#50PreciousWords Contest 2020: And the winner is…



Art by Vicky Fang

WELCOME ALL! In the midst of this unprecedented health situation, the kidlit community is stepping up to the plate. Authors and illustrators are creating video storytimes and lessons for kids who are home because schools are closed. And I hope that participating in this contest has given many of us a sense of normalcy – focusing on writing a 50-word story doesn’t leave much brain power for worrying about anything else, right?

Since this is a contest that celebrates the life and genius of Theodore Geisel, the beloved Dr. Seuss, I wanted to give a special shout-out to one of the stories:

By Linda Staszak 49 words

The Cat in the Hat didn’t know what to do–
The Grinch was still pestering Cindi Lou Who.
And nobody wanted the green eggs and ham–
The Wockets and Horton were playing with Sam.
And Sneetches chased Thidwick, the big-hearted moose…
This craziness thanks to the great Dr. Seuss.


Thank you so much, Linda…I loved your rhythm and rhyme…and the topic was spot on! Have you thought about doing a nonfiction pb about him?

When I first got the idea for this contest back in 2016, I thought a few of my friends might take pity on me and submit a story – to my surprise, there were 128 entries! The winner that year went on to sign with my wonderful agent, Essie White. And the story that won? It’s now part of a beautiful published board book series. Many other entries over the years have become books…and I’m thrilled with the positive energy that this contest always generates.

This year was no different. 






There are stories filled with heart and others brimming with humor – stories that make you laugh out loud – and others that bring tears to your eyes – counting stories – ABC stories – fiction and nonfiction stories. There are stories about nature and the seasons and the weather and animals – about dragons and wizards and fairies. And there are stories about real people – stories that come straight from a place of pain and loss…and I am so grateful that we have a community here where writers are empowered to share their deepest feelings.

The quality of the stories was out of this world…and not just the stories that were about out-of-this-world topics like Picnic on the Moon or Moon Mess or To Catch the Moon or When Shooting Stars Are Born. My wonderful assistant judges and I read many entries that NEED to be books…that WILL be books. You poured your hearts on the page. 

As with everything in this business, the judging of the contest is subjective. I don’t use a rubric…I read each story many times…to myself…aloud…and some I even record and listen back. The ones that capture my heart or my imagination – the ones I can visualize as books that will capture a child’s attention and engage a child – those are the ones that make the cut. Unfortunately, because there were so many wonderful stories, I had to cut some of those also. But fortunately, I have three amazing long-time writer friends and critique buddies who are kind enough to help me with this formidable task and they also read and comment on every story and give me their feedback. My thanks to Maria Marshall, Julie Abery, and Diane Tulloch for their MANY hours of devotion. One really cool thing is that with the four of us, the contest has a global scope…with Julie in Switzerland, Diane in New Zealand, and Maria and I on opposite ends of the USA. 

If you didn’t make the top 30 or get an honorable mention, it doesn’t mean you wrote a bad story. ALL of the stories had elements in them that could make a great book – please go back to your story in the comment section and read what others said about it…every story received positive comments…some stories garnered over 20 comments! Some people commented on dozens and dozens of the stories…I’m sure I’m missing some of you, but grateful shout-outs to Nancy Riley, Brenda Whitehead, Jessica Reiner Harris, Laurie Carmody, M.A. Cortez, Jill Burns, Ingrid Boydston for your kindness. And what also warmed my heart was that many writers went back to their own stories and responded to those comments – hats off to all of you for your dedication to your craft and to your kidlit community!

After you’ve scrolled through the prizes, you will come to the list of the 30 winning stories. Each story has a number next to it that coincides with the link list at the end of the post. To read one of the stories, just scroll to the bottom of this post and find the corresponding number and click…the link will take you right to that specific story on the contest blog…but please be patient…it may take a minute or two for your computer to load that page…there are over 5000 comments on it. 

To remind everyone, here are the guidelines:


dr-seuss-stampWrite a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, that has a total word count of 50 or less.

  1. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  2. Title is not included in the word count.
  3. No illustration notes please.
  4. Only ONE entry per person, please.
  5. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Thursday, March 5, at 11:59pm.
  6. Winners will be announced Saturday, March 21.
  7. Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too! There are critiques with EDITORS, seats in WRITING CLASSES, CRITIQUES by published authors, SIGNED PICTURE BOOKS…and more. The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please.

AND HERE IS THE LIST OF PRIZES – 1st place winner has first pick…2nd place winner gets to pick next…and so on.

  1. Picture Book Critique with Little Bee editor COURTNEY FAHY.

Courtney Fahy is the Editorial Assistant at Little Bee Books and Yellow Jacket, where she acquires and edits board books, picture books, and middle grade novels. Some of Courtney’s picture books include Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Marshall, Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield, Mootilda’s Bad Mood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call, as well as Moonbeams: A Lullaby of the Phases of the Moon by Ann Bausum. Prior to joining Little Bee Books, Courtney interned at Macmillan at Roaring Brook Press and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers, as well as W.W. Norton. Originally from New Jersey, Courtney graduated from Pace University with a Master in Science in publishing. You can find Courtney on Twitter @courtneyfahy.

2. Critique from Callie Metler-Smith, publisher of Spork/&mg

Callie Metler-Smith is the CEO and founder of Clear Fork Publishing in Stamford, Texas.
She answers to the following titles: Publisher of Books, Newspaper Chick, Bookstore Owner, Writer, Illustrator, Wife, Mom, and Friend.

