‘Now Is Our Time to Assemble’: The Week 6 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest

‘Now Is Our Time to Assemble’: The Week 6 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest

Our annual Summer Reading Contest invites teenagers around the world to tell us what New York Times pieces get their attention and why. This week, the sixth of our 10-week challenge, we received 1,006 entries. Thank you to everyone who participated, and congratulations to our winner, Nathaniel Tok, as well as to the runners-up and honorable mentions we honor below.

Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics that caught the eyes of our participants, including the war in Ukraine, dress codes in Iran, a larcenous sea otter and Texas barbecue. You can read the work of all of our winners since 2017 in this column.

Remember that you can participate any or every week this summer until Aug. 18. Just check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to submit your response.

(Note to students: If you are one of this week’s winners and would like your last name published, please have a parent or guardian complete our permission form [PDF] and send it to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com.)

Nathaniel Tok, 16, from Redmond, Wash., responded to the ongoing news from Hollywood, writing this about “Actors Join Writers on Strike, Bringing Hollywood to a Standstill”:

Growing up, the Avengers were a massive part of my life. I had watched every single Marvel movie up to “Avengers: Infinity War” and could barely contain my excitement when “Endgame” was announced. It wasn’t simply a movie; it marked the culmination of an unforgettable journey that had shaped so much of my childhood. I will always remember cheering along with my fellow moviegoers as the Avengers assembled for one last time, later leaving the theater holding back tears at Iron Man’s final sacrifice. I simply couldn’t help but feel as if I had been a member of the Avengers too, facing Thanos and his army.

When I read about the Hollywood strike, I felt like I had been hit with a punch from the Hulk himself. The news landed closer to home than any of Thanos’s schemes ever had; I had almost forgotten that the superheroes who I admired were real people too, fighting their own, very real battles. The article was a grim reminder of the struggles that these actors and writers endure daily. It has heightened my respect for them and opened my eyes to the horrors of an industry that I’ve grown up loving.

And so, now is our time to assemble. For the very visionaries who imagined the Avengers, for the unseen heroes behind the glimmering screens, it’s time to return the favor. And for the heroes yet to come and the children yet to be awed, we must advocate for a fairer Hollywood today.


In alphabetical order by the writer’s first name.

Anfisa on “Zelensky Leaves NATO Summit to Face Hard Realities of War”

Catherine on “The 20 Best Texas Barbecue Restaurants From the New Generation

Daniel L. on “An Elite School, a Boy’s Suicide and a Question of Blame

Kathleen Y. on “Men Are Baring Midriffs in Crop Tops

Nikitha M. on “She Steals Surfboards by the Seashore. She’s a Sea Otter.

Qier L. on “More Grandma Content, Please

Syeda Q. on “Iran Steps Up Policing of Women Who Defy Strict Dress Code

Xiao Bo Zeng on “Silence Is a ‘Sound’ You Hear, Study Suggests


Adam Liao on “My Unlikely Writing Teacher: Pedro Martinez