Third In The Nation

Cricket Branstrom of Russell was honored in May when her story “Little Possum’s Big Adventure” took first place for first grade students in Pennsylvania. On Monday, WQED Pittsburgh announced that her story received third place nationally in the first grade category in the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest.

A press release from WQED explained, “Cricket’s story is about Josephine the possum, who gets carried away by butterflies to a pond and is helped by a variety of forest animals to get back to her motherbut was it a dream?”

Jennifer Stancil, executive director of Educational Partnerships at WQED said, “Cricket’s story has the wonderful rhythm that defies her age, (she is) extraordinarily imaginative and talented.”

Carilee Branstrom, Cricket’s mother said, “We (will) travel back to Pittsburgh on Aug. 22nd for a press conference…, a board meeting and party at WQED where she will be awarded an iPod, and her story will be returned to her.”

Cricket added that her family would be staying overnight in Pittsburgh, then going to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to see dinosaur bones.

When asked about receiving national honors, Cricket said, “It feels good.” Her mother asked if she knew how many other authors she had competed against, she said, “maybe 700… or maybe 3 million.”

“I’m sad, I can only write for two more years in the contest,” she added.

Cricket has a number of new projects underway, saying, “I’m working on a new book for babies called ‘Peek-a-Boo Animals.’ I have to work on a book about a princess that could take care of herself, but it’s hard. I only have the cover and two pages done. A prince is trying to save her, but she takes his armor and puts it on to fight the dragon. She is trying to show him she doesn’t need his help.”

Carilee said that someone in Warren is paying her to write the book for their daughter.

This is the second year that Pennsylvania has had child writers place at a national level, last year being the first.