3. PB Critique or Seat in Writing Humor for Kids or 1/2 off The Craft and Business of Writing Picture Books course from  Art Director and CBA Founder MIRA REISBERG. https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/


4, Seat in Making Picture Book Writing Magic course from the founder of Perfect Picture Book Friday, NYTimes Best-selling author Susanna Leonard Hill. https://susannahill.com/for-writers/making-picture-book-magic/

Susanna Leonard Hill (2)


5. A set of craft of writing webinars from Blue Whale Editor ALAYNE CHRISTIAN.

Alayne headshot


Alayne Kay Christian is the acquisitions editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and teacher of a picture book writing course Art of Arc. In addition, she shares her knowledge with writers through free and affordable webinars at Writing for Children Webinars. She has been a picture book and chapter book critique professional since 2014, and she worked as a 12 X 12 critique ninja for three years. Alayne has spent the last thirteen years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature. Alayne’s focus at Blue Whale Press is content editing, creative direction, and working with authors and illustrators to coordinate the path to quality books.



Art of Arc http://www.alaynekaychristian.com/contact.html

Webinars https://alaynekaychristianauthor.com/webinars

6. Seat in Master Class in Picture Book Writing from author Karla Valenti

Karla Valenti

Karla madame curie cover

I was born and grew up in Mexico city. Since then, I have had the great privilege and opportunity to live in a number of places I have come to call home: the U.S., Japan, France, and most recently Germany. I currently live in the Chicagoland area where I keep myself busy with lots of words and big ideas (both in my job as a lawyer and author).

My writerly self focuses on picture books and middle grade novels. I also offer a Master Course on Picture Book Writing and Editing and Picture Book critique services.

I’m rep’ed by the inimitable Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Find me on Facebook or Twitter.

7. Rhyming PB Critique from author Lori Degman


Growing up, Lori Degman struggled with reading, but the more she read, the easier it got! Now she reads all the time. She is the award-winning author of 1 Zany Zoo and Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, Norbert’s Big Dream, and Just Read. Lori was a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and is now a full-time author. She is a frequent presenter at schools and conferences.

Lori’s forthcoming books are Like a Girl (2019) and Travel Guide for Monsters (2020). Learn more about Lori at loridegman.com

8. PB Critique plus copies of two fabulous picture books from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler

PKeeler Head ShotPatricia Keeler is the author/illustrator of SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK and LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, both of Sky Pony Press. Patricia received the Christopher Medal in 2011 for her illustrations in WOULD YOU STILL LOVE ME IF. Patricia won the children’s book category for the New York Book Festival 2013. Her work has been a selection of the Junior Library Guild and the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club. Follow her on Instagram @patricia.keeler.books.


9. PB Critique and copy of Nova the Star Eater from author Lindsay Leslie.

Lindsay Leslie Headshot smallNova the Star Eater

Lindsay likes to bring her unique outlook on life, quirky humor, and play with words to the page in picture books. She is the author of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS and NOVA THE STAR EATER (Page Street Kids). Her third picture book, DUSK EXPLORERS (Page Street Kids), will launch June 2, 2020. Lindsay lives with her husband, two boys, two dogs, a guinea pig, and a tortoise in Austin.

10. PB Critique from author Keila V. Dawson

Before becoming a children’s book author, Keila Dawson worked as a teacher, school administrator, and educational consultant in the U.S., the Philippines, Japan, and Egypt.

A native of New Orleans, her debut picture book THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican Publishing Co. 2015), celebrates one of the unique cultural traditions in her hometown – eating King Cake during the Mardi Gras season. Her second book, NO VOICE TOO SMALL: Fourteen Young Americans Making History, co-edited with Jeanette Bradley and Lindsay H. Metcalf (Charlesbridge) will release in September 2020. A third nonfiction book is under contract has not been announced yet.

Keila is a member of SCBWI, writes monthly author studies for the Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) blog, and reviews books for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. When Keila isn’t reading, writing, and visiting schools, she’s traveling, playing tennis, or digging in genealogical archives.

Twitter: @keila_dawson  Website: http://www.keiladawson.com

Facebook author page: @keilavdawson

11. Non-Rhyming Picture Book Critique from author Melissa Stoller

Melissa Stoller books

head shot

Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection – Book One: Return to Coney Island and Book Two: The Liberty Bell Train Ride (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017 and 2020); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, 2018). Upcoming picture books include Return of the Magic Paintbrush and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork, 2020). Melissa is an Assistant and Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a Moderator for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/MetroNY. In other chapters of her life, Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Shaaray Tefila, and a past trustee at The Hewitt School. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy.

www.MelissaSoller.com       http://www.facebook.com/MelissaStoller

http://www.twitter.com/melissastoller   http://www.instagram.com/Melissa_Stoller

https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissastoller/     http://www.pinterest.com/melissa_Stoller

12. Picture Book or Query Letter Critique from author Laura Roettiger

LauraRoettiger Headshot 2019

Laura Roettiger is the author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON and has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education and as a new teacher mentor for two years at a STEM school. She is a judge for Rate Your Story, an active member of SCBWI and 12x12PictureBook Challenge. Laura works with third grade classrooms through #KidsNeedMentors, tutors adults in the Boulder Reads Literacy program at the Boulder Public Library, and works with BookstoKids, a Colorado based literacy nonprofit. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and her students, letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own whose curiosity and creativity led all of them into STEM related professions. 

13. Picture Book Critique from author Maria Marshall

Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s a Cybils Awards judge ( http://www.cybils.com/) and a contributing blogger for STEM Tuesday – From the Mixed-up Files of MG Authors ( https://fromthemixedupfiles.com/stem-tuesday/). She interviews authors & illustrators and reviews books on -The Picture Book Buzz ( www.mariacmarshall.com/blog). Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, & 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes.

14. Picture Book Critique from author Katey Howes

katey howes


be a maker katey howesKatey Howes is thrilled to be making books for children. She also makes bad jokes, great apple crisp, and messy mistakes. Katey lives in Upper Makefield, Pennsylvania (really!) with her husband and three adventurous daughters makers. A former physical therapist specializing in brain injury, Katey now divides her time between writing award-winning stories and raising kids with a love of books. She also contributes to parenting, literacy and STEM websites including All the Wonders, The Nerdy Bookclub, STEAM Powered Family and Imagination Soup. Find Katey on Twitter @kateywrites and on Instagram @kidlitlove.

