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First-grader cited for his sharp writing skills

MANCHESTER — A local first-grader who wrote a story about a pencil overcoming its fear of being sharpened placed second in a nationwide writing contest sponsored by the Public Broadcasting Service, according to New Hampshire Public Television.

Stephen Denio’s “Percy Learns A Lesson” had won first place at the state level and was selected among stories submitted by more than 60 local PBS stations. His older brother, Caleb, also won first place at the state level with his story, “The I Instrument.”

In Stephen Denio’s story, Percy, a “new blue pencil with a yellow eraser” lives in a box in a cabinet and has an “awesome” life except for one problem: “Percy was terrified of being sharpened and because he wasn’t sharpened, he could not write.”

With the help of friends Christiana Crayon, Max Marker and Peter Pen, Percy is able to conquer his fear. The story is available online at

The brothers are home-schooled, the release said. Their mother, and teacher, Cindy Denio, said the writing contest was a “huge part” of the boys’ writing curriculum.

“The stories have been their writing unit, and this contest is always such a positive experience,” she said in a statement.


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