#50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge is OPEN

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The #50PreciousWordsForKids International Writing Challenge is now OPEN!

Last month, I hosted a challenge for writers. I invited them to create a story for children in 50 words or less. #50PreciousWords drew hundreds of participants. What amazed me was the incredible creativity that was unleashed by the restrictive word limit.

MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

Last year, one of the participants told me that she and her six-year old daughter had an amazing bonding experience. Seeing her mom writing, the little girl wanted to write a story also. And she did. And her mom shared it with me.

DINOSAUR SNOW by Bethany (age 6)

It snowed a lot through the day. Pteranodon and her sister Teethless were bored. Pteranodon said, “I planned to go outside and it’s almost time for lunch. Oh it’s 11:00. Let’s go wake Mom and Dad.” “You’re right,” said Teethless. So they did. And then they ate lunch.

And when my eight-year old grandson spent a day with me, he wanted to write one, too.

Locked Out by Jeremy (age 8)

One evening, when me and my mom got home from school, we tried to unlock our door. We heard a snap. Our house key broke! We went to our neighbors for help. They said, “Get a ladder and climb into a window.” We followed their advice. Unlocked the door. Home!

Those two stories got me excited! As a retired kindergarten teacher, I’ve always been on a mission to help kids become lovers of books and reading. As many of you know, now I write for children. And I love it! My four debut picture books will launch next year.

I thought, what if I could encourage kids to become the storytellers! And so, #50PreciousWordsforKids was born.

#50PreciousWordsforKids coincides with Children’s Book Week, April 30 to May 6.

EVERY CHILD in grades K-6 is invited to participate.

This is an INTERNATIONAL challenge…there will be stories flying in from all around the world!

Teachers can have each child write a story of 50 words or less…then the teacher and/or class will choose one story to submit. Perhaps this can be a whole-school event to celebrate Children’s Book Week. Or just a single class project. If several kids want to work together or the teacher wants to submit a collaborative class story, that would be lovely!.

Parents are invited to encourage their children to write a story at home (whether or not they are homeschooled) – parents can email me one story per child.

My only rule is that the stories must be emailed to me by a teacher or parent (or other child-care facilitator).

Here are the guidelines:

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  • Each child, grade K-6, writes a story of 50 words or less.
  • Title not included in word count.
  • Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Happy or sad, silly or serious, true or make-believe.
  • Teachers/students choose one story to submit per class.
  • Homeschooling parents submit one story per child.
  • Please email story to: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by May 7 at 11:59pm.
  • Stories post on my blog: viviankirkfield.com on May 11.
  • Teacher receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story.
  • Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.

The challenge runs April 30 to May 6 and the stories need to be emailed to me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by 11:59pm on Sunday, May 7th.

I’ll enter those stories on my Thursday, May 11th blog post.

All teachers and parents will receive a certificate that can be copied and personalized with the name of each child who participated.

Please, dear readers, help spread the word by sharing this post on your social media channels and by reaching out to your teacher and parent connections.

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

What a wonderful opportunity for kids to become the storytellers.

Last year we had entries from 15 states and four foreign countries! I wonder where the stories will come from this year. But, no matter where they come from…

…I’m excited to read all of their precious words.

#50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is OPEN!!

 

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Today is the day, dear friends! Ready! Set! Go! The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is now OPEN!

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For those of you who have not participated before, let me give you a bit of back story. March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. For the last two years, I’ve hosted 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.

In 2016, 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! And last year, there were 253 entries. And I hope we have a great turnout again this year because I am passionate about helping others follow their dream of writing for children.

In 2012 I had a dream. I wanted to write picture books. And I wanted to be traditionally published. And one of the most important things I did was to participate in writing challenges like Susanna Hill’s contests. Why was that important? Because it got me writing. It got me revising. It got me submitting. Hmmm….writing/revising/submitting. I believe that if we do those three things enough times, our writing improves and agents and editors get a chance to see our work. And as much as I am thrilled with my own success, nothing makes me happier than to hear about the success of others in our kidlit community.

