Santa Clara Elementary vies for author Jan Brett visit; community votes needed

L-R Marty Clayton, Marilyn Roberts, Robert Fillmore, Cindy Davis and Janet Morwood, teachers and staff at Santa Clara elementary pose in front of their "March Madness" book bracket at Santa Clara Elementary, Santa Clara, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Nadine Mangus, St. George News

SANTA CLARA — On March 2, classrooms across America celebrated the birth of renowned author and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss. Goofy hats, special cakes and plates of green eggs and ham filled the halls and rooms of the nation’s schools on what is now known as Read Across America Day.

At Santa Clara Elementary, the students, teachers and staff paid tribute not only to the famed rhyme master who would have been 112 years old but to reading in general and its foundation in education.

Santa Clara Elementary fifth grade teacher Carolanne Simkins said that in preparation for the celebration, the school librarian, Marilyn Roberts, came across a contest for the school to win a visit from notable children’s author and illustrator Jan Brett.

A flyer announcing a contest to win a visit from children's author and illustrator Jan Brett, location and date not specified | Flyer courtesy of Carolanne Simkins, St. George News
A flyer announcing a contest to win a visit from children’s author and illustrator Jan Brett, location and date not specified | Flyer courtesy of Carolanne Simkins, St. George News

The school or library that has the most parents, teachers, staff, friends and supporters who enter a vote will win a visit from the prolific author in the 2016-17 school year.

According to Brett’s website, she decided as a child that she wanted to become an illustrator and spent many hours reading and drawing. Today, she draws inspiration from museum’s as well as her travels where she studies the architecture and costuming that often appear in her stories.

Currently, Brett has over 40 million books in print. Some of her works include “Trouble with Trolls,” “Armadillo Rodeo,” “The Hat,” “The Mitten,” “Christmas Trolls” and many more.

To get the children excited about the competition, Roberts, along with her committee, took a cue from NCAA Basketball and created a “March Madness Battle of the Books” bracket using books written and illustrated by Brett.

Students in each classroom read Jan Brett books and then voted for their favorites. The winning books of each round moved on in the bracket until a final winner was chosen, Simkins said.

The eventual winner of the book battle was Brett’s book “Turnip,” which was first published Nov. 3, 2015 and features a badger family and their animal friends as they try to pull up a giant turnip.

Simkins said Santa Clara Elementary is a relatively small school that rarely gets recognized even though they do a really good job, so winning the contest would be a great way to recognize the school.

Our scores are always tops,” Simkins said. “Our kids are awesome. We have hardly any problems with anything as far as discipline.”

For Roberts and her committee, winning the contest would be huge for the students to be able to have that experience and hopefully increase or ignite in them a love for reading and art.

With schools seeing a huge push in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, often called the STEM fields, it is important, Simkins said, to create a foundation in reading.

“Reading is the basics,” Simkins said. “I don’t care what you throw out as far as curriculum … you’ve got to have a good foundation in reading.”

imageCurrently Santa Clara Elementary sits in 24th place in the nationwide contest. They are separated from first place by a margin of about 2,000 votes. Roberts and Simkins said they are hoping the community will rally around their school and vote.

To vote for Santa Clara Elementary to receive a visit from author Jan Brett, click here. Voters are required to provide their name and a valid email address as well as the school name and full address. Only one vote per email address is allowed. Voting ends April 4.

Santa Clara Elementary is located at 2950 W. Crestview Drive, Santa Clara, Utah, 84765.


  • Santa Clara Elementary | Address: 2950 W. Crestview Drive, Santa Clara, Utah, 84765 | Vote here
  • Jan Brett | Website

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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