Young Writers Essay Contest 2019

Essayists were asked to answer the following question: What is your favorite book and why?

Writers age 7 and older wrote about books ranging from Harry Potter to Nancy Drew. Fantasy, dinosaurs and dragons were especially popular.

Thank you to all who submitted essays for the contest. I enjoyed reading about your children’s favorite books. I’m happy to not only see that so many parents are encouraging their kids to write, but that they are also fostering a love of reading. Reading and writing skills go hand in hand. Children who read more become better writers. Keep it up!

— Melanie Hitchcock, Editor


OVERALL WINNER: DANIEL SIXON

Photo by Kendal J. Bush

Daniel, 13, of Milford, is an eighth-grade student at Milford Middle School. He has a brother, David, 16, and a sister Rachel, 8, whom he regularly entertains with a series of short stories he writes. In his spare time he loves being outside and participating in soccer, basketball and track at his middle school. As a three-year member of the MMS chorus, his mom says Daniel’s creativity has been nourished. He is the son of Jonathan Sixon and his wife, Kathy Kowalchyk.

Daniel’s essay:

While I have read numerous incredible novels throughout my life, the book that stood out to me above the rest was “Love, Hate and Other Filters,” by Samira Ahmed. In this story 17 year old Maya Aziz is stuck between a rock and hard place.

Her dream is to become a filmmaker at NYU, while her parents want her to be an obedient Indian premed student who attends college close to their home in Chicago. Throughout all of this, she is maintaining a near impossible balancing act of managing two relationships and handling the hate she receives after an Indian Muslim is accused of a terrorist attack.

The book is my favorite because it opened my eyes to a real-life problem. Although our ethnicities differ, I found this novel meaningful due to the great attention being brought to Indian Muslim injustice in America. This subject is discussed infrequently in modern literature, and I am pleased it has been brought to the forefront. I enjoyed the wide range of unique characters, my favorite one being Kareem. He was Maya’s initial bachelor, having been set up by her parents. Although his debut made him seem pompous and arrogant, as the plot endured, Kareem showed his caring and understanding side.

“Love, Hate and Other Filters” was a very captivating book to read from my standpoint. It presented me with an issue I knew little about and made me more aware of it. While I continue to read more novels this summer, “Love, Hate and Other Filters” will always have a lasting impact on me.


WINNER, AGE 7 & YOUNGER: ISHAAN NYAHARKAR

Ishaan Nyaharkar, 7, of Merrimack, is a second-grade student at MicroSociety Academy Charter School in Nashua. Ishaan loves eating ice cream and wrestling with his brother, Tejas, 8. He also loves to build with Legos, enjoys playing the piano and is fond of reading, swimming, biking and doing yoga with his grandmother. He is also a big fan of the Avenger movies and Ninjago. Ishaan is the son of Uday and Jayshree Nyaharkar.

Ishaan’s essay:

I love to dream! Books lift me from earth and take me to a world of dragons, dinosaurs, UFOs and aliens.

My favorite world among them all is the world of dragons, which is painted in the book series, “Wings of Fire.” The series, “Wings of Fire” is written by Tui T. Sutherland. I live in New Hampshire and she lives nearby in Massachusetts!

There are 16 book in Wings of Fire. I have read three books. Each book is filled with dragons and their adventures. Did you know that different dragons have different powers? Some can breathe underwater, glow in the dark and some can even control weather. My favorite dragon can make tsunamis. She even glows in the dark!

My favorite book so far is “The Lost Heir.” It is a story of how Tsunami goes back to her home at the seawing palace and becomes a princess. Tsunami was captured by some dragons when she was still in her egg. So she never knew her family. But finally in “The Lost Heir” she gets to meet her sister Anemone and her mother Queen Coral. I felt very happy! I want to read all the books in the series. I can’t wait to read “The Dark Secret” and find out what happens.


WINNER, AGE 8-11: EESHA GOWDA

Eesha, 11, of Westford, Mass., is a sixth-grade student at Stony Brook Middle School. She is passionate about reading, writing and playing music. She takes great interest in playing the piano. She’s also a big Harry Potter fan, Expecto Patronum! Eesha enjoys playing with her younger brother Aashish and likes to help her parents, Mahesh and Savitha Patil, with chores at home. Mom says she is a friendly and fun-loving girl and loves going on vacation with family and friends.

Eesha’s essay:

All book-lovers have that one book they just love. The writer just does something that sparks their interest level up. For me that book is “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. This book tells you in a very simple way that a small act of kindness can go a long way.

I love how unique this book is. It’s about a 10 year old boy named Auggie with facial deformities who has trouble making friends when he starts going to a real school for the first time. He’d been home-schooled by his mom since he was young. “Wonder” is by far my favorite book I’ve read because of how it teaches you lessons.

For example, Palacio says, “If you have the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” This book also tells you that it doesn’t matter how you look on the outside, it matters how you are on the inside. I love how this book teaches you so many things you should always do.

My favorite character in this book is Auggie’s sister, Via. She’s independent because her parents are often with Auggie. She’s very understanding.

When she starts going to high school she has many problems with her social life. Via has to go through those alone. When Auggie is down and upset Via always does her best to get him up and going. This is why I like Via so much. Even though she has many problems in her own life, she forgets about them and helps others.

I highly recommend this book to people who love books that are impossible to put down. When you put together all of the things I’ve said so far about “Wonder,” you get a fabulous, extraordinary, amazing book.


WINNER, AGE 12 & OLDER: MISHKA ALLAM

Mishka, 13, of Bedford is an eighth-grade student at Ross A. Lurgio Middle School. Her hobbies include reading, writing, biking, and playing basketball. She loves playing the clarinet and piano and enjoys acting in school plays. Her favorite music genre is pop. Mishka has one brother, Mahith, 9, and is the daughter of Mamatha Thumma and Lourdu Allam.

Mishka’s essay:

My favorite book, and arguably one of the best books of all time, would be “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan.

“The Lightning Thief” is about a trouble prone,12 year old boy named Percy, whose life gets a little more complicated when he learns that he is the son of the Greek god Posiedon.

At a summer camp for the children of the deities, he learns to control his powers and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime: preventing war between the gods, and rescuing his mother from the clutches of Hades, the god of the underworld.

This book is important and meaningful to me because it shows that what other people may believe are disabilities actually can represent great strengths. In this book, Percy is not the best at school, and is said to have ADHD and dyslexia. But he uses these skills to help him overcome the challenges that he is faced with along his journey to rescue his mom, and save the world.

What I like most about this book is how well it’s written. It ties Greek mythology into a modern day book. This book is also likable because of the characters. Percy is a selfless hero who is very relatable, and is hilarious too. We see him use his “flaws” or completely ignore them, which is hard for most people to do. It also has a lot of action to keep you on your toes, and a great and effective storyline.

“The Lightning Thief” is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who loves fantasy, Greek mythology, or action. It is flawlessly written, and is engaging. It shows people what kids with learning disabilities can overcome and accomplish, all while giving readers a good laugh and amazing memories.

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