Young authors read published books

John Luke and Anna Kate Allcorn pose in front of artist Jack Tupper’s cartoon murals in the Hanceville Library Reading Garden. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Young authors, siblings John Luke and Anna Kate Allcorn, participated in their first public appearance Wednesday morning at the Hanceville Public Library. The pair, ages 7 and 11, each read one of their published short stories for the kids present at the library’s weekly storytime.

John Luke and Anna Kate have both placed in the Alabama Public Television (APT) Young Writers Contest each year they have been eligible to participate while in grades K-3. Anna Kate is going into fifth grade and cannot compete in the competition anymore, but her mother Tanya Allcorn said she encourages her to keep writing and plans to get any new books Anna writes published as well so that they will have a collection to keep.

John Luke recently submitted a story for the second-grade level of the competition, which requires a minimum of 100 words and five illustrations. He placed second with his story “The Power of Teamwork.”

Tanya Allcorn said, “Anna Kate, before she turned 5 in Kindergarten, she just begged to be a part of this program, and so we submitted a story and she actually won third place out of her grade.”

John Luke then followed her lead and also placed third his first year participating in the competition.

The stories they brought to read to the other kids were John Luke’s “Harry’s Adventures” and Anna Kate’s “Cherokee Girl,” which took them each about three months to complete.

Since APT owns the rights to the books the pair have published so far, the family cannot sell them. But Anna Kate has already gotten started on a new concept for a short story she is writing in her free time called “The Wind Horse.”

Tanya Allcorn, who is the president of the Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County, said she has always tried to encourage their love of writing.

“I hope that they continue to write. I want them to explore that and wherever that leads them later. They love books,” she said. “They’ve been with books since birth. My mom used to teach, and she would always read to them.”

Dad Jason Allcorn added, “They love reading, and writing is just kind of the next step. They grew up immersed in that. They’re also good kids, very driven. I’m very proud of them.”

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