⭐️Deck the Halls! ⭐️ Light the menorah! ⭐️ Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja! ⭐️
It’s time for . . .
The 11th Annual Holiday Writing Contest
~ for children’s writers ~
The Contest: Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about a Holiday Contest!
Your contest can be anything you want! Baking, wrapping, decorating (tree or home), raising money or collecting gifts for those in need, ice skating, sledding, caroling, fancy dress, snowman or fort building. . . sky’s the limit! But it must be about a holiday contest!
Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s or whatever you celebrate during the Holiday Season, but is not to exceed 250 words (I know! So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest 😊 ) (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful 😊 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 250! Title not included in word count.) The field is wide open! Have fun! The more creative the better! No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)
Post: Your entry should be posted between right now this very second and Thursday December 9th at 11:59 PM EST, and must be posted below in the comment section of this post. All entries should include a title, byline (people always ask what this is – it means who the entry was written by, so, by Suzy Q. Writer or whoever 😊) and word count. You are welcome to also post your entries on your own blogs and include your blog address with your entry here if you’d like to encourage people to come visit your blog, but your entry must be posted in the comment section of this post or it will not be counted because we won’t see it. This post will remain up for your reading pleasure until I post the finalists. There will be no regular posts (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It, or Perfect Picture Book) for the duration of the contest so everyone will have plenty of time to visit and enjoy. If you have trouble commenting, you can email your entry to me and I will post it for you. Please copy and paste your entry with word count and byline into the body of the email – NO ATTACHMENTS please.
The Judging: My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to approximately 12 finalists. In the interest of finishing up the contest in a timely fashion so everyone can go about their holidays, we will do our best to post the finalists here by Tuesday December 14th for you to vote on for a winner. (But it almost always seems to end up taking us longer. . . so it might be a day or two later.) The vote will be closed on Thursday December 16th at 5 PM EST. Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to twelfth place (or wherever we place to), and the winners will be announced on Friday December 17th. (These dates are subject to adjustment if it takes the judges longer than we anticipate to get the judging completed.)
Judging criteria will be as follows:
- 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
- 2. Holiday Contest! – the rules state a Holiday Contest story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about a contest that in some way relates to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, or whatever seasonal winter holiday you choose. The story must center on the contest – the contest must not be just an offhand mention/reference in a story about something else.
- 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 😊 Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
- 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc. If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 😊 Overall writing quality and use of language are also important. Please proofread!
- 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
- 6. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! Large numbers of entries make it easy to cut entries that haven’t been entered as we asked.
The Prizes!: Oh! Such wonderful prizes! All I can say is, how lucky are we to be part of such a talented and generous community that offers such amazing prizes!
Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with written feedback AND a 30-minute Zoom Chat with children’s author Vivian Kirkfield, author of PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate, 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, 2020), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Clarion Books, 2021), and SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING (MoneyPenny Press Ltd, 2010)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with a recording of first read-through by children’s author and poet Sarah Meade, contributor to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, 2020!
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique/Zoom Chat (Non-rhyming) from children’s author Janie Reinart, author of WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN (Blue Whale Press, 2021)!
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming) PLUS Zoom Chat from developmental editor Lou Piccolo! Lou studied English Literature, creative writing and teaching at university in South Africa. After working as an EFL teacher in France for twenty years, she studied proofreading and editing before becoming a developmental editor of children’s and young adult’s literature for independent authors. She is a graduate of Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab – Punching Up Prose With Poetry course and Making Picture Book Magic, the in-house writer for Editions Entrefilet’s language-learning magazine ‘Go English Kids’ for children of 8-12 in France, and a traditionally published author of MG and YA fiction with Burlington Books.
⭐️ Connecting With School Librarians! Fabulous Opportunity for published or soon to be published authors! Winner’s Choice of either a Zoom or phone chat about how to connect with school librarians and get their ear or an Ask Me Anything Zoom or phone chat about K-8th grade author visits from a librarian’s POV from Kathy Halsey. Kathy Halsey is Storyteller Academy’s Community Manager and Ambassador. She enjoys writing picture books, humor, and nonfiction. Kathy’s active in SCBWI and blogs with other kid lit writers on the GROG. She serves on the Choose to Read Ohio Advisory Council and speaks at educational and literary conferences. Kathy’s a former K-12 school librarian and children’s bookseller. She writes monthly author studies for the Reading for Research Month along with Keila Dawson.
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, fiction only) from children’s author Shelley Kinder! Shelley is the author of NOT SO SCARY JERRY (Spork 2017), THE MASTERPIECE (Spork 2018) and GOD AND ME AND THE SEA (Kregel Children’s Books, May 17, 2022)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (written) PLUS 15 minute Zoom Chat (no nonfiction) from Cindy Williams Schrauben author of THIS COULD BE YOU (Cardinal Rule Press, April 1, 2022)!
