Reading Takes You Everywhere Kids’ Art Contest Winners

On Saturday during our STEAM Fair, we announced the winners of our Kids’ Art Contest! This year’s theme was “Reading Takes You Everywhere,” and we asked kids to submit flat works of art based on that theme or anything travel-related.

Before I share who won, I’d like to give a huge thank-you to our judges:

Robin Reidy
Mike Shea
Shauna Redmond
Marie Plug
Nick Smith
Eunice Font-Montalvan
Patricia Woodlin

The judges put a lot of thought and heart into evaluating each entry, and did a great job communicating their opinions to me. Because they put so much thought, effort and skill into it, it was easy for me to total up their scores and determine clear winners.

We got 24 beautiful entries by children all over Pasadena, and they are ALL on display (in photograph or photocopy form) for lasting enjoyment by library patrons browsing the chapter books in the children’s room.

Of these 24 entries, 6 were selected as winners in our two categories:

6-8 Years Old Category:
1st Place: Quentin Sloan, for “The Map of My Imagination”
2nd Place: Nicole Hsueh, for “Reading Takes ME Everywhere!”
3rd Place: Clara Park, for “A New World is a Page Away”

9-12 Years Old Category:
1st Place: Allison Drake, for “The Expanding Universe of Books”
2nd Place: Meridith Southard, for “Dragon Reader”
3rd Place: Josie Calva-Despard, for “Literary Quests”

Now let’s share each piece in turn, and what our judges had to say about it!

6-8 Third Place, Clara Park, “A New World is a Page Away”

In the 6-8 Years Old Category, our third place winner is Clara Park, for her colored pencil and marker drawing titled “A New World is a Page Away.” Our judges called this picture “colorful and inviting,” with “cute characters” and “a lot of attention to detail and color contrast.” They also praised the artist for “nice use of space” and “excellent creativity,” saying: “We can see where the kitty is traveling to in her mind as she reads.” Congratulations to Clara Park!

6-8 Second Place, Nicole Hsueh, “Reading Takes ME Everywhere!”

Our second place winner in this category is Nicole Hsueh, for her pastel, pencil and crayon drawing titled “Reading Takes ME Everywhere!” Our judges loved the “beautiful, careful artwork” of this piece, with its vivid colors and its thoughtful design, dividing the page in half by morning and night. They also loved Nicole’s little creative touches that gave extra depth and expression to her theme, like the way the buildings are books and the magic carpet is books. Wonderful creativity, technical skill and execution. Congratulations Nicole Hsueh!

6-8 First Place, Quentin Sloan, “The Map of My Imagination”

Our first place winner for the 6-8 Years Old Category is Quentin A. Sloan, for his colored pencil drawing titled “The Map of My Imagination.” Our judges had a lot of enthusiasm for this picture, noting that it used “lots of imagination” and gave them “so much to look at and draw the eye!” They also loved the “attention to detail and the surrealistic feel of the piece,” comparing Quentin’s style to surrealists like Salvador Dali. The figures in this piece are diverse, abstract and animated, and incorporate great examples of real books. “The artist loves reading, and it shows!” Congratulations Quentin Sloan, our first place winner!

Now let’s talk about a few of the artworks that our judges also felt had a lot of merit. In most cases these artworks were selected by at least one judge for a fourth or fifth place. Based on this ranking and the total scores of all artworks, five artists from each category emerged as honorable mentions.

In the 6-8 Category, our honorable mentions are:

Shriya Prabhu, for “Reading Takes You Everywhere—Even to the White House!”

Adrishya R. Kumar, for “Reading Takes You From the Ocean to Outer Space”

Shardul Amal Sonawane, for this untitled picture

Amalie London Moya, for “Colorful Bird Breeze”

And Salinger Hurtado, for “Dreaming of Paris”

9-12 Third Place, Josie Calva-Despard, “Literary Quests”

In our 9-12 Years Old Category, our third place winner is Josie Calva-Despard, for her colored pencil and marker drawing titled “Literary Quests.” Our judges praised this artwork for its “strong use of color, space and movement,” with “so many wonderful images” “from different times and worlds.” They praised its creativity and its execution, saying that it was “very detailed and nicely designed,” “chock full of things to see and imagine!” They really enjoyed taking in all of the individual characters and adventures Josie created. Congratulations, Josie Calva-Despard!

9-12 Second Place, Meridith Southard, “Dragon Reader”

Our second place winner in this category is Meridith G. Southard, for her colored pencil and ink drawing titled “Dragon Reader.” Our judges praised Meridith for her “beautiful use of color, line and form,” and “nice technical ability and use of space.” They loved the amazing colors, the “beautiful dragon,” with “a dreamy look…as it reads with the girl resting on his back reading too.” Congratulations, Meridith Southard!

9-12 First Place, Allison Drake, “The Expanding Universe of Books”

Our first place winner for the 9-12 Years old Category is Allison Drake, for her colored pencil and marker drawing titled “The Expanding Universe of Books.” Our judges were blown away by this artwork, and among all these wonderful pieces Allison’s was truly the favorite. They praised her for her “Excellent concept and excellent execution,” her “bold, strong use” of “jewel-like color,” her “carefully executed,” “creative and clear” concept, her “great drawing and mixed media skills.” They said “the dreamlike images were entrancing,” because “the worlds in each bubble are unique.” One judge compared it to some great artists: “a bit of Chagall, mixed with Dali, mixed with Gauguin.” “Color, line, form and composition all blend seamlessly.” Congratulations, Allison Drake, our first place winner!

Now let’s talk about a few of the artworks that our judges also felt had a lot of merit. In most cases these artworks were selected by at least one judge for a fourth or fifth place ranking. Based on this ranking and the total scores of all artworks, five artists from each category emerged as honorable mentions.

In the 9-12 Category, our honorable mentions are:

Sarah Paterson, for “Set Your Mind Free!”

Audrey Khloé Montañez, for “Soaring to Book Island”

Julie Bronzosian, for “Reading Takes You Everywhere”

Ximena Sarai Hernández, for “Books Take You Everywhere!”

And Joan Lopez, for “A Book Full of Surprises”

As I said, everything submitted to the contest is being displayed in the library for patrons’ lasting enjoyment and inspiration! But the original winning artworks are also going to be displayed in our Main Hall display case next to Admin. The winners who were able to attend our award ceremony have already received their prizes consisting of a PPL tote bag full of art supplies purchased from Blick and Michaels. The remaining winners who couldn’t attend will be contacted and will be able to pick up their prizes at the Central Library Children’s Room. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the contest organizer, AnnMarie Hurtado, at 626-744-4725.

AnnMarie Hurtado

I'm a youth services librarian working in the Children's Room at the Pasadena Central Library. I purchase juvenile nonfiction books for all sites, juvenile Spanish books for all sites, and juvenile DVDs for the Central Library. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including Lucha Libros, writing workshops, STEAM Careers in Pasadena, and other STEAM/science programs. I teach 1-2 sessions of Infant/Toddler Storytime each year. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book, 36 Workshops to Get Kids Writing: From Aliens to Zebras.

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