15. Copy of Play Like An Animal from author Maria Gianferrari

Maria Gianferrari’s childhood playground was nature: climbing trees, playing hide and seek in the cornfield and slapping cow patties for fun! Nowadays she tries to keep the spirit of play alive in her writing. She enjoys playing Dominion with her family sans the curse cards. Her late dog, Becca, was always ready for a game of “catch the flying biscuit.” To learn more about Maria check out her websiteInstagram or Facebook pages.

16. Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author Kirsti Call

Kirsti Call loves putting words together. She co-runs Reading for Research month, has judged for the Cybil’s award since 2014, blogs for Writer’s Rumpus, and her second picture book, Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee) comes out this fall.  Cow Says Meow (HMH) and Cold Turkey (Little Brown) release in 2021!

Instagram @kirsticall   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirsti.call

Twitter: @kirsticall Websites: www.kirsticall.comwww.writersrumpus.comwww.reforemo.com

17. Picture Book Critique or signed copy of Lola Can’t Leap from author Ellen Leventhal

Ellen L head shotlola can't leap 2

Ellen Leventhal is an educator and writer in Houston, TX. Her writing usually contains universal themes to which children can relate–even if the thoughts occasionally come from talking cows or lambs.  She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing in some capacity. Ellen is the co-author of Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets and the author of Lola Can’t Leap.  She has been published in magazines and newspapers as well as in short story and poetry anthologies. Ellen loves school visits! When visiting schools, she coordinates with and supports literacy programs as well as diversity and anti-bullying programs. Ellen’s best days are when she can interact directly with the students and spread her love of literacy and kindness. To find out more about Ellen’s books and writing projects, please go to www.Ellenleventhal.com

18. Picture Book Critique from author Tina Cho

tina choTina is the author of Rice from Heaven, a picture book from Little Bee Books August 2018, Korean Celebrations, a nonfiction picture book from Tuttle, August 2019, My Breakfast with Jesus, a nonfiction picture book from Harvest House June 2, 2020, The Ocean Calls: A Mermaid Haenyeo Story from Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House August 4, 2020, and her first middle grade graphic novel in verse, The Tune Without Words by Harper Alley Fall 2022.

ocean calls tina cho

19. Picture Book Critique or Signed Picture Books from author Amber Hendricks

updated authorSALSCover_Final_RGB_NoBleed_Stars

Born and raised in the Midwest, Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on- including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing as well, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books”. Amber has worn many hats in her career but she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. Amber currently resides in Missouri with her husband and two children.


20. Picture Book Critique from author Beth Anderson

Beth Anderson head shot hi res

Lizzie Demand a Seat

Beth Anderson loves digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems, exploring points of view, and playing with words. A former educator who has always marveled at the power of books, she is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado. Author of AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET (S&S 2018) and LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2020), Beth has more historical gems on the way.

@Bandersonwriter (Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram)

21. Signed copy of Beautiful Shades of Brown from author Nancy Churnin

nancy c this oneA native New Yorker, Nancy is a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University. She lives in North Texas with her husband, a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats. Learn more about Nancy at www.nancychurnin.com

Beautiful Shades of Brown

22. Signed copy of Can U Save the Day? from author Shannon Stocker

Shannon Stocker headshotcover

Shannon Stocker’s debut picture book CAN U SAVE THE DAY (Sleeping Bear Press) released in 2019, LISTEN: HOW ONE DEAF GIRL CHANGED PERCUSSION (NF PB bio about Evelyn Glennie) comes out with Dial/Random House in 2022, and several of Shannon’s nonfiction essays have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Shannon currently serves as SCBWI social co-director for Louisville, a judge for Rate Your Story, a ninja for 12×12, and she created the blog series, Pivotal Moments: inHERview, highlighting transitional life stories of female picture book authors (http://www.shannonstocker.com/blog/). Cool facts: Currently writing her memoir, Shannon is a medical school graduate, a coma survivor, an RSD/CRPS patient and advocate, and a singer/songwriter who once performed two songs, including one original, as part of an opening act for Blake Shelton. She can be found online at www.shannonstocker.com, on Facebook (Shannon Otto Stocker/Shannon Stocker Author), and on Twitter/Instagram @iwriteforkidz. Shannon is represented by Allison Remcheck of Stimola Literary Studio.

23. Picture Book Critique (fiction) from author Lisa Katzenberger.

lisa-head-shot-2017I live in La Grange, IL in a hundred-year-old Victorian house with sloping hardwood floors, glass doorknobs, and the tiniest bathroom you’ve ever seen. I have a great husband and amazing boy-girl twins. I’m an active member of SCBWI, where I volunteer as the Social Media Coordinator for the SCBWI-Illinois region. I work part-time as a technical writing consultant to fund my writing conference habit. I am represented by Wendi Gu of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Lisa K pb

24. Picture Book Critique from author Jenna Grodzicki

Jenna's head shotJenna is the author of both fiction and nonfiction picture books, including Finn Finds a Friend (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017), I See Sea Food: Sea Creatures That Look Like Food (Millbrook Press, 2019), Harmony Humbolt: Perfect Pets Queen (Clear Fork Publishing, Fall 2020), and Wild Style: Amazing Animal Adornments (Millbrook Press, September 2020). She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two crazy awesome kids. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found at her desk, drinking iced coffee and working on her next story. Jenna is represented by Victoria Selvaggio of Storm Literary Agency.