⭐️ Zoom Visit to a classroom or to kids at home by children’s author Ellen Leventhal! Ellen is the author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork, 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork, 2018), HAYFEST: A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press, 2010), and A FLOOD OF KINDNESS (WorthyKids, 2021)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Heather Gale, author of HO’ONANI: HULA WARRIOR (Tundra Books, 2019) which was one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2019, one of the Ontario Library Association’s 2019 Top Ten Titles, Featured on the 2020 Rainbow Book List, Featured on the 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, and received a Booklist Starred Review!
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Maria Marshall! Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature fun for children. She’s a judge for the Cybils Awards and the #50PreciousWords competition. Four of her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. The Picture Book Buzz Website Facebook Twitter Instagram
⭐️ A Reversible Handmade Christmas Stocking or Other Winter or Holiday-Themed Gift Bag from Karen Gebbia PLUS a Personalized Signed Copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY by Nancy Derey Riley to fill it!
⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of either QUEEN OF PHYSICS:How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Sterling Children’s Books 2019) or TWO BICYCLES IN BEIJING (Albert Whitman 2020) (Winner’s Choice!) by Teresa Robeson
a Personalized Signed Copy of either LISTEN (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 2021) or TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE (Harry N. Abrams 2020) (Winner’s Choice!) by Gabi Snyder
⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE: Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England (Albert Whitman 2018) by Nancy Churnin PLUS a Digital Copy of THE STAR IN THE CHRISTMAS PLAY (Beaming Books 2018) by Lynne Marie
⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel July 2021) by Becky Scharnhorst PLUS a Kindle or Audiobook Copy of either FUNNY JIMMY (AuthorHouse 2011) or THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF RIDDLES (Avid Readers Publishing Group 2011) (Winner’s Choice!) by Vanessa Rose Lee
⭐️ Winner’s Choice of 2 of the following 4 picture books, kindly donated by Dee Knabb!
- LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS by Joana Pastro
- ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME by Juana Martinez-Neal (signed by the author/illustrator)
- TINY CREATURES by Nicola Davies (NF)
- PIPSQUEAKS, SLOWPOKES, AND STINKERS by Melissa Stewart (NF)
With so many great prizes up for grabs I hope there will be a lot of entries – the more the merrier! And you’ve still got a couple days to write, so you can squeeze in under the wire if you haven’t written yet. Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well. And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc. The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!
Contest Entrants, remember you MUST post your entry in the comment section below and include title, byline, and word count.
Eager Readers – just go along the list of links below, click on them (they’ll take you directly to whichever story you click on), and enjoy the stories!
So let the Holiday Contest begin!
Happy Writing and Happy Holidays! 😊 ☃️ ✡️ ⭐️ ❄️ 🎄🕯🕎
I can’t wait to read your entries!!!
- It Takes A Forest – Lucretia Schafroth
- The Kelpie Challenge – Bonnie Kelso
- The Cookies Of Holiday Hollow – Royal Baysinger
- Elf Off The Shelf – Anne Lipton
- The Trolls: A Winter Tale – Royal Baysinger
- Upon A Winter Solstice – Royal Baysinger
- So You Think You Can Prance – Amy Leskowski
- The Festive Flying Race – Nicola Beach
- Birdie’s Song – Beth Stillborn
- The Holiday Homework – Sue Lancaster
- How Tiny Won A Seat On Santa’s Sleigh – Elizabeth Westra
- The Claus’ Candy Cane Contest – Susan Schipper
- He Knows If You’ve Been Bad Or Good – Colleen Murphy
- Olive, The Other Reindeer – Lindsay Moretti
- Go Green For Christmas – Margaret Zotkiewicz
- Tree Number Nine – Lindsey Hobson
- Christmas Boots – P.J. Purtee
- Ellarose’s Sweater – Marta Cutler
- A Fourth Grader’s Poster Problem – Jennifer Vose
- A Buggie Tradition – Kay Inglis
- Kendy And The Solstice Solo Show – Sarah Meade
- Elsie And The Christmas Comedy Contest – Sarah Meade
- The Better Elf On The Shelf – Molly Ippolito
- Ernie And The Science Fair – Deborah Foster
- Mr. Tweedy’s Christmas Trees – Colleen Fogarty
- Best Wrapped Surprise – Sara Dean
- Christmas Eve Ride Along Contest – Dawn Young
- The Christmas Tree Contest – Dorothy K. Kohrherr
- Alfredo Learns The Secret Of Greatness – Joan Leotta
- The Pretty Ugly Sweater – Pamela Swanson
- Jamie’s Holiday Surprise – Diana Sussman
- Katie’s Snow Creation – Marty B.