So, please sharpen your pencils. Fire up your computers. And share your #50PreciousWords with us. Continue reading

#50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge Stories are HERE!

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HURRAY! It’s time to unveil the wonderful stories from children all over the world.

Many thanks to the parents and teachers who encouraged their kids to participate.

The guidelines were simple.

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I got several requests from teacher friends who asked for a few more days…so I extended the deadline to May 10th.

And the notes I got from parents and teachers were filled with thanks for creating this writing opportunity.

“Best wishes for a fabulous contest. This is a wonderful thing you are doing for kids!”

“My daughter told me she wants to write books like me, and my heart melted!”

“Thanks for hosting such a wonderful contest for young students.”

“Thank you again for organizing this fun event! My students were challenged to keep their stories under 50 words – especially since we’ve been working so hard in second grade to add details to lengthen our writing!”

I also decided to open the challenge to children all over the world—believing that, especially in these times, it’s important for us to come together—with children leading the way as the storytellers.

Each story was submitted by either a parent or a teacher. Teachers were requested to send one story per class. A couple of classes wrote a collaborative story. And one child even drew an illustration for her story.

grace illustrationBy Grace, author of Brothers

#50PreciousWordsforKids BY THE NUMBERS:

#57 ENTRIES

#6 COUNTRIES

#15 U.S. STATES

 

I’ve already had inquiries as to when the NEXT children’s writing challenge will take place. So, I guess I need to start thinking about that…maybe it would be nice to have one in the summer to keep those young minds creating…and definitely one later in the fall.

Hosting this has been a thrill…the diverse topics and creativity are impressive. These are the future writers of our world!

Without further ado, I present the #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge stories, listed in the order I received them. Continue reading

Monday Writing Magic – PiBoIdMo Success!

I’m happy to say I completed Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).

I now have more than 30 ideas for new picture books – some good, some bad and some downright ugly!

piboidmo2013-winnerbadge-700x700The challenge: write 30 picture book ideas in 30 days

The inspiration: read 30+ posts by authors, illustrators and others who are successful in the field of kid lit.

Some days it was hard to make the time to read the post and comment…but I didn’t miss a day.

My family thought it was hysterical every time I jumped up from the dinner table and ran willy-nilly to grab my PiBoIdMo notebook and jot down a phrase or catchy book title.

True story: We moved to New Hampshire at the end of September. I’ve been reading AND telling my 5-year old grandson LOTS of stories. This morning, Jeremy could not find Continue reading

The 4th of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest

There’s been lots of traveling in the last few months…new grand-baby…Singapore…family visits.

4th of Jul Secret Mystery Writing Contest

I’ve missed my regular blogging and social media connections – but I’ve had so much fun!

To get back on track, I’m going to try a new blog schedule:

Monday will be geared towards picture book writing – sharing helpful articles and links for other writers as well as contests, submissions and highlights from my works in progress.

To kick this off, I’m thrilled to post my entry to children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill’s 4th of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest. Contests are a great way to exercise your writing craft and connect with other writers…and Susanna’s contests are super cool. Please click on the link to get the details and find out what GREAT prizes she is offering. There is still time to enter!!!!

The Fourth Of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest!

We were asked to write a children’s story with any July 4th setting, 400 words or less, in which there is a mystery is solved or a secret is revealed. Here is my 199-word story…I hope you like it!

THE MONSTER FAIR or Why Christmas Is Celebrated in July on Gollywhomper Square Continue reading

Sunday Post: Hope…The First Step to Success

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is HOPE. To hope is to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true. Hope is the first step to success. It’s important to take other steps to make sure what you hope for will actually happen.

Hope, First Step to Success, Show Me How Build Your Childs Self Esteem, www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

Many years ago, I hoped to write a book for parents and teachers. That was the first step and, in 2011, I went to Chicago for a book event at Lollie’s, one of the stores that sells that book.

