10 CHILDREN ANNOUNCED AS WINNERS OF SCHOLASTIC’S HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX ESSAY CONTEST
Scholastic announced today [6/11/03] the winners of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix national essay contest. Ten essays were selected from over 12,000 entries received. The winning children and their chaperones will be the guests of Scholastic for an all expense paid trip to London, England to hear J.K. Rowling, the author of the phenomenal best-selling Harry Potter books, answer questions and read from her extraordinary new novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at a live event at The Royal Albert Hall on Thursday, June 26th.
Fans were asked to write a 300-word essay expounding on the question "IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SPECIAL POWER TAUGHT AT HOGWARTS, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?" Entries were judged based on originality and clarity. The ten winners range in age from 8 to 16, and are from all areas of the United States.
Arthur Levine, Editorial Director, Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, editor of the Harry Potter books, a judge of the essay contest said: “Reading these essays was a wonderful reminder of the deep connection J.K. Rowling’s books make with her readers; how her stories tweak the imagination, and speak to our deep yearning for the power to make our lives better and to leave an impact on this world.”
Excerpts from the winning essays:
Sudipta B., NJ, Age 16
"As a Hogwarts student, I would like to be taught a charm that could compel a wicked man to experience the painful suffering of his victims and the tragic consequences of his actions... Had Lord Voldemort ever witnessed from the other side of his wand the last and painful gasps of his victims, James and Lily Potter might have been alive today.”
Daniel B., CA, Age 8
"The best potion I would make would be the Autistic Cure Potion. I would give some of it to Suzie (my sister), and then give the rest to other kids with autism. If Suzie didn't have autism we could go to the same school. She could just be a normal kid."
Marty C., VT, Age 12
"My brother (Alex) is not a kid. He's older than me and has no friends. Although he has a huge vocabulary and a wild imagination, he can't read anything more than easy readers...I shout 'EVOLOUTIO REPARO!!' (Latin for 'repair reading.')...Alex grinned like Hagrid discovering a new 'pet.' 'You cast a spell on me!'...'I can read Harry Potter now!'...'Just let me read to you.' he said.”
Nancy C., OK, Age 14
"The Rictusempra Spell causes the recipient to laugh and giggle uncontrollably, while the Tarantallegra Spell makes them waltz madly... These spells would be an exhilarating way to quarrel with one another while having joy and excitement... I would also perform the Rictusempra ad Tarantallegra spells on a couple of my teachers and friends. A few of them are a little too serious with life and deserve some cheer and happiness. The Rictusempra spell would also be beneficial to them; laughter is found to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, produce disease-destroying antibodies, and release endorphins. The Tarantallegra would decrease obesity and depression, as it is practically impossible to stay gloomy when you are dancing."
David D., FL, Age 14
"Although I am only fourteen years old I have the experience of a broken heart due to the death of my mother and it still has not healed. For this reason I am determined to learn how to acquire the power of healing broken hearts...It can help people all over the world and cure problems. I loved my mom and she is gone. I would like the sadness to start lifting somewhat.”
Louisa G., ID, Age 11
"If I could have a chance to have a magical power, I wouldn't. I spent a long time trying to figure out what I would want to do or become. Would I rid people of pain? Would I learn to fly, speak all languages, or become an elf? None of these. I realized that I'm happy just the way I am. I have a good family, nice friends, and a lot of books."
Brittany H., NY, Age 16
"My quest for healing begins when I was 2 1/2, and had to watch my dad's slow recovery from a massive stroke. He is now left without any physical mobility on his left side. My imagination used to wander, as to how I could magically change things. Life has thrown my mom and me a devastating curve, and only my ability to pretend could rescue me from reality...Within a blink of an eye my magic brings lifeless limbs to moving miracles. As I would watch him regain his life back, my imagination soars."
Emily G., IN, Age 8 1/2
“My favorite spell is Polyjuice Potion, because you can be other people! My friend Tara, in my class is blind. If I could use Polyjuice Potion, I’d become her and see what it’s like to be blind. Then I could help her better.”
Thomas P., CA, Age 15
"If I had the opportunity to choose one spell, charm, hex or curse to learn and be able to perform on command for the rest of my life, my immediate choice would be the summoning charm, for reasons which, if not already painfully obvious, shall be thoroughly explained herein... Oh, how I would relish my newly acquired ability as I sat, summoning random objects to my side for no particular reason at all, and then giggling fiendishly, as members of my family exchange dark looks with one another."
Angela W., MI, Age 14
"Obliviate!' No matter how many times I say the word, it never seems to work. When a teacher asks, 'Why didn't you do your homework?' and I yell back 'Obliviate!' in hopes that she'll forget the assignment existed, she just stares at me blankly...And, sadly the same result generally occurs when I try to make my sister forget that I borrowed her CD...On that account, after much contemplation, intensive soul-searching, and a couple of animated conversations with myself, I've decided that the ability to perform memory Charms would have to be the best power."
On June 26th at the historic Royal Albert Hall in London, J.K. Rowling will treat her fans to an exciting event. The extraordinary afternoon will begin with a conversation between Rowling and actor/author Stephen Fry. She will then read personally selected excerpts from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and answer questions from children about the new book. The entire event will be broadcast via a MSN Live Webcast at 11:00 a.m. (EST) in the U.S. The event will then be archived online for 7 days.