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Inga Kromann Book Award 2018

Grace Ku holding her book and winning certificate

WSU junior wins children’s book award

By C. Brandon Chapman – College of Education

In any other universe, a park bench might just be a park bench. But this is the universe of a children’s book so the sky is limit, the inanimate objects have real feelings, and, of course, there’s a moral to the story.

Containing those very elements, Washington State University elementary education major Grace Ku has won this year’s Inga Kromann Book Award for her book The Little Bench.

“I got this idea from a short 10-minute nap after a long day,” said Ku, who will begin her senior year in August. “I was thinking about a park bench and how I’ve seen many people who calmly sit on a bench any time of the day just to relax.”

But that was just the spark, because the story isn’t simply about relaxing on a park bench, but the relationship the park bench has with those who use it.

“Many times, stories have a connection with the little things in our lives,” Ku said. “Some things might not seem that important to people, like a park bench, but when it’s needed, it becomes obvious that the little things do actually matter.”

In the small park, right next to the tall tree, the little bench stands there. The little bench sees so many people every day. Who will the little bench see today? The little bench hopes… he will always be here to make people happy with their memories on the little bench.

As a requirement of all books in the competition, the student must not only tell the story, but do all the artwork. Ku did the drawings in A Little Bench in pen outline, filled in with colored pencil. She said she’s always had a passion for drawing.

“Drawing helped me cope with my life obstacles, and now it is a part of me.”

All students within the WSU College of Education’ Department of Teaching and Learning are eligible for the competition, which gives a $1,000 scholarship and a professional bound copy of the book to the winner.

Contact: Jane Kelley at or 509-335-8852

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