After several months of reading and enjoying the 1,665 stories entered into our 2016 Relevant Reads contest, our team is finally able to announce our five award-winning titles! Congratulations to each of you, and thank you so much to everyone who gave their time, efforts, and imagination to participating in this year's competition. We hope to see all of you again at our 2017 contest, which opens in August. For now, let's dive into this season's finalists!
The grand prize for diversity is awarded to Brian Kirchner for his story, "The Syrian Drummer and the Cactus Crimson Paint." In this tale, three bandmates searching for a drummer in their hometown just outside of Detroit discover that only few streets over, talented drum-player Yusif and his Syrian refugee family are searching for a new life, and new opportunities. It's a perfect match, except that there are some who would come between the new family and their chances at success. Can the three friends put their minds together to save their new band-mate from the prejudices threatening him and his family?
The award for best historical fiction goes to Katrina Wong for her story, "Escaping the Storm." This book takes place in the midst of World War II, and follows three very different characters as they're thrown into an unlikely alliance: Naomi, a young Jewish girl, Blaze, the young soldier who should want to kill her, and Michaela, the German girl who should thank him for it when he does.
The award for best fantasy goes to Abigail Mitchell for her story, "Argentum." Selene, the palace daughter, has been protected from her family curse, but only until her 15th birthday, a date which is fast approaching. She begs her father to let her take matters into her own hands, and the King, desperate to see his daughter reach old age, agrees. Will Selene's quest successfully end the centuries of lives lost too soon?
The For Teens by Teens award is given to Ariel Morrison for her story, "The Secret Goldfish." This story takes place in the midst of World War II. A young boy named Alfred is exploring the train tracks near his home when he runs into another boy, Kiku, who at first seems terrified to have been discovered. It turns out that Kiku is of Japanese descent and his family is facing the threat of life in an internment camp. Alfred promises not to reveal Kiku's whereabouts, and Kiku, in return, offers Alfred his goldfish, the Japanese symbol of peace.
And last but certainly not least, the award for best horror goes to Ryan Medina for his story, "Daisies."
"Daisies" is a spine-tingling tale about a family that moves into an old house in need of repair. An old house in need of repair that... doesn't seem to want them there.
Be sure to check out these and our many other great new titles! We've updated our shelves and added new categories to ensure that there is something for everyone in our library.