Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Young Local Author Decklyn Heins Wins Book Contest
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Young Local Author Decklyn Heins Wins Book Contest

After seeing author Jan Brett at an event in Decorah sponsored by Vesterheim last fall, Decklyn Heins, his mother Brittany of West Union, and Grandmother Pam Buddenberg of Ossian, stood in front the author’s tour bus posing as chickens for a photo to upload to the author’s facebook page. Brittany posted the photo so Decklyn could enter the contest based on who would get enough “likes” to help promote Brett’s new book about a chicken Cinderella named Cinders. Recently, the author got in contact with them to tell them that of a total of 348 families who posted a photograph of the tour bus on and they won the Grand Prize for the most votes 627 votes! Then came the excitement of finding out that Hedgie, a popular character in Jan Brett’s books would come to North Fayette-West Union Elementary on Thursday, December 19th, to visit preschool through second grade children.

Young Decklyn Heins has already become an author himself and already self-publishes his stories to family and friends. Meeting Jan Brett was was exciting, but winning the contest was the highlight of his year! He remembers that he especially liked when Jan Brett gave them pointers on how to draw, because he likes to illustrate the books he writes as well, and she had some great tips, especially on drawing the chickens that he plans to incorporate. The experience of getting to talk one-on-one with her has made a lasting impression on him. When he talked to Brett about writing his own books, she asked him what his stories are about and whether or not he does his own illustrations. Decklyn explained that he has written about football, birds, and his family, and enjoys making his own drawings in the books too! Brett encouraged him to continue writing, and liked the idea that Decklyn even gets into the sales aspect of writing books, having created himself a bookstore at home, where family and friends can purchase his autographed books.

Everyone at school was excited to meet Hedgie, who shared information with the kids about Jan Brett and some of her books. He also took time to read his favorite book with the kids, Hedgie's Surprise. He then awarded Decklyn a certificate and ten books from author Jan Brett, and Decklyn's classroom teacher received a special bag with a book. After the presentation, all the classes got a chance to pose for a picture with Hedgie. Hedgie also signed a poster that will be hung up in the school library.

You too can get something free from the author who visited us in Northeast Iowa if you go on the author’s Facebook page. There is a calendar from the author to share with other fans. You can download it free with a sneak preview of CINDERS: A Chicken Cinderella.

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