#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge is OPEN




I am so very excited to read all of the #50PreciousWords entries. For those of you who are visiting here the first time, please let me give you a sentence or two or three about how this all came about.


March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Last year I put together a little contest based on Bennet Cerf’s challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

I thought it would be fun to try to write a story for kids with ONLY 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And then I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! Ayear has past…and it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.

Please put on your thinking caps and get busy writing. You have until March 6th at 11:59pm to post your story. Here are the guidelines:


  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count of the story is 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. Between March 2nd and March 6th, post your story on your blog if you have one and want to and put the link in the comments of this post. Or copy and paste the entire story in the comments of this post. I ask for the link so that people will visit each other and find new friends in the kid lit community. Please make sure you put your name in the post. If you have any trouble at all posting the link or the story, please email me and I will be happy to do it for you: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.
  6. Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Monday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  7. Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Thursday, March 9.
  8. Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too!

21 winners…21 prizes…1st place takes whichever prize she/he wants, then 2nd place gets to pick, and so on. I will reach out to 

  1. . A critique from my beloved agent, Essie White (some of you may remember that the winner of last year’s contest chose Essie’s critique as her prize…and she subsequently signed with Storm Literary Agency!)


  1. A seat in author and mentor Susanna Leonard Hill’s amazing Making Picture Book Magic online writing class (the first writing class I ever took and it set me on the path of writing wonderful picture book manuscripts).


3. A seat in author and nonfiction writing guru Kristen Fulton’s incredible Nonfiction Archaeology online writing class (that was the class that opened the door for me to discover the joy of writing nonfiction picture books).


4. Coupon for 50% off author Alayne Kay Christian’s ART OF THE ARC online writing class (this is the next class I would love to take).


5. Or, if you have already taken Alayne’s wonderful class, you can choose a coupon for 50% off an in-depth critique from her (when Alayne says it is an in-depth critique, she isn’t kidding. I had one of those…it is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious).

6. A seat in one of the KidLitCollege webinars (I’ve attended a few and they are FABULOUS!) OR $19.99 off a critique, donated by Jodell Sadler, JCLA Editorial Agent and Founder of KidLitCollege. Winner choses one and will get a special code.


7. A manuscript or query letter critique from author Rebecca Colby.


8. A picture book manuscript critique from author Lori Degman.


9. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.


10. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein


11. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova


12. A book on the craft of writing from Rosie Pova.

13. A copy of Bunny’s Book Club from Annie Silvestro.


14. A book on the craft of writing from author Maria Marshall.


15. A copy of Hello, My Name is Tiger from author/illustrator Jennifer P. Goldfinger.


16. A copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL plus an adorable SEAL NECKLACE from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler.


17. A copy of CLAMS ALL YEAR by author/illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler.


18. A SUPER HAPPY book prize package from author Marcie Colleen with copies of Super Happy Party Bears Gnawing Around and Super Happy Party Bears Knock Knock on Wood.


 19. A copy of Mutt’s Promise,  a middle grade dog adventure written by Julie Salomen…donated by author/illustrator Jill Weber.


20. A signed copy of Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite from author Stacy McAnulty.


21. A picture book critique from me and a signed copy of my parent-teacher book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.



WOW! That is some list of prizes! What a generous Kid Lit community we have! I’m grateful to the prize donors…I hope you all visit their websites, buy their books, and review them on Amazon. Did you know that when a book gets 50 reviews, Amazon helps promote it?

And now, before I invite you to post your stories, I wanted to share my #50PreciousWords with you. Hopefully, my story is a good enough example…with a beginning, a middle, and an end (and what an end!)…that is kid-friendly (well, remember those Grimm’s Fairy Tales)…that is 50 words or less. I hope it makes you smile.



Everyone made fun of Pig’s little feet.

An invitation arrived.

                   Please come to Coyote’s feast.

Rooster knew the invitation was for him.

Cow disagreed.

They hurried to Coyote’s den.

 Pig followed.

By the time his little feet got him there, the feast was finished.

And so were Rooster and Cow.


I always loved Aesop’s Fables and folktale type stories when I was a kid…I guess I was inspired by those.

Dear friends, please share this around your social media…the more the merrier… #50PreciousWords.

If you have any questions or need clarification, just email me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com

.Are you excited? I am!


And I just can’t wait to read all of your precious words.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on March 2, 2017, in #50PreciousWords Writing Contest, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2,126 Comments.

  1. Bright Bulbs
    (50 Precious Words)
    By Dr. Anne Lipton

    See the yellow daffodil,
    sunning on the window sill?

    If you have a pot and spoon,
    you can grow your own bright bloom.

    Plant a bulb deep in the dirt.
    From its top, green leaves will spurt.

    But a lightbulb yields no shoots.
    Pick a bulb that will take root.

    Liked by 26 people

  2. Jennifer Broedel

    Well, here it is, Vivian! Thank you so much for hosting this contest!

    As promised, an autobiographical entry:


    One day, while Nonna was visiting, she said my curls looked like a lion’s mane. I smiled and said:

    “My curls are where my courage lives,
    Where my ‘crazy’ climbs,
    Where my warm heart gives.
    My curls are where my ‘sillies’ shine.
    My curls are ME!
    And they’re all mine.”

