Christmas magic inspires budding authors

Nigel Armstrong
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More than 180 submissions entered in Guardian writing program

CORNWALL - Jillian Sanford heard that some people don’t believe in Santa Claus so she set about doing what she loves and wrote a poem to set matters straight.

The Grade 4 student lives in Darlington and attends Eliot River School here. Her class entered a writing program called Christmas Magic offered by The Guardian, in partnership with the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation.

“Writing has definitely got to be my favourite subject in school,” said Sanford. “I like to be creative and get ideas out and express them on paper and tell people stories.”

She submitted three entries, including a poem Do You Believe in Santa Claus?

“I know that you hear sometimes that kids don’t believe in Santa Claus, or his reindeer or his elves or stuff like that, so it just kind of inspired me to write something, questioning whether you believe and then saying that, well, ‘I do’,” said Sanford.

“For the second year in a row, The Guardian has invited budding authors between the ages of five and 18 to submit poems and stories with us,” says Don Brander, publisher of The Guardian. “A selection of the over 180 submissions will be printed in our ever popular Christmas Edition, on newsstands on Saturday, Dec. 21.”

For those that don’t make it into the printed edition, all submissions will be available to view online through The Guardian contest site,

Brander says the initiative ties in nicely with other community efforts The Guardian has around literacy.

“Christmas Magic not only offers students an opportunity to have their writings published online and in print, but it provides them new audiences to read their poems and stories. They are not just writing for their teachers or parents, but for relatives and neighbours to enjoy.”

“I have a group of kids this year that really like to write,” said Sanford’s teacher, Amy MacMillan-Dallaire.

“You definitely see that the electronics are taking up their free time at home but I find the kids in my class still seem to be interested in writing.”

Children, when they do read, are often reading non-fiction and fact-based material, she said.

“They think they don’t have a creative side to them because they are more interested in non-fiction materials so they tend to get stuck when it comes to being creative but it’s not that they can’t do it.”

Having a subject like the magic of Christmas in this year’s Guardian student writing program helps, said MacMillan-Dallaire.

“They would all have experiences to share around Christmas, some of their own family traditions that they might talk about or things that are important to them around the Christmas season,” she said.

“I didn’t find that I had any students that struggled with this topic because it is something they can all share from their own experience,” said MacMillan-Dallaire.

Organizations: The Guardian, Eliot River School, P.E.I. Teachers

Geographic location: Darlington

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