Young writers honored at recognition event

Bethany Barton

Author Bethany Barton entertains students at the Young Writers Event at the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE).

Young authors from schools across Riverside County were honored at the recent Young Writers’ Event sponsored by the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) and Inland Empire Reading Council (IERC).

The evening recognition event honored the exceptional writing of 78 kindergarten through eighth grade students. Students were awarded “Best of Category” recognition medals. All student authors were given a new book to read from the IERC and a writer’s journal from RCOE to capture their ideas and experiences perhaps inspired by the author presentations.

This year, the Young Author’s Recognition Program included presentations by three local authors:

Bethany Barton engaged the kindergarten, first- and second-grade students with her captivating artistry and storytelling. She is an experienced artist, author and illustrator who spends some days also working in the art department for film & TV in Los Angeles. She shared her new book, This Monster Cannot Wait!

James Luna, a sixth grade teacher at Madison Elementary School in the Riverside Unified School District, and author of the children’s books, The Runaway Piggy and The Mummy in her Backpack, presented to the third, fourth and fifth grade students. He shared how his experiences in life influenced his writing. James has taught writing to students through the University of Riverside, California Early Academic Outreach Program, and is a fellow of the Inland Area Writing Project.

David R. Smith, author of the Dark Eagles First Flight, shared his book with the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade student writers. He told them that as a child he wanted to be a movie director, but instead he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering at the University of Utah and later earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University. He pursued a path in the corporate world, but his creative side continued to tug at him until he finally realized that it’s never too late to follow your dream as an author.

The following students were honored with “Best of Category” Awards:

Expository Writing

Grade K-2 — Giselle Sanchez, 1st grade, Midland Elementary School, Moreno Valley Unified School District, Butterflies and Moths
Grade 3-5 — Kolani Smith, 4th grade, Bear Valley Elementary School, Moreno Valley Unified School District, Bullying
Grade 6-8 — Mikaela Wells, 7th grade, Canyon Lake Middle School, Lake Elsinore Unified School District, Don’t Let It Get Under Your Skin

Narrative Writing

Grade K-2 — Alexa Dorf, Kindergarten, Temecula Valley Charter School, Temecula Valley Unified School District, Friends Come in All Different Packages
Grade 3-5 — Anay Linares, 5th grade, Ramona Elementary School, Moreno Valley Unified School District, Adventures with Mr. Mouse
Grade 6-8 — Taylor Dominguez, 8th grade, Corona Fundamental Intermediate School, Corona Norco Unified School District, Mercy I Know Not


Grade K-2 — Andrew Felix, 1st grade, North Ridge Elementary School, Moreno Valley, Unified School District, Springtime
Grade 3-5 — (tie) Samantha Parada, 4th grade, May Ranch Elementary School, Val Verde Unified School District USD, The Knight and Victor Gallegos, 5th grade , Vail Elementary School, Temecula Valley Unified School District, I am A Lightning Bolt
Grade 6-8 – (tie) Rachel David, 7th grade, Frank Augustus Miller Middle School, Riverside Unified School District, Fallen Orchard and Emma Whamond, 7th grade , Mountain View Middle School, Beaumont Unified School District, Quiet