Above, in Noah’s Ark are, from left (back row): Brittany and Justin Heins with Schuler, 3 1/2 months; (front row): Beckett  and Decklyn. (Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond)
Above, in Noah’s Ark are, from left (back row): Brittany and Justin Heins with Schuler, 3 1/2 months; (front row): Beckett and Decklyn. (Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond)

Decklyn Heins, of West Union, was pretty excited about the chance to see and hear one his favorite authors, Jan Brett, when she visited Decorah in November and spoke to a capacity crowd at Decorah High School.

But he never expected to win a prize for showing up.

During her presentation, Brett told the crowd to "make sure to get a picture by the tour bus and enter it into the contest and get our Facebook friends to vote," Heins' mother, Brittany, recalls.

Heins, 7, the son of Brittany and Justin, had his picture taken in front of the author's tour bus (alongside his mother and grandmother) during her Decorah visit.

"We choose to act like chickens to go along with [Jan Brett's] new book, 'Cinders,' which was featured on the tour bus," Brittany says.

"All of our friends and family shared the voting site on their Facebook and we received 627 votes," she adds. The second place winner was from Bloomingdale, N.J., and had 551 votes.

The family found out Decklyn won the event in early December, when Brett posted the winner on her Facebook page. They received an email from Brett stating Decklyn had won and that he could pick any 10 Jan Brett books from a list she sent them. He received a 'Cinders' poster just for entering the contest as well.

"Hedgie is Decklyn's favorite character and he currently says 'Hedgie Blasts Off' is his favorite Jan Brett book," Brittany says.

Hedgie visited Decklyn's elementary school later that month. He shared the book, 'Hedgie's Surprise,' with the students and awarded Decklyn with a certificate. He also gave Decklyn's teacher a 'Cinders' book and bag.

"Decklyn says he likes [Brett's]books because of her drawings," Brittany says. "He likes to draw and write his own books, which he got to tell her. He likes to go online and watch her videos on how to draw some of her characters. He hopes to write a story to send to Jan Brett sometime soon, too."

Brittany says her family thought the exhibit at Vesterheim was lots of fun.

"The kids really enjoyed hanging out in the gingerbread house, and they liked pretending at the Three Bears section too."



"The World Of Jan Brett" is on display at Vesterheim Museum until Jan. 5. Original artwork, interactive adventure areas and themed reading environments invite visitors to travel the globe and become a part of their favorite books. The display at Vesterheim was made possible through funds raised by the 2012 Deck The Tables committee and event.