Contest seeks creative ideas

'My String Is A ...?' is based on a picture book illustrated by former Austintown native John Ferguson.
CLEVELAND -- In Julie Goulis and John Ferguson's picture book, "The Things A String Can Be," a little boy named Sam and his friends go on extraordinary adventures using their imaginations and an ordinary piece of string.
Now, the book's publisher -- Bubblegum Books -- along with the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness in Washington, D.C., are giving "Sams" nationwide a chance to show off their creativity -- and maybe win some prizes in the process.
The contest
In the "My String Is A ... ?" reading and writing contest, elementary school children, their teachers and families are invited to develop and submit their most imaginative and creative ideas of what can be done with a piece of string. It can be an activity, a project, an adventure, anything. The only limits: your imagination and the deadline of March 16.
Ten of the most interesting ideas will be selected and announced by SCREEN-TIME during the 14th annual TV-Turnoff Week, which this year is designated for April 23-29.
Winning submissions will be awarded prizes, which include T-shirts, pencils, stickers, books and Frisbees. The grand prize will be an appearance at the winner's school by Goulis, "Strings" author, and/or Ferguson, a former Austintown resident, who is the book's illustrator.
Educators who find the most interesting way to integrate the contest into their lessons will be eligible for additional prizes, such as gift certificates to stores and restaurants in their area, in a bonus program. Teacher-executed plans also must be received by March 16 to be considered.
To submit an entry:
Read "The Things A String Can Be" and develop your idea(s), drawing or describing them on separate sheets of paper.
Obtain contest entry form(s) online at In clear legible print, complete form and staple to entry. Individual entries require separate forms; class sets should be mailed in one flat envelope.
Submit entries to: Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness, "My String Is A ...?" Contest, 1200 29th Street NW LL#1, Washington, D.C., 20007.
All entries become the property of the Center and Bubblegum Books, so make copies of submissions, as they will not be returned.
Principal players
Formerly the TV-Turnoff Network, the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness is a nonprofit organization that encourages children and adults to control the use of electronic tools to reclaim time for families, friends and themselves. For more about the organization or additional contest details, visit the Center's Web site above.
Bubblegum Books is an independent publisher dedicated to books that stretch a child's imagination. For more about "Strings" and how to get a copy, or to learn about other books offered by the company, visit
Julie Goulis lives in the Tremont area of Cleveland and is a senior copy writer at a Cleveland advertising agency. John Ferguson resides in North Royalton and is senior art director in the Cleveland office of a national ad agency. Beside "Stings," the pair has collaborated on two other books: "Something Shiny, Something Round" and "The Topsy-Turvy Towel," the only picture book for early readers to be named by independent North American bookstores as a Book Sense Top 10 Children's Pick for Winter 2006/2007.

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