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Exceptional essays earn prizes in Common Book program

The Book Thief’s First Book, acrylic painting by Bonnie Gray, 
a student in the Fine Arts Visual Arts program

Nipissing’s Common Book Common Ground program is proud to announce the winners in this year’s Annual Student Essay Contest. The top prize in the first-year category has been awarded to Kylie-Anne Grube, for her essay: Rescuers, Bystanders, and The Book Thief: An Analysis of Personal Motivations During the Holocaust.

This year, the contest was open to visual submissions as well, and Fine Arts student Bonnie Gray, earned the prize in the upper-year category for her acrylic painting The Book Thief’s First Book.

Grube and Gray will each take home $500 as their prize, made possible by the Common Book Program along with generous support from Assante Wealth Management.

Alaina Dostanko earned an honourable mention for the essay Examining the Importance of Hitler Youth.

This year’s Common Book, selected in a university-wide vote, was Markus Zusak’s popular novel, The Book Thief, set in Nazi Germany during World War II.

The Annual Student Essay Contest is open to all students. The winning essay represents an outstanding achievement in writing ability, close reading and originality of thought.

Visual submissions, accompanied by an artist’s statement, were judged for close attention to the novel and for the insight and originality of the artist’s interpretation.

Grube, Gray, and Dostanko all used The Book Thief as the inspiration for their outstanding academic and creative work: Grube, by shedding light on the often forgotten rescuers who harboured Jewish refugees during the Holocaust; Gray, by painting the pain and loss of The Book Thief’s child hero by her brother’s grave; and Dostanko, by opening a window into the Hitler Youth and its cruel manipulation of Germany’s children. All three students remind us of the power of reading to awaken our intellect, our imagination, and our compassion for others.

Caption for Image: The Book Thief’s First Book, acrylic painting by Bonnie Gray, a student in the Fine Arts Visual Arts program

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