Jessamine County author holding art contest for kids

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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Jodie Campbell, a Jessamine County Health Department registered nurse and author of the upcoming children’s book, “There Was a Zookeeper,” is holding an art competition for elementary-age children.

Her illustrator Alexey Chystikov, from Kyiv, Ukraine, has illustrated numerous children’s books and will be acting as judge of the competition.

“Followers of my journey love when I share the illustration process of my children’s book pages on social media. It starts with my initial sketch that I give to the illustrator, Alexey. He then does his pen and ink interpretation and sends it back to me. Once I approve, he begins his final color work. I thought it would be fun for children to take my initial sketch of one of the pages and draw their interpretation of what they see,” Campbell said.

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Campbell is now asking children from all over the continental U.S. to create their artistic rendition of a sketch. The sketch depicts an elephant lifting a bear who is hiding the eyes of a character named “Sarah Lou Kangaroo, as a raccoon is sitting on her arm, holding her glasses! They are leading her to a surprise!” Campbell said.

Children in kindergarten through grade five may enter the competition, with only one submission allowed per child. Students kindergarten through grade two are asked to draw one of the animals depicted in Campbell’s sketch- an elephant, a bear, a kangaroo, or a raccoon. Grades three through five must draw a picture fitting the scenario in Campbell’s sketch, including all four animals. One winner will be chosen from each of the two age groups mentioned above.

These drawings can be created in any way the artist wishes- with markers, paint, coloring pencils, crayons, or any other medium.

“The brighter the colors, the better it will photograph,” Campbell said.

To submit an art piece, post a photo of the child’s artwork under the official “There Was a Zookeeper” Contest post on the Jodie Campbell Author Facebook page at Include the child’s first name and grade level and make sure the photo is a closeup and high resolution. Do not include the child’s face in the photo.

To save time for multiple entries, teachers can send photos to Campbell at and she will upload entries to the Facebook author page for them. Each entry should have the child’s first name and grade listed.

Chystikov will choose the two winners based on relevance, creativity, and cuteness. The two winners will be featured on Campbell’s social media alongside Chystikov’s final sketch and will receive a gift basket full of art supplies, books, and other goodies.

Submissions are due to be posted on the Facebook contest post by Friday, March 31, 2023. The winners will be announced on or before April 15, 2023.

For more information, head to Campbell’s website at