i see seafood

25. A bundle of 2 picture books from my stacks.

26. Another bundle of 2 picture books from my stacks.

27. Yet another bundle of 2 picture books from my stacks.

28. A picture book critique from me.

29. A cover/query letter critique from me.

30. A signed copy of Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book.





#41: DANCE FOR DADDY by Maryna Doughty


#318: HERO – ZERO, BOREDOM – ONE by Rhett Trull


#271: WHEN SHOOTING STARS ARE BORN by Debbie Neuenschwander


#134: BORN TO DANCE by Rina Singh


#224: MOSQUITO BANDITO by Jennifer Raudenbush


#100: PHOTOS OF HOPE by Carrie Karnes-Fannin


#33: THE LAST WATERMELON by Jolene Gutierrez






#325: SPRING BEAUTIES by Leslie Goodman


#68: CONDUCT A LULLABY by Brittany Pomales


#70: DUCK BUTTS by Kelly Mangan


#118: STARLING FLIGHT by Amber Hendricks






#306: WIND TALKS by Jane Serpa


#191: VICTORIOUS FIREFLY by Maisha Oso


#327: QUAKING BOG by Jean James


#208: 100 WORMS BEFORE BREAKFAST by Kristy Roser Nuttall


#309: SUMMER VACATION by Gretchen Pitluk


#4: LIGHTS by Kirsty Rorke


#73: INCUBATION by Nancy Riley


#45: DINO FRIENDS by Margaret Aitken


#102: FIREFLY by Laurie Smollett Kutscera


#122: PICNIC ON THE MOON by Catherine Friess


#140: THE DAY YOU ARRIVED by Tina Mowrey


#144: A YAWN, A SIGH by Laura Wadsworth Carter


#321: THE LATE BLOOMER by Kristen Reinsel


#150: MOMMY’S BIG DAY by Susan Silver


#204: MAKE A WISH by Hollie Wolverton




And now, are you ready for the Honorable Mentions? I’m putting the # where they appear in the link list so that if you’d like to read them, you will be able to locate them easily. We have nine categories, including GIRL POWER in honor of Women’s History Month. There were many more stories I wanted to include, but I thought that more than 80 would be getting out of hand. And they are listed in no particular order…they were all wonderful!


#129: Brave Enough by Janie Reinhart
#299: Because of You by Christine Nanfra
#358: Morning Baby by Rita Russell
#84: Mischief Maker by Roo Parkin
#21: The Hug by Glenda Robe
#105: No Returns by Mandy Yokim
#34: Yummy Me by Jessica Reiner Harris
#378: A Mother’s Promise by Krys A.
#209: Love Will Always Win by Kate Thompson


#233: Just a Pretty Girl by Melissa Rutigliano
#351: Again, Lola by Sara Gentry
#387: Go Bella! by Darci Nielson
#72: Me in the Mirror by Carol Coven Grannick
#119: Love My Feet by Kathleen Reitmann
#192: The Seed Who Believed by Kirsten Allen


#177: Dinner is Ruined by Amy Flynn
#303: Everybody Loves Sunglasses by Jessica Haster
#160: Googly Eyes by Lori Sheroan
#202: Vacuum Cleaner by Emma Jenkins
#182: It Had No Eyes by Steve Rogers
#84: Mischief Maker by Roo Parkin
#236: Weary Rooster by Shaunda Wenger
#71: Smile by Paula Obering
#377: Bear Necessities by Katie Hesterman
#298: Chocolate Chew-Chew by Megan Hoyt
#112: Leftover No S’mores by Katie Walsh
#172: Problem Solved by Colleen Murphy
#184: The Big Yawn by Mary Rudzinski


#52: Tet is…by Hanh Bui
#221: The New Girl by Penny McNally
#341: Our World of Color by Mona Pease
#48: No Tengo Palabras by Maureen Morrison
#211: My Hands, My Voice by Katherine Rothstein
#205: When Smiles Speak by Charlotte Sheer


#65: Grimm the Shelter Dog by Nancy Ferguson
#54: An Elefante is a Terrible Horrible Fantastic Pet by Ana Siqueira
#115: My Pup by Gabrielle Cardwell
#264: The Runaway Present by N.R.M. Roshak
#268: My Best Bud by Costantia Manoli-Rumfitt
#300: The Meow-Thru Window by Carol Bullman
#110: A New Pet by Christina Vrba


#274: Mushroom Houses by M.M. Baker
#297: My Cherry Tree by Jill Burns
#89: If A Tree Falls by Liz Kehrli
#203: Do You Hear What I Hear by Heat:her Thurmeier
#5: After the Storm by Sue Lancaster
#95: Spores Away by Stephanie Higgins
#369: My Blue and Green Shoes by Vashti Verbowski
#194: Circles Aren’t  Pointless by Jim & Tim


#60: Hummingbird Battle by Debbie Sanders
#28: Game Over by Tara Cerven
#141: Wolf by Erin Kerger Duffett
#12: Caterpillar Rain Dance by Jill Proctor
#142: True Colors by Dea Brayden and Lindsay Brayden
#317: Rain Race by Karen Dibbens-Wyatt
#61: Here Be Dragons by Anne Lipton

#66: Kinkajou by Arlene Schenker


#10: Mirror In the Sidewalk by Monica Acker
#216: The Hole by Jim Chaize
#127: Happy Winter Friend by Stefanie Razler
#123: The Scarecrow with a Secret by Richard Stonebridge
#259: Took by Susan Claus
#313: My Boy and I by Leslia
#382: Anything Game by Ingrid Boydston


#328: Big Ride by Joy Pitcairn
#267: Let’s Take a Walk by Lori Himmel
#291: Search for Life by Jilanne Hoffmann
#11: Wombat Rescue by Robin Currie
#91: To Catch the Moon by Jenny Buchet


