Shelby girl is finalist in national storytelling contest

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 26, 2021

 Avery Stallmann, 12, of Shelby Township, is one of the finalists in the Create Your Story contest.

Avery Stallmann, 12, of Shelby Township, is one of the finalists in the Create Your Story contest.

Photo provided by Aly Lloyd


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Recently, Kids around the country were asked to participate in a contest that required them to create a story of their own that incorporated certain popular German hand-painted animal figurines and accessories.

In July, the German toy company Schleich and 4-H, a youth development organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, teamed up for phase three of the Create Your Story contest.

In the contest, they asked children to help continue a story prompt through three chapters throughout the year. The best stories for each chapter will be turned into videos that will be part of an epic, interactive “create your own adventure” video, and each finalist will receive a $50 Schleich prize package.

The children were asked to continue the story in any format, including through writing, photos, video or song.

The characters the children were asked to use were Blair the bull and his friends, ChaCha the tiger, Larry the T-Rex, and Lily the unicorn.

Out of hundreds of entries, the top 10 finalists are now open for voting. The two winners of the voting will be part of the worldwide premiere of the “create your own adventure” video this fall.

Avery Stallmann, 12, of Shelby Township, is one of the finalists in the contest, and she hopes she will win it.

Her story tells about an adventure at the county fair.

“I have been a member of the Ray Community 4-H Club for 7 years, and I enjoyed getting to share my story in this unique competition. It was fun creating adventures for these characters who were based off the Schleich toys. I was able to include some of my own 4-H experiences from the Armada Fair into the storyline. I’m excited to be a finalist because there are so many creative entries,” Stallmann said in an email.

Stallman’s entry can be viewed at

Kelli Masilun, director of marketing, Schleich USA, said Avery’s story was one of the entries that really stood out to the contest organizers.

“We have received hundreds of entries for this contest, and we were incredibly impressed with Avery’s entry. The imagination and creativity that went into her story really caught our eye. Schleich and National 4-H hope that this storytelling contest has inspired kids of all ages to let their imaginations run wild. Stay tuned to see how all of these stories will come together in the most epic animal tale ever, premiering in October,” she said via email.

Schleich and 4-H said that this contest was created to invoke imaginative play and allow kids the freedom to explore their creativity.

People can vote for the finalists on Schleich’s Facebook page. Voting will be active until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time Aug. 4.