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2010 – 2011 Diverse Minds Winner

New York Winners

First Place (NY)

Mystery Gift

The Mystery Gift
Written and illustrated by Gidget Izarry
Channel View High School for Research, Rockaway Park

Gidget Izarry of Channel View High School, was selected as the first-place winner of the 2011 Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge in New York. In addition to the publication and distribution of her book, she received a $5,000 scholarship.

The Mystery Gift takes children into a classroom toward the end of the year, where students encounter a gift box .

As everyone tries to guess what is in this mystery gift, students hope it’s something for their favorite holidays. In the process, the class learns about celebrations from various cultures and religions.

Second Place (NY)

Incredible Quane and the Regular Somethings
Written and illustrated by Rena Parisi
Tottenville High School, Staten Island

Rena Parisi, a Staten Island senior at Tottenville High School, took home the second place award for her book “Incredible Quane and the Regular Somethings,” earning a $2,000 scholarship.

Third Place (NY)

Pepper and the Super Sparkle Sneakers
Written and illustrated by Sophia Philip
The Spence School, Manhattan

Third place went to Sophia Philip, a senior at The Spence School in Manhattan for “Pepper and the Super Sparkle Sneakers.” Philip earned a $1,000 scholarship.

Memphis Winners

First Place (Memphis)


The Peanut Butter Bee

Written and illustrated by Joel Cox
Christian Brothers High School

Joel Cox of Christian Brothers High School was selected as the first-place winner of the 2011 Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge in Memphis. In addition to the publication and distribution of his book, Joel received a $5,000 scholarship.

The Peanut Butter Bee tells the story of Polly, a worker bee who collects peanut butter instead of honey and is banished for her choice. But when a drought hits the area and the flowers stop producing nectar, Polly is welcomed back and asked to teach everyone how to collect peanut butter. The book’s motto: “Always remember: it is important to ‘bee’ yourself.”

Second Place (Memphis)

World of Color

Written and illustrated by
Molly Brakha and Shoshana Somer
Margolin Hebrew Academy

Molly Brakha and Shoshana Somer, seniors at Margolin Hebrew Academy, took home the second-place award for “World of Color,” earning a $2,000 scholarship.

Third Place (Memphis)

Pedro at the Plate
Written and illustrated by
Eric Ruleman and Brett Wagner
Germantown  High School

Third place went to writer/illustrators Eric Ruleman and Brett Wagner, juniors from Germantown High School, for their book”Pedro at the Plate.” The team received a $1,000 scholarship.