Tryon second grader wins book contest

Published 9:16 am Monday, May 23, 2011

Virginia Rostick (left) was surprised Friday, May 20 at Tryon Elementary by a visit from PBS character Read-A-Roo, who announced Rostick won the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest for second graders throughout North Carolina. Rostick’s book, “Blackberry Pie” (right), was selected from among 251 contestants this year. (photos by Leah Justice)

Tryon Elementary School second grader Virginia Rostick got a big surprise at school last Friday, May 20.
Read-A-Roo, a popular PBS character, visited the school to bring the news that Rostick is this year’s PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest winner for second graders throughout North Carolina.
Read-A-Roo brought Rostick a box of presents and balloons and allowed Libby Justice’s second-grade class to participate in a party and games for Rostick.
Rostick won the statewide contest out of 251 contestants this year with “Blackberry Pie.” Rostick, who is 8 years old, wrote and illustrated the book.
Rostick said she was surpised, but she knew what Read-A-Roo had in store because she also won the competition last year for the first grade category with her book titled “The Goat Elevator.”
UNC-TV’s Producer Trisha Howard said this year there were different judges who were not aware that Rostick was also last year’s first grade winner.
UNC-TV will animate the book sometime at the end of June to be televised and the “prize patrol” segment shot Friday at Tryon Elementary School should air in a couple of weeks on UNC-TV.
Rostick’s book this year is about how to make a blackberry pie like her grandmother makes, with “a lotta, lotta love.” (see text from book, page 6).
Virginia was surprised today not only by the UNC-TV crew, but by her parents, Doug and Carolyne Rostick, little brother, Neil, and grandparents, Ed and Ginny Rostick, who attended the party.
“She worked really hard on the book,” Doug Rostick said. “She has her grandmother’s creative streak and we are really proud of her.”
Virginia said her grandmother, which she calls, “Mommom,” does make the best pies and her favorite is blackberry.
“We knew there was a special visitor but I didn’t know who it was,” Virginia said on Friday.
She and other students knew something special was going on, but all predicted it to be a visit from “Trucker Buddy,” local trucker Gary Poague, who visits the class.
Virginia said besides writing, her favorite things are reading, drawing, taking dance and playing tennis.
The PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest is a national-local contest designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning. The contest encourages children in grades kindergarten through third grade in communities across the country to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original pieces. To learn more about the contest, visit
The national contest is not possible this year because of lack of funding, but Howard said Virginia was selected to send her story for PBS’s website.

‘Blackberry Pie,’ by Virginia Rostick

Editor’s note: The following is the story Tryon Elementary second grader Virginia Rostick wrote for her book “Blackberry Pie,” which won the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest for N.C. second graders this year. She also illustrated the book.
My Mommom makes the best pies for my family. She says they are so good because they are made with love. Blackberry is my favorite!
I wanted to make my family one to show how much I love them. So, here’s how I did it…
First I made the pie crust. Then I added 4 cups of big juicy blackberries, 1 cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup of flour. My blackberry pie looked delicious, but I knew something was missing.
The love! I came up with an idea of how to put the love in-I thought of all the things I do with my family that makes us happy!
First, I put a chip of a ball from the bowling alley where my family and I go.
Second, I took a cup of snow from the snowman that my daddy, my little brother, Neil and Uncle Chris and I had made.
Third, I put in a pawn from the chess games that Poppop and I play.
Next I put in a pinch of sand from all the family beach trips we go on.
I added a ½ cup of Christmas cookie crumbles that Mommom and I had made.
I put in a teaspoon of chopped up Uno card from our family game nights.
I also decided to add ¼ cup of water from Uncle Chris’s and Uncle Mike’s hot tubs that my little brother Neil and I play in when we go to visit.
Last but not least, I sprinkled seeds in the pie and added some fertilizer and water like Mommom and I do every spring.
And when I cooked it a garden grew in the pie! It was because I put a lotta, lotta love in it!
We didn’t eat the pie but my family was very proud of me. They all said they loved me and I said I love you all too!

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