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Exceptional essays in Common Book program

l-r: Suzanne McGinn, secretary to the associate vice-president, academic;
Dr. Sharon Rich, associate vice-president, academic; Dr. Lindsey McMaster,
English service course instructor; Kylie-Anne Grube; and Bonnie Gray.

Nipissing’s Common Book Common Ground program is proud to share the winners of this year’s Annual Student Essay Contest for the 2014-15 Common Book selection, The Book Thief.

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: Stream 1 Kylie-Anne Grube-1.pdfStream 1 Kylie-Anne Grube-1.pdf.

In the prize-winning essay, Grube analyzes the personality differences between rescuers and bystanders during the Holocaust and explains how the Hans Hubermann character fits the archetype of a rescuer, delving into the major distinctions between rescuers and bystanders through their natural instincts to help and their personal views on what constitutes happiness.

In addition, this year’s contest was open to visual submissions. Earning the prize for the upper-year category was Fine Arts student Bonnie Gray for her acrylic painting titled The Book Thief’s First Book: Painting, The Book Thief's First Book, by Bonnie Gray.jpgPainting, The Book Thief's First Book, by Bonnie Gray.jpg.

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

Alaina Dostanko earned an honourable mention for her essay, Examining the Importance of Hitler Youth, in which she explains how and why children were vulnerable targets of Nazi ideology, arguing that children have the right to grow and mature as individuals without politics influencing them. Read it, here: Stream 1 Alaina Dostanko

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.

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 pieces remind us of the power of reading to awaken our intellect, our imagination, and our compassion for others.

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