FOCAL      Friends of Children and Literature

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For Students in Grades 3 - 8

The FOCAL Award is presented annually to an author or illustrator for a creative work that enriches a child's appreciation for and understanding of California.

The 2018 award goes to—

book cover        

Step up to the Plate, Maria Singh  
(New York: Tu Books, 2017)

           by Uma Krishnaswami   (call number: X)

Three essay winners will be invited to the FOCAL Award Luncheon on December 8, 2018 and receive a copy of the autographed award winning book and meet the author. Their teacher and a parent will also receive a complimentary ticket to the award luncheon where the winners will read their essays.



Read the book, available at your school library or nearby Los Angeles Public Library branch library.
Compose an essay of no more than 300 words using three separate paragraphs explaining:

     1. Your reactions to the book as a whole.
     2. Your thoughts about a character or scene that stuck with you.
     3. What it would mean for you to meet the author.
Type the essay using 12 point font and print on 8 1/2" x 11" white paper.

     • Type total word count at end, on a separate line.
     • No title is required.
     • Check spelling, punctuation, and grammar carefully. Mistakes will disqualify the entry.
     • Attach the completed Contest Entry Form to the essay.
     • Mail to the address on the Contest Entry Form.
Online option: Use this online form. Complete the contest entry information and submit the essay following the instructions given above.
Individual students may each submit their own entry.
Teachers may select the three most original entries per classroom to submit.

Only one entry per student is allowed.
Mailed entries: postmarked by November 2, 2018.
Online entries: submitted by November 2, 2018 by 11:59 p.m. PST using this online form

The FOCAL Judges will choose three essays. Each winner will be notified by November 19, 2018.

FOCAL is the Friends support group for the Children’s Literature Department
of Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library