Big Read ‘Come into the Wild’ contest entries sought

“Come Into The Wild,” a contest for original, unpublished narratives or artwork, will launch this year’s Big Read campaign, which features Jack London’s classic “The Call of the Wild,” at Daniel Reed Library, SUNY Fredonia.

Those of all ages with creative minds are invited to submit entries in one of three categories for an opportunity to win prizes. The contest is inspired by London’s book, the 2013 Big Read selection, which presents an unforgettable adventure of humans and animals struggling for survival in a hostile wilderness.

In the first category, “You’ve Got A Friend,” children in kindergarten through third grade are to draw a picture of their best friend and explain why this person or pet is important to them or how they gain inspiration from that person or pet. Drawings are to done on a plain, white 8-1/2-by-11 sheet of paper.

“The Call of the Wild” shows how dogs exercise caution when making friends with one another, despite feeling defensive and on the edge about these relationships. As the story progresses, Buck eventually becomes friendly with other dogs.

In “A Hero’s Perseverance,” the second category, children in grades 4-9 are to create an original story about an animal afflicted with a serious problem that needs to be solved. With the goal of idea development, children track the problem, beginning with identification and concluding with resolution. Special attention should be given to word choice because, as London did, the writer wants to paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

Through sheer determination Buck is able to endure the harshness of the wilderness and the dog sled lifestyle. In “The Call of the Wild,” determination is on a basic level about survival, and about dominance on a deeper level. Not only is Buck determined to survive, but also to become a leader, to complete specific tasks that include killing certain creatures and prove himself to have specific qualities.

The third category, “Communing with Nature,” is geared for adults, who are asked to write a poem or narrative essay about one’s place in the natural world.

London presents nature as a challenging force by placing the story in the frozen terrain of northern Canada and having Buck experience starvation, exhaustion and bitter cold. But the natural world is not solely antagonistic; it also stimulates the dogs, shapes them and molds them into stronger, more powerful animals.

A total of nine prizes three in each category will be awarded. Submissions must be typed or legibly written, and include the author’s full name, address, telephone number and age category (K-3, 4-9 or adult) on a separate piece of paper. Winners will be notified by Feb. 18 and invited to a reading and awards reception on Feb. 23, 1 p.m., in the library’s Japanese Garden Room.

Submissions can be made online, by mail, or in person at Reed Library. To submit online go to: Big.Read@fredonia.edu. Entries can also be mailed to: “Come Into The Wild” Big Read Contest, Reed Library, 280 Central Ave., Fredonia, NY, 14063. Contact SUNY Fredonia Library Director Randy Gadikian at Gadikian@fredonia.edu for more information.

All contest entries must be received at the library or online by Feb. 11.