Juliana Grantz won 1st place in the Fifth Grade category in the 2016 WSKG Youth Writers Contest. Juliana is eleven years old and lives in Ithaca, NY, but is in the midst of moving to Aurora, NY right now! She has three younger sisters, no brothers, and another sister coming in October. Juliana enjoys singing, acting, writing, drawing, and other creative pastimes. She would like to be many things when she grows up, including an author and songwriter. She has one black lab named Happy, and would like to have chickens once she moves with her family. Juliana loves traveling, and when she is not going on trips she is writing about fictional characters going on them!
What is your story about? Can you summarize it in just a sentence or two?
My story is about four girls who go on a vacation to Blue Mountain Lake and meet an old man, who at first is grumpy and sarcastic but is transformed into a nice man after going to the girls’ vacation home for dinner with them. The old man, Mr. Henry, is inspired by the girls’ kindness and decides to move to Maine, where the girls and their parents live.
Is your story’s setting a real place or inspired by a trip you’ve taken?
When I started writing my story, I had just gotten home from a trip to Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks. I had gone on a kayaking trip with my family and we saw an island that looked mysterious, and had a sign that said Private Property. We didn’t explore the island like Ellie, Marietta, and Dorothy do in the story, so I had fun imagining what could of happen if some children did.
Your story inspires kindness. What compelled you to write about the unlikely friendship?
I enjoy reading classic books, and I was compelled to write about the friendship between the children and Mr. Henry because I like it in stories when people find out that a person who at first seems like the most unlikely person you would like to be a friend with turns around and becomes I good friend. I think people shouldn’t judge others by first appearance, because maybe they are truly nice but are hiding their kindness, waiting to see if the people will be true friends, like Mr. Henry did in my story. He actually wanted to see the children again but was cautious and stubborn. He wouldn’t invite the children to his house because he had pride, but he would come to their house if they asked him to, showing again that he was lonely and was inspired by the girls. After meeting the girls, having dinner with them, and moving to Maine, Mr. Henry puts up a new sign that invites people to his house. He doesn’t want to risk being lonely again.
Are you working on any additional stories right now?
Definitely! I would like to be an author one day, and so I am writing all the time. One of my stories is called ‘The Children of Queen Annabelle Road and the Cave of Darkness’. It is about two girls who go on a vacation to their cousin Lea’s ranch and help Lea solve a mystery involving a mysterious couple and a Gem of Youth. Another book I am writing is about the Civil War. It is called the ‘Union Southerners’ and about a family who lives in Richmond, VA, who struggle during the war as they are part of the Union while many of their neighbors, family, and friends are not. I once sent a book called ‘The Diary of Maria Bat Jayus’ to a publisher, and it did not get published, but it was exciting to know that editors had read my book! I hope to write some more stories about Ellie, Marietta, Dorothy, Maggie, and Mr. Henry also.
Thank you for sharing this story with WSKG! How did you hear about the Contest?
My mom listens to WSKG News daily so she heard about this contest. Also, in 2014 my sister Jacqueline and I entered the contest. Jacqueline won first place in first grade with her story ‘The Penguins’ Great Adventure’ and I won third place for third grade with my story ‘The Lost Princess’. I was very excited to enter the contest again!
Which part did you enjoy most — writing the story or making drawings that accompanied the plot?
I liked writing the story best! I had many different drafts and so I worked a lot on my story. To me, writing isn’t work, it’s fun, what I do in my free time!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Yes! I based the four girls in my story on my sisters and I. I modeled as Ellie, and Jacqueline as Marietta, my sister Gabrielle was Dorothy, and my little sister Madeleine modeled as Maggie.