#296: Smart by Dawn Young
#38: Teeny Tiny Turtle Tucked by Katherine Rahoy

#314: The Crying Book by J. Bradley Blankenship
#17: Swinging from the Black Walnut Tree by Mary York
#24: Red Truck by Aimee Satterlee
#98: Moving Day by Deborah Holt Williams
#178: BE by Traci Van Wagoner
#43: Mum’s Spaghetti by Sarah Atherton
#135: Baked with Love by Stephanie Gibeault
#173: One Last Time by Amanda Davis
#210: The Love Machine by Julie Koon
#319: Naughty Night Noises by Tracy Smith Schmidt


Thank you again to everyone involved…the assistant judges, the prize givers, all who joined in the fun by writing and/or by commenting. Your participation makes all the difference. If you see I’ve made a mistake with the spelling of a name or anything else, please reach out and let me know. And I’ll be contacting the first place winner, Maryna, so we can begin the prize selection and distribution. Please have patience – with 30 winners, it is going to take a little while. As soon as Maryna lets me know her first choice, I will contact the second place winner…and so on. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com. And if you want your story taken down at any time because it is going out on submission, just let me know.

Don’t forget that #50PreciousWordsforKids is May 4-10…and that challenge is more important this year than ever before. Let’s lift up our children and encourage them to discover the stories that reside in their hearts. I’ll be posting early next month to give parents and teachers a heads-up about the challenge.

If you want to locate any of the stories, just scroll down and click on the one you want to read. Each link will take you to the contest post and that specific story. But be warned…there are lots of stories and the link takes you to the contest post which has 1000’s of comments…your computer may take time to load it all. Please be patient.

1. Paul Kurtz: My Magic Place

2. Donna Kurtz: Green Eggs and Meat

3. Claire Lewis: A Moving Tale

4. Kirsty Rorke: Lights

5. Sue Lancaster: After the Storm

6. Brenda Whitehead: My Important Job

7. Sara Ackerman: Caterpillar Season in Sinshasa

8. Jennifer Linville: I See

9. Kelly Swemba: Playful Puddles

10. Monica Acker: Mirror In The Sidewalk

11. Robin Currie: Wombat Rescue

12. Jill Proctor: Caterpillar Rain Dance

13. Cheri-Ann Wong: Hunter and Prey

14. Joannie Duris: Hug Hunt

15. Jessica Coupe: The Winter Garden

16. David McMullin: Making Something Out of Nothing

17.Mary York: Swinging From the Black Walnut Tree

18.Anita Narayan: Race to First Place

19. Shonna Nance: Time for BED?

20.Jennifer Moore: BORING!

21. Glenda Roberson: The Hug

22. Abbi Lee: The Worst Burglar in the World

23. Lu Pierro: BARK PARK

24. Aimee Satterlee: Red Truck

25. Estelle Tudor: My Mum’s a Superhero

26. Carolyn Bennett Fraiser: SNOW

27.Hannah Lapehn: DYLAN’S HUNT

28. Tara Cerven: GAME OVER

29. Danielle Hammelef: SAM’S SECRET CAVE

30.Bouvier Eulen: TODAY I’LL BE

31. Ashley Wheelock: Mommy’s Hair Salon

32. Polly Renner: TODAY

33.Jolene Ballard Gutierrez: THE LAST WATERMELON

34. Jessica Reiner Harris: Yummy Me

35.Janet Parkinson Bryce: Can Hippos Jump?

