Bria Cecil Moses, of Crossville, recently won the 2018 Alabama Public Television Young Writers Contest in the Kindergarten division for her book “Eagle Girl.”
Children grades kindergarten through third can write and illustrate their own book of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose and enter in the contest that includes children’s work from the entire state.
Bria Moses is the 6-year-old daughter of Nick and Holly Moses and sister to Karissa, Nickalya and Inara. Bria is homeschooled with her sisters by their mother, who also teaches a creative writing class on Tuesdays for homeschooled students at Broadway Baptist Church in Rainsville. Their father, Nick, drives a school bus for Crossville Elementary and works in their chicken houses.
The family uses PBS’s APT channel often for educational purposes and heard about the writing contests through their commercials and advertisements.
Karissa, age 11, won first place the three years she participated in the event, and their mother wanted to continue the tradition with Bria after she showed an interest in writing.
“Bria has always loved [Karissa’s] books and wanted to do the same thing,” said Holly. “She looked forward to kindergarten when she could make a book too.”
When Bria was a few years younger she had begun trying to learn to whistle, but succeeded in producing a high chirping noise instead. When the sound became loud and too high pitched for indoors, her mother asked her to start going outside to “whistle.” While doing so, Bria discovered birds began answering her from the trees around their home.
“We were playing and Bria said she wanted to be a superhero that could talk to birds,” said Karissa. “She wrote the book out of the stories we made up.”
It was from those experiences that Bria constructed her story of a half eagle, half human character with superpowers and named her “Eagle Girl.”
Bria had other influences though, as well. Her family owns a chicken hatchery business and the children have grown up around birds since birth.
“My inspiration for Eagle Girl is animals, families and life cycles of animals,” said Bria, “and Karissa’s books inspired me to write my own.”
Even at 6, Bria has begun writing ‘fanfiction’ for her favorite books and shows. She takes the fictional world and characters from the book series “Warriors” by Erin Hunter that she and her older sister, Karissa, enjoy together and makes her own stories about it.
Bria’s mother typed the pages for her book “Eagle Girl” in a word document as Bria told her the story. Holly then printed them out and let Bria decorate them with yarn, markers, cupcake liners, sequins and tissue paper.
Bria then used all the crafts and supplies to draw all of her characters exactly how she wanted them portrayed on the 29 pages of the book. She said her favorite page she drew was a picture of a cardinal.
“There are also wrens, hummingbirds and yellowhammers,” said Bria.
Bria said she had to stay up “very late that night” to finish her book how she wanted it.
“She wanted to write a lot more and I had to stop her at 29 pages,” said Holly. “She’s now written three stories based on [Eagle Girl].”
On April 21, Bria and her family traveled to Montgomery for the Alabama Book Festival where the APT Young Writers Awards Ceremony was held. There, the winners received their prizes and read their books for the crowd. The children were also able to meet many Southern writers that were at the festival for signings and readings and executives from the APT channel.
Bria won the first place prize for the kindergarten division and received a $75 gift card to Books-A-Million, a trophy and an electronic tablet.
Bria was filmed by PBS reading her book, and it will be used as promotional commercials to encourage the children of Alabama to read and write. The commercials are set to start airing in June, according to Mike Mckenzie, director of public information and promotions with Alabama Public Television.
For more information on the APT Young Writers Contest, visit their website www.apt.org.