Cheerios names Nashville woman national winner of Children’s Book Contest

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MINNEAPOLIS Cheerios on Thursday announced the national winner of its Children’s Book Contest, awarding a woman from Nashville $5,000 and the opportunity to see her story in print.

Shellie Braeuner, who works as a nanny for a family with four children, came up for the idea of her book, “The Great Dog Wash,” while washing the family dog. The story was named the grand prize winner in the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Children’s Book Contest, a national contest that supports unpublished, new children’s book authors. Along with her cash prize, Cheerios has given Braeuner the opportunity to have her book reviewed by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Simon & Schuster plans to publish her winning story, and has paired her with Robert Neubecker as the illustrator, and with an editor to see her through the editorial process. Braeuner’s book will be launched in paperback form inside Cheerios boxes in spring 2009, and will be available in hardcover through booksellers in summer 2009.

Braeuner, 42, holds a Masters in Education and has worked as a child/adolescent counselor in the past, has always loved the art of storytelling and often uses stories as a way to communicate with children.

“For years people have been telling me to write down the stories I tell children,” said Braeuner. “Obviously, I’m thrilled I wrote “The Great Dog Wash” and entered it in the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Children’s Book Contest. ... I can’t wait to see my story come to life in print!”

Cheerios also named two first prize winners, who will receive $1,000 each from Cheerios: Kate Heilman, 35, of Chicago, for her story, “Theo the T-Rex: The Most Terrible Dinosaur in the Neighborhood,” and Alison Anderson, 33, of Cumberland, Wisc., for “Sleepy Song.” Both “Theo the T-Rex” and “Sleepy Song” are featured online at Cheerios received close to 1,000 stories in the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Children’s Book Contest, which ran from early June through September 7, 2007.

“We developed the book contest to inspire and support new children’s book authors,” said Ricardo Fernandez, marketing manager for Cheerios. “For the last six years, through our Spoonfuls of Stories program, Cheerios has given away more than 30 million children’s books free inside cereal boxes, and donated more than $2.5 million to the nonprofit First Book to get books to children from low-income families.”

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