SANTA CLARITA — The Friends of the Libraries of the Santa Clarita Valley have announced the winners of The Big Read essay contest. The contest was a kickoff for The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Some 249 local students submitted entries that addressed the question: “If you could save one book from extinction, which book would you select and why?” Winners in the seventh- through ninth-grade division are Alyssa Olinger, Placerita Junior High, “A Thousand & One Gems of English & American Poetry,” first place; Melissa Chang, Placerita, “Slaughterhouse-Five,” second place; and Megan Guthrie-Wedemeyer, Rancho Pico Junior High, “Little Women,” third place. Winners in the 10th- through 12th-grade division are Caitlin Coen, Canyon High School, Dr. Seuss’ “The Sneetches,” first place; Kristen Caprino, Saugus High, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” second place; and Jennifer Swann, Academy of the Canyons, “The Giver,” third place. Winners in the local college division are Mora Sandeen, “Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, unabridged,” first place, and Mary Flubert, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” second place. Sandeen and Flubert attend College of the Canyons. Honorable mentions are Roann Bautista, Golden Valley High, “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Josh David, La Mesa Junior High, “The Aesop for Children”; Holly Nelson, West Ranch High, “The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time”; and Haley Odorizzi, Santa Clarita Christian School, the Bible. Winners were awarded $250 for first place; $100 for second place; $50 for third place; and $25 for honorable mention. Many of The Big Read events are still happening at local libraries. For a list of upcoming local events, visit www.thebigread-scv.org. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!