36. Debra Daugherty: Rabbit’s Big Day

37.Stacey Miller: Chloe’s Cloud

38.Katherine Rahoy: Teeny Tiny Turtle Tucked

39. Chelsea Tornetto: SNOW

40. Jill Lambert: Bird TV

41. Maryna Doughty: Dance for Daddy

42. Roxanne Troup: ALLIE’S APPLES

43. Sarah Atherton: Mum’s Spaghetti

44. Leah Moser: A COOL TREAT

45. Margaret Aitken: Dino Friends

46. Rachel Funez: Learning to Ski Fun

47.Nicole Loos Miller: Spring Puddles

48.Maureen Morrison: No Tengo Palabras

49. Carole Gerber: Summer Storm

50. Liz Sites: Fuzzy Wuzzy and the Fuzz Buzz

51. Marziah Abbas: Cookie Thief

52.Hanh Bui: Tet is…

53. Carol Cole: Dragons Love Camping

54.Ana Siqueira: An Elefante is a Terrible Horrible Fantastic Pet

55. Alana Washington: Draw with Me

56. Paulette Sharkey: How to Read to a Cat

57. Joan Leotta: Trucks Together

58. Lindsay Hobson: Dragons Have Bedtimes, Too

59. Robin Jordan: Dear Journal, Today…

60. Debbie Sanders: Hummingbird Battle

61. Anne Lipton: Here Be Dragons

62. Sandy Brooks Foster: Mr. Crayfish

63. Marie Prins: Backyard Bunny

64. Leigh Therriault: PANDEMONIUM

65. Nancy Ferguson: GRIMM THE SHELTER DOG

66. Arlene Schenker: Kinkajou

67. Megan Weatherford: Now What?

68. Brittany Pomales: Conduct a Lullaby

69. Amy Renee: Midnight Cake

70. Kelly Mangan: Duck Butts

71. Paula Obering: Smile

72.Carol Coven Grannick: Me in the Mirror

73. Nancy Riley: INCUBATION

74.Jennifer Humphreys: Spring Fun

75. Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez: A Dance in the Night

76.Elizabeth Janczyk: My Baby Brother is a Ninja

77. Katy Rose: Light Changes Everything

78. Rose Cappelli: Scritch! Scritch! Scratch! Scratch!

79. Jane Baskwill: IMAGINE THAT!

80. Phil Dillon: Ugg the Inventor

81. Sue Twiggs: Water Tickles

82. Andrea MacDonald: TWINS

83. Robin Brett Wechsler: SHELLY SOLD SEASHELLS

84. Roo Parkin: MISCHIEF MAKER

85. Allison Rozo: BEARDED PAPA

86. Amy M. Miller: Little Red Riding Hood

87. Carey Ann Welch: The Egg Parable of Matthew Welch, Age 10

88. Susan Summers: Rainbow

89. Liz Kehrli: If a Tree Falls

90. Aundra Tomlins: Rumble, Grumble, Crumble, Tumble

91. Jenny Buchet: TO CATCH THE MOON

92.Ranessa Doucet: KAZOO

93. Jason Perkins: DADDY TIME


95. Stephanie Higgins: Spores Away

96. Chris Baker: Muddle in a Puddle

97. Susan Drew: Sledding at Oma’s

98. Deborah Holt Williams: Moving Day

99. Marietta Apollonio: MOON MESS

100. Carrie Karnes-Fannin: Photos of Hope: A Small Biography of Margaret Bourke-White

101. Sharon K. Solomon: Frog Pond 2

102. Laurie Smollett Kutscera: FIREFLY

103. Laurie Smith Murphy: COMING ON CHRISTMAS

104. Patricia J. Holloway: I SPY

105.Jennifer Dawson: Siblings

106. Sylvia Chen: TOOTHY JOURNEY

107. Kimberly Laura: Alphabutt – A Lift the Flap Book

108. Camille Lancaster: A PIECE OF PAPER

109. Laurie Carmody: GRANDMA’S HOUSE

110: Christina Vrba: A New Pet

111. Meryl Sachs Cullon: MOMMY! MOMMY!

112. Katie Walsh: LEFTOVER NO S’MORE!

113. Susan Ralls: CUPCAKE FIX

114. Heidi Coryell: THE DARK

115. Gabrielle Cardwell: My Pup

116. Rachael Clarke: BALLERINA GIRLS

117. Kim Hart: BUBBLE BATH FUN

118. Amber Hendricks: Starling Flight

119. Kathleen Reitmann: Love My Feet

120. Kaylynn Johnsen: TWO to TANGO

121.Heather Kinser: YET

122. Catherine Friess: PICNIC ON THE MOON

123. Richard Stonebridge: The Scarecrow with a Secret

124.Melissa Mwai: Not A Unicorn

125.Heidi Vance: Mr. Squirrel

126. Pippa Chorley: Walkies

127. Stefanie Razler: Happy Winter, Friend!

128. Liz Rice: All Gone

129. Janie Reinart: BRAVE ENOUGH

130. Deb Sullivan: Recycle Me!

131. Melissa Stoller: SEALS

132. Becky Ross Michael: Miss O’Blair Has No Hair

133. Lisa Zaccaria: The Tree of Courage

134.Rina Singh: Born to Dance

135. Stephanie Gibeault: Baked with Love

136. Jaclyn Crawford: I Can Do Hard Things

137. Delia Black: Are We There Yet?

138. Sarah Meade: Five Flamingos with Flair

139. Judy Cooper: Just Leo

140. Tina Mowrey: THE DAY YOU ARRIVED

141. Erin Kerger Duffett: WOLF

142. Dea Brayden & Lindsay Brayden Ellis: TRUE COLORS


144. Laura Wadsworth Carter: A YAWN, A SIGH

145. Leila Nabih: A Dog, a Frog, and a Log

146. Jen Lawson: SWITCHWICH

147. Dea Lenihan: CAMERA NIGHT

148. Laura Howard: BUBBLE TROUBLE

149. Susan Silver: MOMMY’S BIG DAY

150. Sharon J. Wilson: The Absolutely True Story of Miss Locomotive

151. Aixa Perez-Prado: El Gato Romeo’s Nine Lives

152. Joy Moore: letter from BIG FOOT

153. Leslie Ross-Degnan: WATER PLAY

154. Emily Ann Davison: SOMEBODY ATE MY CAKE

155. Jarmila Kurucova: Blue Monkey Makes a Friend

156. Aimee Larke: Good Morning It’s Time for Bed

157. Kael Tudor: Good Morning


159. Stacey Corrigan: Another Hat in the Ring

160. Lori Sheroan: Googly Eyes

161. Laura Fredrickson: Race and Roll

162. Sarah Hetu-Radny: GARDENS

163. A Kidd: Baby Bounces

164. Kalee Gwarjariski: THE FIRE-SNEEZING DRAGON

165. Nina Nolan: RIGHT NOW

166. Rebecca Thill: BIG DOG – TINY BED

167. Mia Geiger: Just Beachy

168. Kristy Ryan: FIRST DAY FEELINGS

169. Linda Kulp Trout: Snowplow

170. Kathy McClaskey: The Fox and the Cat

171. Jenny Harp: DETERMINED PEA

172. Colleen Murphy: Problem Solved

173. Amanda Davis: One Last Time

174. Sloane Jacobs: Bitty Boo Taco Ninja