- The Tasty Treat Christmas Contest – Katie Brandyberry
- Santa’s Secret Contest – Linda Staszak
- Phoebe’s Snowperson – Kelly Clasen
- THAT’S Not A Christmas Cookie! – Vanessa Konoval
- Candy Pies – Sharon McCarthy
- Solstice Skaters – Allison Strick
- The Best Gift Ever – Pen Avey
- The Most Christmassy House – Jen MacGregor
- Candy Caribou – Steena Hernandez
- A Christmas Pickle Story – Daniella Kaufman-Schloss
- Shining Star – Sarah Hawklyn
- Grumpy Snow Pants – Stephanie Maksymiw
- The Best Reading Contest Of Winter, 1959 – Beth Schmelzer
- Playground Games – Colleen Dougherty
- Simply The Best – Nicole Loos Miller
- Bear’s Christmas Cookie – Marta Cutler
- Happy Everything! – Laura Barens
- Dancing With The Elves – Jill Lambert
- A Creature Was Stirring – Judy Sobanski
- The Monster On Christmas Eve – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
- What Christmas Means To Me – Marty Findley
- A Miscalculation – Emily Durant
- Lily And The Winter Festival – Karen J Moore
- 2021 Monkey Merry Xmas – Shariffa Keshavjee
- The Ginger Friend House – Kelly Swemba
- Gingerbread House Extravaganza – Elaine D’Alessandro
- Parol: This Little Star Of Mine – Lynn Grace Wong
- Christmas Song – YauMei Chiang
- Reindeer Games – Tiffany Hanson
- The Cookie Contest Caper – Kelsey E. Gross
- The Clean-Out-The-Clutter Contest – Sarah Demarest Guthrie
- The Contest – Amanda Sherlock
- Asher’s Chanukiah – Dina Silverberg
- Best Hanukkah Ever! – Paul Kurtz
- Cinder-Latke – Paul Kurtz
- Bunny Claus – Donna Kurtz
- Jangle Shells – Donna Kurtz
- Spin – Cheryl Simon
- Fantastical Fairytown Christmas Snowflake Contest – Ellen Crosby
- The Winning Recipe – Judy Abelove Shemtob
- The Greatest Display Of All – Barbara Kimmel
- Sparky’s Wish – Ingrid Boydston
- The Night After Christmas – Abby N. Wooldridge
- The Claus’s Hawaiian Vacation – C. S. Boyll
- Gifts For Grandma – Cindy Sommer
- Keep Christmas Coming – Jeannette Suhr
- The Most Special Ornament – Timothy Hicks
- Santa’s Workshop Winners – Polly Owen
- Elfie Selfie Contest – Stephanie Henson
- The Great Holiday Bake Off – Jamie Donahoe
- Laughing All The Way – Sarah Hetu
- A Sack Full Of Presents – Patricia Nozell
- Fairy Tale Houses – Jim Chaize
- Christmas…By A Nose – Jesse Anna Bornemann
- Reindeer Sing…Are You Listening? – Katie Schwartz
- Christmas Carrots – Vashti Verbowski
- Being Santa Lucia – Cindy Greene
- Nun, Gimel, Hei, Shin – Who Will Win? – Stephanie Wildman
- ANDRÉS BLUE RIBBON – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
- The Chubby Bunny Champion – Alicia Meyers
- Up And Away! – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- Christmas Isn’t – Ingrid Boydston
- The Christmas Pirate – Julianna Kurtz
- Maryam’s Happy Persian Christmas – Shadi Kafi
- The Most Beautiful Snowflake Of All – Cassie Silva
- Fire And Ice – Jyn Hall
- The Santa Spectacle – Mary Cathering Amadu
- A Jarring Contest – Bru Benson
- Everything – Sandhya Acharya
- Similarity Despite Diversity – Eva Felder
- O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree – Becky Goodman
- Solstice Wars! – Phoebe Browning
- Gingerbread Surprise – JC Kelly
- Squirrels Christmas – Charlotte Boyer
- The Holiday Contest – Denise Seidman
- The Witch’s Gingerbread House – Lauri Meyers
- Elf Rivalry – Michelle S. Kennedy
- Dream Big, Little Pip! – Sally Yorke-Viney
- An Extraordinary Elf – Becky Kimbrough
- Jasmine Jingletoes And The Christmas Stocking Contest – Brenda Covert
- Let There Be (MORE!) Lights – Judy Carey Nevin
- Laughing All The Way – Samantha Gassman
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