For the first time, the
PBS Kids Go! Writing Contest
for kindergarteners through third graders has produced national winners from the Pittsburgh area: Daniel Trimble of Brookline, in the top age bracket, and kindergartner Ella Black of North Huntingdon.
Daniel, who is being homeschooled in the fourth grade now, couldn't be more nonchalant about winning, although he was happy to unwrap his Kindle and other prizes. As a first grader, he had already won third place in the local contest, held by WQED, for The Mystery of the Golden Bug
when he was in first grade. This year he is one of only a dozen national winners, picked from thousands of entries coming from 65 PBS stations across the country. The judges included Lisa Henson of the Jim Henson Company, singer/poet Jewel and Mo Willems, award-winning children's author.
For this year's winning Mystery of the Attic Intruder
, "I wanted to write a mystery about me, my brother and a few of my friends," Daniel said. In his story, Daniel and friends are home alone playing Mario Kart when they hear noises in the attic. They suspect an intruder and build a trap. When the trap backfires, the intruder escapes: it's a gorilla, on the loose from the Pittsburgh Zoo, who takes one of Daniel's friends away with him. Happily, the friend is found safe in the zoo's gorilla cage, where he has been put to work as a companion for one of the gorilla's offspring.
"One of the weird parts was, I was talking about the gorilla" as a joke, Daniel says, "but my mom said I could use that."
Daniel has illustrated his own book with hand-drawn and cut-out pictures, in both full-page and four-panel spreads, and added a crayoned cover in lettering "copied from other scary books," he says.
Told that his name and a congratulatory message was going to be running on WQED, Daniel couldn't react before his father chimed in: "So now you'll have to watch five
hours a day."
Writer: Marty Levine
Sources: Daniel Trimble; WQED