We received 528 entries from students from around the world for the first week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest. Thank you to everyone who participated, and congratulations to our winner, Sanai, as well as the 11 runners-up and 15 honorable mentions we honor below.
Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from TikTok beauty tips to gender fluidity to the postpandemic economy — that caught the eyes of our participants this week. You can find the work of all our winners since 2017 in this column.
Thank you to everyone who participated and please remember to always check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to submit your own response, any week from now until Aug. 19.
(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.)
Sanai chose an article from the Style section headlined “Lilith, Lilibet … Lucifer? How Baby Names Went to ‘L’” and wrote:
My first name, Sanai, is my sword. The sound of my name rolls off others’ tongues like cotton candy ice cream being scooped up on a hot summer’s day. This five-letter word is a geyser in my life, sending the steam of beauty and crystal waters of intelligence up every path I follow. Yes, I will never find my name on a Toys “R” Us mug, and teachers might pronounce my name wrong at first. But I make my saucers and correct teachers every time — because if you don’t advocate for yourself, who will? My African American and Caribbean ancestors weren’t always able to speak up for themselves. Therefore, I will. So when I heard Prince Harry and Meghan Markle named their daughter “Lilibet” instead of the more common “Lily,” a gigantic smile went across my face.
As the founder of Nameberry, Pamela Redmond, notes, this trend in “unconventional” baby names isn’t surprising. Authenticity is in, especially in our tech-obsessed world where everyone’s lives bleed into each other. There is so much beauty in difference, and 2021 continues to spotlight this. From Juneteenth becoming a national holiday to Pride Month parades, the world is finally celebrating the rainbow of humans in our world in all their glory. I’m proud that my teenage peers and I will birth many more Lilibets, Amethysts and Dangers. From their names to their hearts, our generation of children will see that they should always carve a space to be unapologetically themselves.
In alphabetical order by the writer’s first name.
Arnuv on “Tech Forgets About the Needs of the 99%”
Chaewon Joung on “Sleeping Too Little in Middle Age May Increase Dementia Risk, Study Finds”
Jiaye Wang on “How Thousands of Indigenous Children Vanished in Canada”
Kira on “Menstrual Cups in Museums? It’s Time.”
Moonjeong Seo on “The Amazon that Customers Don’t See”