November 19, 2019
Nov. 19, 2019—Hairgrove Elementary School fourth grade student Natalia Varela was among 100 student authors and illustrators honored at the 10th anniversary iWRITE Luncheon & Book Signing, which was held Nov. 2 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown and aims to raise awareness about iWRITE’s mission to build student confidence through writing.
Varela joined the ranks of published student authors. Her short story, “Cindy and the Deathly Spider,” was featured among the other stories, poems and illustrations in iWRITE’s 10th edition of the anthology, “I Write Short Stories by Kids for Kids.”
“It was really cool,” Varela said. “I’ve never seen something of mine being shown like this so that was cool.”
The nonprofit iWRITE group offers a supplement, writing-focused literacy program. It hosts an annual publishing contest for youth short stories, poems and illustrations in grades 3-12.
“Through the years, we’ve published 687 student authors and illustrators from 11 different countries resulting in more than 11,000 anthologies that have gone to print,” said Melissa Williams Murphy, children’s author and iWRITE founder. “As 100 winning student authors and illustrators gather in Houston…we celebrate the cultural influence that’s been found inside the publication for the past decade.”
In addition to the luncheon, the event included a book signing where honorees were able to have their own copy of the anthology signed by fellow student authors and illustrators.
Varela’s story featured a well-traveled superhero in Cindy charged with ultimately saving the world from a spider. Upon hearing the news that her work was selected, she said her first feeling was shock followed by excitement.
“I didn’t think I would make it and get picked,” Varela said. “I got a chance to read some of the other stories that were picked and they were all different.”
The anthology has found a place in the Hairgrove library and Varela’s story has quickly become a hit to fellow students.
“At the beginning of the year, you wouldn’t have suspected this, but slowly over time, she’s become very confident and is very proud of her writing,” Hairgrove fourth grade teacher Gregory Lang said of Varela. “I’m very proud of her.”