ST. JOHNSBURY -- Brigantine Media recently announced the winners of The Spare Room Fiction Writing Contest for students in grades 4 through 8. Participants submitted a fictional piece of writing -- a diary entry or a letter -- based on one of the characters in the novel, "The Spare Room" by Jenny Land. The contest was open to students who reside, attend school, or are homeschooled in Vermont. Winners were selected in each of two divisions: 4th-6th grade and 7th-8th grade. First- through fourth-place prizes in each division are $100, $75, $50 and $25 respectively.

The winners are:

Grades 4 - 6: first place, Keira Cheroff Wilson, Grade 6, homeschooled in Barre; second place, Tobias Ham, Grade 5, homeschooled in Sheffield; third place, Adele MacDowell, Grade 4, homeschooled in Johnson; fourth place, Hazel Dority, Grade 4, homeschooled in Fairfield; honorable mention, Samuel Swenson, Grade 6, homeschooled in Newport Center; honorable mention, Keenan Thygesen, Grade 4, Tunbridge Central School.

Grades 7-8: first place, Thea Steeves-Boey, Grade 8, homeschooled in Sandgate; second place, Olivia Knudsen, Grade 7, Randolph Educational Resource Center; third place, Abigail Ham, Grade 7, homeschooled in Sheffield; fourth place, Sierra Boutin, Grade 8, Milton Middle School; honorable mention, Kristen Potter, Grade 7, Milton Middle School; honorable mention, Annie Danielson, Grade 8, homeschooled in Peacham.

To make it easy for students to enter, Brigantine Media offered a free copy of The Spare Room to all school and public libraries in Vermont. Over 60 public and school libraries requested and received the free book.

The Spare Room is a historical novel set on a 19th-century Vermont farm during the time leading to the Civil War. Middle schools across Vermont have used the book successfully to enrich their study of this period.

"We were really pleased with the number of entries to the contest," said Jenny Land, author of The Spare Room. "Several teachers used the contest as an assignment for their students, and many homeschoolers wrote entries as well."

An awards ceremony will be held Jan. 17 at the St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury. Winners' names are also posted on the book's website,


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