    Liked by 21 people

  3. Stuart Carruthers – “Ghost”

    Liked by 9 people

  4. Sally Phillips

    Heather, I loved your “Rose Petal Soup” entry! It was imaginative, fun & clever. A great success. It made me smile.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Robert Robeson

    Having been a U.S. Army, medical evacuation helicopter pilot for 19 years, I’ve always been intrigued by anything that can hover or fly since I was small, even if it involved mysterious out-of-this-world aviators. I realized that they had to log their flight time, too,…but perhaps not in my neighborhood. (50 Precious Words)

    TWINKLE, TWINKLE UFO (Unidentified Flying Object)
    by Robert Robeson

    Twinkle, twinkle UFO,
    hovering there so all aglow,
    many wonder what you are,
    from swamp gas to a falling star.
    Your eerie lights flash in the night.
    Your disk-shaped craft is quite a sight.
    I care not that you’re from afar,
    just move your saucer off dad’s car!

    Liked by 23 people

  6. Great entries so far! Thank you again, Vivian, for this opportunity. It’s so inspiring to read others’ talent!

    Here’s my entry of 49 words:


    Liked by 15 people

  7. Renaldo by Lynette Oxley

    Renaldo Hissy-Fitter,
    Disliked his babysitter.

    He’d shake his head and pout,
    Then wave his arms and shout.
    His knees would go all knobbly;
    He’d drop and throw a wobbly.

    “Renaldo Hissy-Fitter,
    Go find another sitter!
    I’m tired of you, string puppet.
    To bed! I’ll play with Tuppet.”

    Liked by 15 people

  8. 50 Words- This contest has been so much fun to think about! Thank you.
    Book Trouble-Maureen Morrison

    Amon tripped over a stick and watched as the contents of his book spilled out. Imagination went running wildly down the street. Melancholy cried. Amiable laughed, while Nefarious gave an evil smile, knowing he had planned the fall. A Supportive friend Plot helped gather and piece the pages back together.

    Liked by 15 people

  9. Thanks for running this again, Vivian. It is so much fun. I’ve gone musical this time, hope you like it!


    Liked by 10 people

    By Beth Wylie

    Strapped in tight
    Hold back fright
    Down the track
    ‘Round a curve
    Where’s your nerve?
    Up the hill
    Wait until
    At the peak
    Start to shriek
    With a whoop!
    Twists and turns
    Stomach churns
    Screech to stop
    Out you pop!
    In a tizzy
    Slightly dizzy

    Liked by 23 people

  11. This is my first time entering a writing contest! It was a lot of fun.

    I DIDN’T MEAN by Rajani LaRocca

    I didn’t mean not to hear
    When you called.
    I was tumbling dirt,
    So loose,
    So cool,
    Working into knees,
    Under nails.

    I didn’t mean not to hear
    The second time.
    I was excavating
    Something blue.

    But the third time,
    I pretended.
    Just so you would come
    And dig, too.

    Liked by 20 people

  12. Vivian, so many great entries already! Here’s my little story for your fun contest –

    Woodchuck Charles

    Woodchuck Chuck wouldn’t chuck
    any wood. If he could, he would —
    prefer the name Charles.
    He gnarls, maybe even
    snarls at those that could or would
    ask Chuck to chuck wood.
    It’s understood, that would Chuck
    chuck wood; it would be good to ask if Charles would.

    Liked by 11 people

  13. Thanks for this contest, Vivian. Kathy Halsey – Kalahari Track Meet https://booktails1.blogspot.com/2017/03/and-were-off-to-races-50-precious-words.html

    Liked by 9 people

  14. Julia Richardson

    Vivian, Thanks for hosting this little contest with a lot of fun.

    Killdeers in the Meadow
    by Julia Richardson

    Meadow blooming daffodils.
    Killdeers calling courtship trills.

    Scraping sand with lanky legs.
    Shallow nest of speckled eggs.

    Rolling stones to camouflage.
    Puppy threatens sabotage.

    Killdeer flopping, feigning hurt.
    Puppy chasing, sudden spurt.

    Killdeer luring far away.
    Little nest is safe today.

    Eggs are jiggling, tiny kicks.
    Cracking open, fluffy chicks.

    Liked by 22 people

  15. I had a great time with this Vivian. Thank you for doing this challenge. It is going to be a lot of fun seeing everybody’s entries.

    Here is a link to my blog post with my entry “When a Monster Eats Your Underwear”


    Liked by 8 people

  16. What amazing entries!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Vivian! What a fun idea, thanks for dreaming this up!

    By Lisa Katzenberger

    “Giraffe, why are you up in that tree?” Zebra asked.

    “I saw a spider,” Giraffe whispered.

    “But you’re bigger!”

    “Zebra, I —”

    “You’re stronger, too.”

    “Zebra, I — ”

    “And faster! Believe in yourself, you can do anything!”

    “Zebra, I AM STUCK!”

    “Except maybe get down from trees.”

    Liked by 18 people

  18. In Charge
    Meagan Friedman

    Mom’s out of town.
    Dad’s in charge of little brothers and me.
    Macaroni for dinner, twice.
    Oh no…
    Dad has the flu!
    I’m in charge?!
    Feed brothers- PB&J.
    Dad looks green.
    Brothers tucked in bed.
    Dad’s snoring on the couch.
    What’s that sound…?
    Mom’s home!
    Hurrah! We survived!

    Liked by 13 people

  19. Yay! I am looking forward to reading the other entries. Here is mine:

    Liked by 5 people