Read Beaver’s winning book here.
Read the 2nd place book here.
Read the 3rd place book here.
Diverse Minds is a contest where high school students write and illustrate children’s books to help elementary school children celebrate tolerance and diversity.
The unexpected rescue teaches Firemarth, who had previously feared the dragon - and all different-looking beasts in the kingdom - that "you shouldn't deny someone respect simply because they're different."
So goes The Legend of Firemarth, a children's book written and illustrated by Paulsboro High School sophomore Samson Beaver, who took home first prize this week in B'nai B'rith's "Diverse Minds Writing Challenge" in South Jersey.
Beaver's prize was a $5,000 college scholarship he hopes to eventually put toward art school. And 1,000 copies of The Legend of Firemarth will be professionally printed and distributed to local schools, libraries, and community organizations.
Beaver, 17, made sure that the dragon looked sufficiently frightening to drive home the point that appearances can be misleading. In too many children's books, he said, everything is "super-duper cutesy looking."
Firemarth also comes with a message fit for readers of any age. "Don't judge someone by their appearance," Beaver said, leaning over the cluttered art-room table where he spent weeks in February piecing together his first drafts. "Get to know the person."
The Diverse Minds contest, launched 10 years ago by the human rights advocacy group, and geared toward teaching elementary school children lessons of tolerance and equality, awards scholarship prizes to first-, second- and third-place winners in four regions.