175. Andrea Greenwich Heffner: Who Can? Toucan!

176.Joel Chalmers: BEACH BLAST

177. Amy Flynn: Dinner is Ruined

178. Traci Van Wagoner: BE

179. Laura Roettiger: It’s Hard to Pick a Favorite

180. Teresa Traver: Rainy Day

181.  Riya Zachariah: Until Tomorrow

182. Steve Rogers: It had no eyes

183.Eszter Molnar: The Last Biscuit

184. Mary Rudzinski: THE BIG YAWN

185. Tom Lancaster: THE MIDNIGHT VISITOR

186.Tracy Curran: Pea-po

187. Lisa L. Furness: SUN FUN

188. Lynne Marie: PANDEMONIUM: A Morning at the Panda Kindergarten

189.Sarah Anne Carter: Backyard Pirate

190. Anne Weedon: Dinner

191. This is Maisha: Victorious Firefly

192. Kirsten Allen: The Seed Who Believed

193.Sarina Abbasi: $10

194.Jim and Tim: Circles aren’t pointless


196. Jessica Whipple: Boy and Bulldog

197. Zachary Snyder: What Will You Remember

198. Candace Spizzirri: HAPPY HEART

199. Linda Staszak: TRIBUTE TO DR. SEUSS

200. Kathryn Rammell: THE GRUMPY DAY PARADE

201. Suzie Olsen: THANKFUL FOR PANTS

202. Emma Jenkins: VACUUM CLEANER

203. HT Lynne: Do You Hear What I Hear?

204. Hollie Wolverton: Make a Wish

205. Charlotte Sheer: WHEN SMILES SPEAK

206. Heather Bell: Frisbee

207. Lydia Loeber: The Something

208.Kristy Roser Nuttall: 100 Worms Before Breakfast

209. Kate Thompson: Love Will Always Win

210. Julie Koon: The Love Machine

211. Katherine Rothstein: MY HANDS, MY VOICE

212.Patricia Finnegan: BUBBLE GUM BLOWOUT

213. Stefanie Hohl: MONSTER SCARES


215. Cathy Ogren: Humpty Grumpty

216. Jim Chaize: The Hole

217. Rebecca Gardyn Levington: BIRTHDAY WISHES *DO* COME TRUE

218. Laura Elizabeth Baukol: SISTERS

219. Jillian MacKenzie: LUCKY RED GUMBALL

220. Val Dormady: Jumble Days

221. Penny McNally: THE NEW GIRL

222. Mary Ann Cortez: SNOWSTORM

223. Rachel Backland: Look! A Bubble

224. Jennifer Raudenbush: MOSQUITO BANDITO

225. Tiffany Dickinson: The Blessing Box

226.Zoe Arena: Spot and the Line

227. Mary Munson: The Relation Ship

228. Rebecca Woodall: Don’t Look for a Kerboomer

229. Martha Simpson: Just Desserts

230. Rebecca Heonig: Monkey in the Middle

231. Jim Merryman: What’s a Word?

232. Kathy Halsey: A TALE SO TRUE

233. Melissa Rutigliano: JUST A PRETTY GIRL

234. Ashlyn Parker: THE UPSIDE

235. Emmie R. Werner: STRAIGHT and TALL

236. Shaunda Wenger: WEARY ROOSTER

237. Cheryl Schuermann: Flamingo Glulch

238. Priscilla Merryman: Heart Beats

239. Donna Burkert: Who’s there

240.Mary Warth: Izzy’s Itch

241. Mandy Yokim: No Returns

242. Patricia Tilton: Thunder Flapjacks

243, Samantha: I SING FOR ME

244. Rebekah Lowell: Fly

245. Kari Gonzalez: PONY NEEDS A HAIRCUT


247. Darren Spink: What if

248. Airlie Drozdowski: Toddler Tamer

249. Michelle Losardo: STORM’S PASS

250. Sandra McGraw: Lost and Found

251. Becky Loescher: GOTCHA!


253. Jenny McClay: Every Day is a Beautiful Day

254. RT Jahns: What Can Grieving Bring?

255. Kimberly Marcus: PUFFIN’S PROBLEM

256. Liz Bickerstaff: An Alien Stole My…

257. Lauri Meyers: Bella with the Big Bun

258.Jessica Murray: Kids’ Day at Super Scissors

259. Susan Claus: TOOK

260. Diana McCarthy: SEEDLINGS

261. Mareen Egan: BIRTHDAY BASH

262. Sharon Nelsen: SLEEP LOVE

263. Dianne Moritz: LET’S MAKE PANCAKES

264. N.R.M. Roshak: The Runaway Present

265. Farrah Riaz: What Love Is

266.Geraldine Jones: MICE NIBBLE

267. Lori Himmel: LET’S TAKE A WALK

268. Costantia Manoli-Rumfitt: MY BEST BUD


270.Julianna Helt: Creek Walking

271. Debbie Neuenschwander: WHEN SHOOTING STARS ARE BORN

272. Imogen Marshall: You

273. Adam D. Blackman: GATHER

274. M.M. Baker: Fairy Homes: The Mushroom Houses of Earl Young

275. KC Young: Bubbles

276. RB Frank: BEST IN SHOW

277. Deb Buschman: SNOW BEACH

278. Dedra Davis: What’s in There?

279. Karen Greenwald: WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?!


281. Dina Towbin: Can Katerina the Caterpillar Go to the Dance?

282. Robin Wiesneth: I LOVE socks!

283. Shira Zwiren: DRAGON’S TREASURE 


285. Linda Gammon: Brotherly Love

286. S Schipper: A Fantastic Farm of Color and Charm

287. Gail Handler: My Guide No M


289. Anne Stephens: Grandpa’s Hats

290. Denise Seidman: Who Wants to be a Dimenaire

291.Jilanne Hoffman: Search for Life

292. Rinda Beach: Baby Can’t Sleep?

293. Lynn Vieira: TIME FOR BED

294. Natalie Cohn: WHISTLE!

295. Darlene Ivy: Little Brother

296. Dawn Young: SMART

297.Jill Burns: My Cherry Tree

298. Megan Hoyt: Chocolate Chew-Chew: A Totally True Two-Year-Old Tale

299. Christine Nantra: Because of You

300. Carol Bullman: The Meow-Thru Window

301. Michelle Vattula: Boy’s Night

302. Judy Abelove Shemtob: Enemies to Friends

303. Jessica Haster: Everybody Loves Sunglasses

304. Claire W. Bobrow: Dog’s Day

305. Adrienne Yarbor Blacksher: Mommy’s Belly

306.Jane Serpa: Wind Talks

307. Lolly Ward: I SPY SURPRISE

308. Ruth Solitario: Six Lights

309. Gretchen Pitluk: Summer Vacation

310. Alison Horsburgh: Space Travel on a Trampoline

311. Kathryn Hollingworth: Jimmy’s Winter Future

312. Patty Wurster: FOX FINDS A FRIEND

313.Leslia: MY BOY AND I

314. J. Bradley Blankenship: The Crying Book

315. Helen Ishmurzin: MOUNTAIN PEBBLE

316.M. Jane Hawkins: EJ Johnson Isn’t Happy Anymore

