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Dover Post
  • Dover teen wins $2,500 in national reading contest

  • Not many teens can say that they started writing two novels before their 14th birthday.
    But Dover resident Nicole Pinera is among them.
    On Tuesday, she crossed another accomplishment off of her list when she was named the winner of the Healers Trilogy Teen Reading Contest’s middle school division during a surprise announcement at the Dover Public Library.
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  • Not many teens can say that they started writing two novels before their 14th birthday.
    But Dover resident Nicole Pinera is among them.
    On Tuesday, she crossed another accomplishment off of her list when she was named the winner of the Healers Trilogy Teen Reading Contest’s middle school division during a surprise announcement at the Dover Public Library.
    “It’s just really exciting and is a new experience for me,” Pinera said after receiving a $5,000 prize that she’ll split with the library. “It’s definitely encouraged me to keep on doing what I’m doing, because obviously I’m a little good at it anyways.”
    The national teen reading contest was created by Donna Labermeier, the author of “The Healers” trilogy, as a way to encourage teenagers to read. Entrants were tasked with creating a piece of art to compliment or build upon the series, which includes “The Healers” and “Waters of Life.” The third book has yet to be published.
    Pinera first discovered the series and the contest during a visit to the Dover Public Library’s teen loft for a meeting about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
    That’s when library assistant Kerri Hollyday gave her a copy of the first book in the series and an entry form for the contest.
    After reading the book, which follows three girls who have the ability to fight dark forces in the world, Pinera decided to write an additional chapter that was intended to serve as a sequel to “The Healers.”
    For her entry, she added a character of her own named Ally, who has the ability to see the darkness or light in a person. Pinera said she hopes others might be able to find a message in what she wrote.
    “Even if we don’t have fantasy powers out of a book, that doesn’t mean we can’t help others change the world,” she said.
    Pinera’s mother, Judy Bailey, said the 13-year-old is incredibly creative and imaginative. She recently took the SAT and scored so high in both reading and math that she qualified for the John’s Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
    “Even if she pursues medicine I think writing will always be a part of her life,” Bailey said.
    Pinera has already begun work on two novels and has been published in the Dover Public Library’s teen literary magazine “The Loft Lit.”
    “Writing is a way for me to express my own feelings and my own thoughts and just be creative whenever I want to be,” she said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pinera said she enjoys reading books that draw her into a new world, particularly fantasy stories. It’s no surprise then that fantasy is also her favorite subject when it comes to writing.
    “Fantasy gives me the most freedom to write about what I want to write about because the characters can do anything I want them do to,” she said.
    Pinera said she plans to put her share of the prize money into a savings account for college. She currently plans to study veterinary medicine and creative writing at the University of Delaware.
    The Dover Public Library, meanwhile, will put its half of the prize towards books and other items for the teen loft, according to Hollyday.
    “We are going to get some items that will help kids create,” she said. “We have one drawing tablet, maybe we’ll get a second drawing tablet or different items that will get kids excited about creating, so it’s not just about coming to the library and being quiet and reading.”

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