This year, I hope to have some of my picture books published.

But hoping for this is only the first step. There are other steps that must be taken if I want to succeed.

One of those other steps involves Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Last month I submitted a picture book query for a special critique from author Emma Walton Hamilton. This month, as a Golden Book member, I was able to submit a full picture book manuscript, The Boots of Dylan McGee, to agent Stephen Fraser.

Another step I’ve taken towards realizing my hope of having my picture books published is to take Emma Walton Hamilton’s online picture book writing course, Just Write for Kids. I’m only on lesson four out of eight…but I’ve learned lots already.

Entering contests and writing challenges is another important step in making this hope become reality. Last month I sent a children’s story to the Highlights Fiction Contest. In addition, I entered Nancy Hatch’s Writer’s Desk Contest with a poem about why and where and how I write.

The seven finalists were announced yesterday…and yes, I am one of them!!!!

For those of you who might not have seen it:

goals,writer's desk competition,vivian kirkfield

I WRITE, THEREFORE I AM

A writing space by any name does serve me well.

By lamplight or with sunlight streaming

Ideas flourish while I’m dreaming.

From mind to pen words quickly teeming

Pages fill with stories beaming.

In quiet or with children screaming

Cluttered desk or table gleaming

I’ve found my heaven…not to write would be my hell.

If you would like to vote, you can go here. All of the entries are great…I am honored to be among them.

As parents, we also have to instill hope in our children…and then offer them opportunities to realize those hopes. If you have the time, please watch this video of Jarrett Krosocska’s TED talk on ‘How a boy became an artist’…it is inspirational and educational and Jarrett is an amazing speaker!

http://pinterest.com/pin/470274386059243757/

How can a parent instill hope in a child?

  • Be a good role model…be hopeful about your own life
  • Encourage your child to try new things…go to museums, read books, etc.
  • Provide support when your child fails…but please allow your child to fail
  • Allow your child to pursue his or her talents and gifts
  • Spend positive time with your child

My book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers that build self-esteem, develops better literacy skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond. Isn’t that what we all hope for our children? It’s a one-stop book that provides quick and easy activities. Grab a copy! Engage your child, encourage creative expression and, most of all, have fun together!

 time after time, positive parental participation

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

Halloweensie Contest: The Witches of Fairy Top Hill

Hurray!  It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest.

If you love to write, there is still time to enter…click on the link above…a children’s story, poetry or prose, 100 words or less, including the following three words: bat, trick-or-treat and witch.  Blog about your story and then link it to Susanna’s Wednesday post.

I love creative writing prompts…give me a title or a subject, explain the rules and away I go!  One never knows what little rhyme or story will turn into a great picture book.

Children love to dress up…pretend play and role-playing is a great way for children to express their feelings.  One day they want to be astronauts, another time doctors or princes and princesses.  They don’t need a holiday like Halloween to want to play pretend…but on Halloween, we often see lots children dressed as witches.

I began to think about what costumes witches would put on if they went trick-or-treating to get candy when their spells to produce candy failed.

And did you know that in England, Scotland and Ireland, trick-or-treating is known as ‘guising’?

The Witches of Fairy Top Hill

On Halloween eve up on Fairy Top Hill,

A trio of witches, Pam, Tamsin and Lil,

Were practicing magic and chanting out loud,

“Bat-candy, bat-candy…rain down from that cloud!”

“Kaput! and Kabob!” Pam invoked with a shout

The sky quickly filled with a hover of trout.

“Kibosh! and Pish-posh!” Tamsin yelled with finesse.

A chorus of frogs joined the fish-slippy mess.

Then bold Lil spoke up, “This is Trick-or-Treat night,

And children get candy and Turkish delight.”

Costumed as young children…with treat bags to fill,

The trio went guising, Pam, Tamsin and Lil.

Hope you all enjoyed my little Halloween story…and don’t miss reading all of the other wonderful submissions.  Just go to www.SusannaLeonardHill.blogspot.com