317. Karen Dibbens-Wyatt: Rain Race

318. Rhett Trull: HERO: ZERO, BOREDOM: ONE –

319. Tracy Smith Schmidt: NAUGHTY NIGHT NOISES

320. Jodie Parachini: “Bored” Game

321. Kristen Reinsel: The Late Bloomer

322.Cathy Stenquist: Cat and Mouse

323. Anna Maledon: JEALOUS PET VACUUM

324. Bev Baird: Garden Gnome

325. Leslie Liebhardt Goodman: SPRING BEAUTIES

326. Ciara O’Neal: Maggie and the Blank Page

327.Jean James: Quaking Bog

328. Joy Pitcairn: THE BIG RIDE

329. Kathi Morrison: Girl and Dog — Low Tide

330. Dorena McFarland Williamson: Tennessee Strong Again

331. Candice Rauser: LITTLE BEE


334. Mary Arkiszewski: Loggerhead’s Journey


336. Kathy Shanahan: My Bike


338. Cheryl MacAller: LITTLE EYES, BIG WORLD

339. Beth James: Unlikely Friends

340. Catie Daly: The Gremlin in our Playroom

341. Mona Pease: Our World of Color

342.Sofia Dibble: BABIES

343. Florbela Nienaber: BLAST OFF!

344.Sarah C: RABBIT

345. Stephen James: I showed up

346. Kristina Schwartz: THE FOUNTAIN OF AGE

347.Jen Bagan: TEACHER’S PET

348.Gail Aherne: SIGN LANGUAGE

349. Patricia Nozell: Fifty Precious Words to Show That You Care

350.Lisa Hollman-Allen: Cuddle Dust

351. Sara Gentry: Again, Lola

352. Ryan Waters: The Zebra with No Stripes

353. Natalie Fischer: Hooray for Spring!

354. Sam Smith: PRESENT

355. Rachel Wilson: If You Were a Bubble

356. Diana Monteiro Toombs: The Wuwus

357.Sarah Crouch: SURPRISE TOAST

358. Rita Russell: MORNING BABY

359. Rachell Abalos: SAY “CHEESE”

360.Heather Gallagher: A seed for peace

361. Liz Ski Healey: BANANAS

362. Linda Hofke: Change of Season

363. Kirsten Pendreigh: COLOR LOVE

364. Angela Song: Me Just Being Me

365.Carol Vieira: Mouse Sets Sail

366. Laurie Sunderman: Last Party of the Year

367. Ellen B: In My Garden

368. Ashley Bates: CHA-CHING!

369. Vashti Verbowski: MY BLUE AND GREEN SHOES

370. Jenifer Lynn McNamara: Michael’s Moth

371. Michelle Howell Miller: The Human Race

372. Michele Ziemke: TAMING BARN KITTENS

373. Joni Hay Patras: Little Gray Cloud

374. Ruthie Kirk: MY TALLEST FRIEND

375. Pamela Courtney: A Case Against the Leafy Sea Dragon

376. Zia Marie: Fluffasaurus Fashion Show

377. Katie Hesterman: Bear Necessities

378.Krys: A Mother’s Promise

379. MontaukDeb: Sammy’s Blocks

380. Lara Elliott: Dance Battle

381. Ashley Congdon: The Carrot Stick

382. Ingrid Boydston: The Anything Game

383. CJ Penko: MAYFLY

384. Laura Bost: TRASH


386. Katie Williams: Coyote and Badger

387. Darci Nielson: Go Bella!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Please stay safe, my friends…this #Covid-19/coronavirus situation is overwhelming in many ways, but by supporting and encouraging each other, we will get through this. If I can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out – even if you just want to chat via FB PM or need so face-to-face time with a friend on Skype.

44 thoughts on “#50PreciousWords Contest 2020: And the winner is…

  1. Congratulations to all the winners! Vivian, Julie, Maria and Diane, thank you for this amazing journey to stretch our minds and do what we love best–WRITING! Thank you to those who donated prizes. The kidlit community is alive and thriving. I feel blessed to be a part of something so filled with giving and heart.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you, Vivian, for putting together such a great contest. I truly enjoyed the challenge, and I was totally shocked to receive an honorable mention. Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions! And a shout out to everyone who dared to write #50PreciousWords! Write on! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh wow! What a list. Congratulations to all the winners, and honorable mentions, and everyone who submitted a story. Thank you to Vivian and Maria, Julie and Diane for all of your hard work and dedication to the kid lit community. It is obvious how many hours were spent reading, commenting, and making tough decisions! You are an amazing team.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hearty congratulations to all the winners! What a fun contest! Pleasure to be part of this beautiful community 🙂 Thank you Vivian and team for your generous efforts!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh dear. I’m late seeing this. Congratulations to everyone who sent in a story! Congratulations to the winners and the honorable mentions! I had so much fun reading all the amazing entries. Thank you Vivian, Maria, Julie, and Diane for all of your hard work! I found so much love, support, and encouragement here. What a wonderful community!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, Jill…it’s definitely a crazy time we are in. And my thanks to YOU for the tremendous job you did of commenting on all of the entries…I might have to snag you next year to be a judge. And your entry, THE CHERRY TREE, was wonderful…we loved it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is a crazy time, that is for sure. Thank you again, for your kind words, Vivian. This contest put a HUGE smile on my face and in my heart!


  7. Pingback: #50 Precious Words – Nancy Riley Novelist

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