Read the Winning Essays From the Scout Life 2020 Reading Contest

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With thousands of fantastic entries in the Scout Life 2020 “Say Yes to Reading!” contest, choosing the winners was tough. Here are the winners from each age group:

8 AND UNDER CATEGORY

First Place: James C.

James C., 7, of Alexandria, Virginia, was reminded of some of his own Scouting adventures in The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island by Gertrude Chandler Warner. He says the Boxcar Children show many Scout traits while exploring the island. Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are thrifty, kind, polite, friendly and cheerful throughout the book. They harvest vegetables, fish and gather clams to make clam chowder. “When the children cooked their food over the fire, it reminded me of my fall campout with my Scout pack,” writes James. His favorite character is the oldest sibling, Henry, because he shows all of the Scout traits. “Henry leads the children to safety by telling them to swim against the current and toward the entrance of the cave,” he writes. “Henry was clearly putting the Scout Oath into action.”

Second Place: James S., 8, Livermore, California (Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White)

Third Place: Vivienne S., 8, Wilmington, Delaware (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling)


9- & 10-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY

First Place: Jonah M.

Jonah M., 9, from Tigard, Oregon, read about a young wolf named Swift that desires to be the pack leader in A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry. Swift finds himself alone after another wolf pack invades his pack’s territory and attacks them. Swift survives, but his father doesn’t. Swift tries to trace the remaining members of his pack but can’t find anyone, so he decides to go on a 2,000-mile journey. Along the way, he overcomes many challenges. When he reaches his new home, Swift changes his name to Wander and starts a new pack. “Swift completes the near impossible,” writes Jonah. “He faced many challenges, but he never gave up.” Jonah likes this book because it reminds him of the packs in Cub Scouts. He also likes the real-life picture that the words and illustrations paint.

Second Place: Zainab F., 10, Pleasanton, California (Grace Makes It Great by Mary
Casanova)

Third Place: Kian L., 10, Waukesha, Wisconsin (Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August)


11–YEARS-OLD AND UP CATEGORY

First Place: Caroline N.

Caroline N., 12, from Austin, Texas, found a reflection of her own life in Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow. The book follows the story of a girl named Aisulu who wants to become an eagle hunter. The problem is that she lives in the shadow of her brother, Serik. However, things change when Serik breaks his leg and his secret of having cancer is revealed. Aisulu’s parents leave her behind and take Serik to a hospital. Feeling forgotten by the ones who love her the most, Aisulu rescues a dying eaglet and names it Toktar. She then accomplishes her dream by flying Toktar at the Eagle Festival. “Aisulu learns that for Toktar to reach his full potential, she must reach hers,” Caroline writes. “A bird is only as great as whoever is handling it. Don’t be afraid to stand on your sky.” This story also inspired Caroline to “test her wings and learn to fly, break the norms and reach for the stars.”

Second Place: Joshua T., 11, Toms River, New Jersey (Rules by Cynthia Lord)

Third Place: Sean R., 13, Hollister, California (My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George)

Find out how to enter the 2021 “Say Yes to Reading” Contest at go.scoutlife.org/readingcontest

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