Student Writers to be honored at
One Book Two Book Festival

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization’s annual One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival will offer outdoor fun for the entire family while also recognizing creative excellence of several area students, Feb. 26-27.

Activities for this year’s festival will be held in person, both outside and inside, on Saturday, Feb. 26. In addition, a special video presentation, “Write Out Loud,” will be shown on Sunday, Feb. 27, featuring the grade-level winners in the One Book Two Book writing competition. Visit for a full schedule.

Saturday events include story times at the Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty libraries, activities at Sidekick Books, and several fun programs on the downtown Iowa City Pedestrian Mall in and around the pop-up shops in Blackhawk Mini Park at the intersection of Dubuque and Washington streets. This will include a visit by book characters Clifford the Big Red Dog, Taco Dragon, Zoom Squirrel, and a Wild Thing. Players from the Iowa Heartlanders Ice Hockey Team – and Dash, their mascot — will be on hand for fun activities. Attendees are invited to donate used books to a festival book drive run in conjunction with the Iowa Heartlanders and Miss Iowa, Grace Lynn Keller, who is touring the state as part of her mission to advocate for children’s literacy. Books will be collected at the Pedestrian Mall location. 

In addition, children can sign up for free workshops. An illustration workshop with Jennifer Black Reinhardt for those ages 9-12 will be held at 2 p.m. at Sidekick Books. Participants will draw their own character and create their own “picture book page turn.” Registration is required. The annual Jr. High Writing Jam with the Iowa Youth Writing Project will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Iowa City Public Library. This year’s guest author is Chuy Renteria. Registration is required. Visit for more information about how to register for each of these opportunities.

For the writing portion of the festival, students in grades 1 through 8 in Corridor districts were encouraged to submit one page of original writing. These pieces can be stories, poems, song lyrics, graphic novel pages or anything else the students can envision. Those submissions were evaluated by a team at ACT in Iowa City. Grade-level winners were selected in two categories. They are:

  • The Write Stuff, which is judged based on language, clarity, structure, and emotional impact.
  • From the Heart, judged based on creativity, passion, and expressiveness.

These winning students are:
















In addition, the ACT team identified students in each grade whose writing was deemed worthy of honorable mention:

Jasper Hwang, 2, Willowwind
April Xu, 3, Wickham
Alice Gravert, 4, Lemme
Abigail Chen, 4, Wickham
Harriet Wrage, 4, Wilkins Elementary (Marion)
Oceana Zhang, 4, Wickham
Evelyn Ingersoll, 5, Lincoln
Edison Wolterman, 5, Nixon Elementary (Hiawatha)
Phoebe Smart, 5, Penn
Evan Otto Helmke, 6, Willowwind
Ben Sauder, 6, Willowwind
Erin Chen, 7, Northwest
Alma Bhandary-Narayanan, 8, South East
Grace Baker, 8, West Branch Middle School
Briley Kaalberg, 8, West Branch Middle School

The winning submissions can be viewed on the One Book Two Book website,

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