The In Just Spring Contest!!!

The In Just Spring Contest!

Hurray!  It’s here!!  The In Just Spring Contest!!!  And so timely, because I’m really ready for spring and it doesn’t seem to be obliging just yet 🙂

The Contest:  Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 350 words.

The story must be about something that really says “SPRING” to you – something that really makes you feel that spring is here!  It can be nature oriented – the robins or geese returning, eggs hatching, flowers blooming, baby animals being born, bears waking up, sunshine or rain, etc.  It can be holiday oriented – St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, April Fools’ Day etc.  It can be school oriented – the spring pageant, spring vacation, the spring talent show.  It can be activity oriented – picnics, bike riding, baseball – anything at all that makes you think spring.

The only other requirement is that the last line must be “[Character Name] knew Spring was really here!” or “[Character Name] knew Spring was here at last!”  (You can also write in first person if you want – e.g. I knew Spring was really here…. and present tense is fine too.)  I’ve given the rhymers amongst you a choice… but if you can’t make either option work with your rhyme scheme you have permission to tweak it slightly as long as the essential meaning stays the same.

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Friday March 15 at 12:01 AM EDT and Monday March 18 at 11:59 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on this post which will remain up through Tuesday March 19 (no new post on Monday March 18).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments here.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to five finalists (or possibly a couple more if we get a lot of entries :)) which will be posted here on Wednesday March 20 (no WYRI that day) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at midnight March 23 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 25.

The Prizes!:
The First Place Winner will get the chance to put one of his/her picture book manuscripts in the hands of editor Laura Galvin of KidsBooks for a read and comments! (and who knows? she might love it! :))

If we get more than 20 entries, prizes will be give through 3rd place.  2nd Place will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate, and 3rd place will receive his/her choice of the craft books listed below.

Should the winner happen not to be a picture book writer or for some reason not want to show his/her work to an actual real live editor at an actual real live publishing house, he/she will receive a $25 gift certificate to Amazon and a choice of Writing Picture Books: A Hands On Guide From Story Creation To Publication by Ann Whitford Paul, Writing With Pictures: How To Write And Illustrate Children’s Books by Uri Shulevitz, How To Write A Children’s Book And Get It Published by Barbara Seuling, The Writer’s Guide To Crafting Stories For Children by Nancy Lamb, or 2013 Children’s Writers And Illustrators Market by Chuck Sambuchino, and the editor prize will go to the highest placed finisher who wants it.

Here is my sample, squeezing in just under the wire at 348 words:

That’s Better

     As soon as the hockey rink opened in November, Charlie shot out the door with Dad to go skating.

     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.

     Charlie skidded to a stop.

     Mom pulled a hat down over his ears.  She wound a scarf around his neck.  She slid mittens on his hands.  “That’s better.”

     Charlie didn’t think so.  “I itch,” he complained.

     Mom shrugged.  “No warm clothes, no skating.”

     That was a no-brainer.  Hat, scarf, and mittens stayed on, and Dad and Charlie went to the rink.

     When the first snow fell in December, Charlie raced outside to build a snowman.

     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.

     Mom pulled the hat over his ears, wound the scarf around his neck, and slid the mittens on his hands.  Then she zipped him into his winter jacket and stuffed his feet in clunky boots.  “That’s better.”

     Charlie didn’t think so.  “I’m hot,” he complained.

     “You won’t be when you get outside,” said Mom.  “Now scoot.”

     Charlie scooted.

     In January, when the deep cold gave the snow a perfect icy crust, Charlie sped out to sled.
     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.
     Out came the hat, the scarf, the mittens, and the boots, but this time Mom bundled him into his snowsuit.  “That’s better.”
     “Mo-om,” said Charlie.  “I can’t even walk!”
     “You can stay in and help me fold laundry,” Mom offered.
     “Hmmm,” said Charlie, “maybe I can walk,” and out the door he shuffled.
     All through February and March, for tobogganing, fort-building, and snowball-fighting, Charlie could not get out the door without every inch covered in warm clothes.
     “I’m tired of winter,” he said.
     Then the days got longer.  The sun got warmer.  The snow melted, and one day there were robins on the lawn.
     Charlie opened the door and the air was soft and warm.
     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.
     “Please, Mom,” begged Charlie.  “I don’t want all those clothes.”
     Mom smiled.  She put his baseball cap on his head and handed him his ball and glove.
     “That’s better!” said Charlie.  He hugged her and laughed.  “Now I know spring is really here!”

