Eleven-year-old Claudia Semaniuk, a fifth-grader at Destin Middle School can now add the title of award winning author to her resume.
The young, literary, fifth-grade minds at Destin Middle School have completed their end-of-the-year assignment; the Bare Book/Young Authors project.
Destin Middle School literary coach Kathleen Armstrong was working at the school as an English teacher when the Young Authors project began about five years ago.
After completing their books, the students read each other's work and selected a handful of them to be named the "People's Choice Award."
"The students can choose any genre they would like; fiction, nonfiction, biographical or they can choose to create a comic book," Armstrong said.
According to fifth-grade novelist and people's choice award winner, 11-year-old Aryn O'Dell, they were given about a month to compose their books from cover-to-cover.
"My book only took me three weeks to finish, though," O'Dell said.
O'Dell chose nonfiction as her genre and wrote her book about something near and dear to her heart.
Titled "The Little White Bird," O’Dell’s novel focused on her favorite animal — birds.
The idea behind the project, according to Armstrong, is to teach students how to properly brainstorm, draft, edit, publish and illustrate their own book.
From the students who won the people's choice award, Semaniuk was selected as the first place winner of the Young Authors Project. Semaniuk's chose fiction as her literary genre, calling her book "ForestQuest." Semaniuk told The Log that her book was inspired by her love of nature and her love of wolves.
"It has a forest atmosphere," said Semaniuk. "Windstorm is the main character (a wolf) and he is looking for a new home after his is destroyed." Semaniuk added that her book is similar to Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax."
The students all seemed to enjoy the Young Authors Project because it allowed them to be as creative as they liked.
Armstrong and the fifth-grade teachers told The Log they were ecstatic about the amount of work their students put into their projects.
"It has been a time consuming but very worthwhile project," said teacher Leah McGill. "We're very proud of their accomplishments."