MINNEAPOLIS, March 16 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — General Mills (NYSE: GIS) — For anyone who’s ever wanted to be a children’s book author, here’s a fairy tale come true! After winning the second Cheerios(R) New Author Contest, Lori Degman, a 52-year-old teacher for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, will have 2.2 million copies of her book, “1 Zany Zoo,” featured in boxes of Cheerios(R) cereal starting this month — and a hardcover version published this summer by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers! The New Author Contest, for aspiring authors, is part of Cheerios’ ongoing Spoonfuls of Stories(R) program to nurture children’s love of reading.
Degman’s book earned the Vernon Hills, Ill., special education teacher, a $5,000 cash prize and a publishing contract from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Now edited by Simon & Schuster and illustrated by Colin Jack, the book tells the story of a boy who sneaks into a zoo ahead of zoo hours, and the animal antics he sees inside. Cheerios had the book specially printed in paperback in English and Spanish; the hardcover version from Simon & Schuster will be in English.
“We couldn’t be happier with how this book turned out,” said Justin Chanda, VP Publisher of S&S Books for Young Readers. “Lori Degman’s text was so charming that we knew from the very first read that we had something special. Colin Jack’s hilarious illustrations took it to a whole new level.”
“Even though I’ve seen the book every step of the way, I still got choked up when I saw the actual book,” said Degman. “I got the call from Cheerios the day before Thanksgiving, and just over a year later — which I understand is very fast for publishing — it was real! And now, I’m going to be a published author! It’s unbelievable, and I’m very grateful to the judges, to Cheerios and to Simon & Schuster.”
“This is just as exciting for us as it is for Lori,” said Jeff Hingher, marketing manager for Cheerios cereal. “It is very rewarding to know that Cheerios played an instrumental role in launching a great new book by a brand new author. At Cheerios, we believe that books and reading, just like a nutritious breakfast, should be an integral part of every child’s day. We are thrilled that families around the country will be able to enjoy Lori’s book.”
Cheerios announces winners of 2009 New Author Contest
Cheerios recently completed its third New Author Contest and Laurie Isop, 39, of Renton, Wash., won with her story, “How Do You Hug a Porcupine?” In addition to winning a $5,000 cash prize from Cheerios, Isop also received a book deal from Simon & Schuster. Isop’s book is expected to be released in 2011, initially in paperback distributed inside Cheerios boxes, and later in hardcover sold in the market. Cheerios also named two runners-up in the contest: Jessica Young, 39, of Nashville, Tenn., for her story “Juliet the Jellyfish,” and Billie Fowler, 55, of Williamsburg, Va., for her story, “Samuel T. Slingshot.” Both Young and Fowler will receive a cash prize of $1,000 from Cheerios; their stories are online at www.spoonfulsofstories.com.
The fourth Cheerios New Author Contest is open for entries from March 15 through July 15, 2010. New this year: entries will be accepted in English or Spanish. Contest rules and entry information are online at www.spoonfulsofstoriescontest.com.
Over the past eight years, Cheerios has helped get books into kids’ hands and encouraged parents and children to read together by giving away more than 40 million children’s books free inside cereal boxes. Cheerios has also donated $3.2 million to the nonprofit First Book(R) to get books to children from low-income families.
Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Berry Burst Cheerios, Yogurt Burst Cheerios, Fruity Cheerios, Banana Nut Cheerios and Spoonfuls of Stories are trademarks of General Mills.
Cheerios, America’s No. 1 cereal, debuted in 1941 as Cheerioats. The nation’s first ready-to-eat oat cereal has since become one of the most trusted and recognized brands in America. In fact, one of every eight boxes of cereal sold in America is a box of Cheerios. General Mills’ popular cereal franchise includes Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, Berry Burst Cheerios, Fruity Cheerios, Banana Nut Cheerios and Yogurt Burst Cheerios. Cheerios also has a publishing division that includes the popular Cheerios Play Books and other activity books. For more information, go to www.cheerios.com.
ABOUT SIMON & SCHUSTER
Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com.
ABOUT FIRST BOOK
First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy — access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada. For more information about the nonprofit First Book please visit www.firstbook.org or call 866-393-1222.