Read the Winning Essays From the Scout Life 2021 Reading Contest


With thousands of fantastic entries in the Scout Life 2021 “Say Yes to Reading!” contest, choosing the winners was tough. Here are the winners from each age group:


First Place: Kallee-Jane C.

Kallee-Jane C., 7, Rayne, Louisiana, loved the book Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton because it taught her how special everyone is in the world. Dolly’s family doesn’t have enough money to buy her a nice coat for the harsh Tennessee winters, so one day Dolly’s mom makes her a jacket by sewing together old rags. While making it, her mom tells her a Bible story about the coat of many colors, which makes Dolly even happier to wear the jacket to school. However, when she wears it, the other kids make fun of her. They don’t know Dolly’s mom made the jacket out of love because her family couldn’t afford to buy her one. Instead of getting upset, Dolly teaches the other children that a family’s love is more important than money. Kallee-Jane says, “You should always be nice to people because you never know what kind of life they have. It doesn’t matter if you have money or not — kindness is for everyone.”

Second Place: Harold G., 7, Sewell, New Jersey (Crash, Bang, Boo by Joe McGee)

Third Place: Sammy W., 6, Otis, Oregon (Kevin the Unicorn: It’s Not All Rainbows by Jessika von Innerebner)


First Place: Constantin B.

Constantin B., 10, Warren, N.J., read about how important it is to have a team when it comes to solving a problem in The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. The book follows four orphans with unique talents who work together to save the world from Mr. Benedict’s evil brother Mr. Curtain. Reynie is the team leader and the puzzle master. Sticky’s a speed reader, and he’s gifted with knowing a lot about everything. Katie is the athletic one and is quick on her feet. Lastly, the youngest of the group is 3-year-old Constance. She has a pure heart and a good sense of humor. Together they defeat Mr. Curtain by using the love in their hearts and their intelligence. Constantin says the book also reminds people to use their talents for good and to help people instead of harming them. “This book is about friendship, loyalty, honesty, truth and perhaps the most important — kindness. We are all unique and we all have a gift, but we need to work together to achieve greatness and make the world a better place.”

Second Place: Sundiata A., 9, Palmyra, N.J. (Fantastic Kids: George Washington Carver by Michelle Jovin)

Third Place: Alan W., 9, Otis, Ore. (The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh)


First Place: Chloe L.

Chloe L., 12, Ludlow, Massachusetts, found a reflection of her own life in The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson. Marinka’s grandmother is a Baba Yaga — a woman who guides souls to the afterlife. As a trainee, Marinka helps her grandmother by cooking meals, lighting candles and reciting prayers. Even though Marinka is helpful, she doesn’t want to be a Baba Yaga. She wants to live a regular life and make real friends — not just dead ones. However, having an ordinary life is impossible because her grandmother doesn’t understand her desire to live one. Also, their house has legs and relocates without warning. As Marinka gets older, she struggles between the comfort of her childhood and her desire for independence. One day, Marinka makes a big move because she’s tired of losing friends. Chloe says, “Like Marinka, I have a long journey ahead of me, which will be filled with many mistakes. However, I know I’ll be OK with the love and support of my family, friends and community.”

Second Place: Jenna C., 16, White Oak, Texas (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr)

Third Place: Abigail D., 11, San Jose, Calif. (Wonder by R.J. Palacio)

Find out how to enter the 2022 “Say Yes to Reading” Contest at

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