Now.  I KNOW you can all do better than THAT – talk about circling the drain! – so take heart and get those stories posted!  I can’t wait to read them! 🙂  Don’t forget to add your post-specific link to the list below so that we can all come read your stories and feel like spring is coming!  The list will stay up through midnight Tuesday March 19.

Good luck! 🙂
And please remember to check the comment section!  There are already entries there from Linda, Jill, Pat, Marie-Therese, Nancy C, Jenny, Doris, Nancy M, Kimberly, and Lizzie.  (You may have to scroll down aways…)

131 thoughts on “The In Just Spring Contest!!!

  1. Denise Maclennan Bruce says:

    this is cute, Nancy 🙂 I didn't know squirrels hibernated at different times than each other. Rilla just saw a squirrel today and was so happy. But a storm is about to hit us again lol Spring will hit PEI someday!

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    That was so kind of you, Denise! I'm sure everyone really appreciates that – I certainly do! I've been through these stories over and over along with my assistant judge and we are having such a hard time that I've called in another assistant judge! There is so much to like about so many of these! Choosing finalists is proving to be super super tough!

  3. Robin Petty says:

    Looks like I just missed out on this one. ;( However, I will post mine for your enjoyment. It will be published to Amazon and Barnes &Noble soon as I get the illustrations completed. You can see my other books at


    Heavy coats, muddy boots
    Winter all about
    Howling winds
    Rain and snow
    Umbrellas inside out!

    Izzy stepped off the bus
    Walked up the lane
    How she wished
    Winter would go
    And Spring come again!

    Then she saw in the snow
    Just up ahead
    A bit of color
    Yes! Some purple!
    Poking up it's head.

    Hocus pocus, there's a crocus
    Searching for the sun
    Nothing better
    Will tell you
    Winter's time is done.

    Looking around for more signs
    Then did Izzy see
    One bluebird
    Then one robin
    Sitting in a tree.

    Her feet felt so much lighter
    Skipping along so fast
    Birds tweeting
    Flowers blooming
    Spring's here at last!

  4. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Hello Jenny! How wonderful…we are getting to meet so many new (for me) people with this wonderful spring contest. I love your story…so unique and I really appreciate all of the reasons mama gives little Goldie for loving spring at the goldfish pond in the garden. When my husband and I were dating, there was a goldfish pond on campus…it was our FAVORITE spot. We would meet there often between classes or when we had a free period to just sit and hold hands and talk.

  5. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Oh Robin…just love your title…Hocus Crocus…too perfect! So many great images of spring in your poem.:)

  6. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    What fun, Lizzie! Spring is a wonderful time for flies, that's for sure.:) You've given him a wonderful personality…devil may care…and I love the 'nahnahnahnahnah'…just what I think flies must be saying when they dive-bomb me at a picnic or BBQ.:)

  7. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Kimberly…this is so clever…just like Mortimer, the little detective.:) This is a really unique look at spring…love that he wondered who this 'spring girl' was.:)

  8. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Hi Nancy…nice to meet you via Susanna's spring contest. 🙂
    I'm glad that momma duck didn't get too angry. What a beautiful way to portray spring!

  9. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Doris…this is beautiful. And so authentic…three little girls who don't know each other and meet at the playground might just sit and swing and giggle and then, wave goodbye.:) And equating spring with happiness filling three hearts is beautiful imagery.:)

  10. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    I have to say that I'm glad and sad that the deadline has passed, Susanna. Glad because every time I thought I was finished reading, I would return here and there was half a dozen more entries.:) Sad because it has been a blast to read everyone's Spring Story. 🙂 I'm just happy I don't have to pick.:)

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I know, Vivian! So many wonderful stories! And it's been fun to have new ones popping up all the time. The picking is the hard part for me – not the reading! And oh my goodness this one is a real challenge!!!! Stay tuned for the finalists tomorrow… assuming I can choose 🙂

  12. Nata ArtistaDonna says:

    funny! Near the bushes he smelled something more horrible than Baby Lilly’s stinkiest diapers. loved your story!

  13. Rachel says:

    Love this story with all its busy insects and animals. It had a really earthy feel to it and I could picture lots of beautiful illustrations to accompany your wonderful story.

  14. Rachel says:

    Great story. I loved the way bear used the rainbow colours from the pool to paint the landscape. I too like the sing song at the end of the story.

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