provide comments.
Plans for the 2020 evening reception included a visit from Juana Martinez-Neal, Newberry Honor winner for her book, Alma and How She Got Her Name. With the pandemic causing an interruption in typical school schedules, classroom work, and large group gatherings, YAF quickly became a virtual event. With submissions due earlier this month, the virtual YAF received three books – two from Three Rivers Union School and one from Masaer Academy Homeschool.
Power of the Dragon/Book One: Faelynn’s Fire by Genevieve Brown from Masaer Academy is a finely crafted, detailed, and imaginative story that tops 200 pages. Faelynn’s Fire is a thrilling tale set amidst a brewing invasion by the Anerecs Republic on Damaecura. After being kidnapped along with her brother and secret love Williem, young Faelynn meets Willow, another girl with special powers that will enable them to free the dragons so peace can rule once again in Damaecura. As the story unfolds, Faelynn learns the value of the priceless star necklace her grandmother gave her before she died. This beautifully written fantasy follows two strong girls who are destined to change the outcome of an impending invasion.
Sixth-grade students Audrey Das and Abby Nesmith from Ms. Thorn’s class at Three Rivers Union School submitted a 90-page, co-written story. In their fantasy book, the reader follows the story of Luxavens, mythical creatures completely composed of light. Audrey and Abby explain in their book titled Captured: Book 1 of Light Light Everywhere, “They look like large birds, aside from the fact that they appear to be made of fire. When a Luxaven’s light touches something else, it spreads to that thing in the form of fire.”
Also from Ms. Thorn’s sixth-grade class came a 118-page submission by Anna Villavicencio and Alice Warner titled Ladybug. This story follows seventh grader Izabelle as she navigates the challenges that arise when a popular new girl arrives, threatening to come between Izabelle and her best friend, Leslie. Readers will empathize with the main character as misunderstandings, assumptions, and hopes are challenged throughout the story, including a surprise ending that includes a kitten named Ladybug. “Anna and Alice did an outstanding job developing the plot, adding clear dialogue, and providing a detailed picture of the main characters,” said Debra Lockwood, ERS library media supervisor.
To enjoy these detailed, well composed and crafted stories, visit tcoe.org/YoungAuthorsFaire.
The 2021 Young Authors’ Faire will be held Thursday, April 22, at the TCOE Conference Center and will include a visit by author Rafael Lopez