#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.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SELFIE SEBASTIAN and A CAMPFIRE TAIL plus GIVEAWAY

I had a lovely surprise the other day. I received two beautiful picture books in the mail. Written by author Sarah Glenn Marsh, they are bright and bold and so much fun. I knew I had to share them with you today. One is about taking selfies. How awesome is that! And the other is about camping and finding the courage to be a real friend. And because my bookshelves are overflowing, I plan to give both of these away. So please make sure you leave a comment. And don’t hop off until you scroll through the entire post BECAUSE after the picture book review, I’ll be giving everyone a heads up about #50PreciousWordsforKids which is COMING ON MONDAY!!!

SELFIE SEBASTIAN

Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Illustrated by Florence Weister

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (2018)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Friendship, travel

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

You can’t take the perfect selfie if you’re all by yourself.
Sebastian is one handsome fox—and he really, really loves to take selfies. But somehow, no matter how camera-ready he is, his pictures always lack a certain something. And he can’t put his paw on exactly what. So Sebastian sets off on an elaborate quest to take the perfect selfie, dashing from a glamorous red carpet in Hollywood to the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon. He even zooms to the Moon! Still, none of Sebastian’s photos make him happy. Could it be that the secret to his special selfie is right where he started . . . at home, with his friends?

Why I like this book:

  • I loved the relevant theme of taking a selfie…even young kids want to do it.
  • I enjoyed the travel/geography layer to the story – kids will love to guess where Sebastian is.
  • GREAT illustrations – the front and back covers are amazing!

A CAMPFIRE TAIL

Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Illustrated by Ana Gomez

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (May 1, 2018)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Friendship, courage, camping

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Ever been stuck with a friend who’s totally uncool—and worried that it will rub off on you?
Welcome to Camp Wildwood! It’s Dragon’s first day, and his buddy would LIKE to show him a good time. But Dragon doesn’t seem to fit in with the boys and girls. He overturns the boat, ruins the puppet show, and even sets the tent on fire. Then, just as his buddy is about to give up, Dragon comes through in a pinch. This sweet, funny picture book teaches an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship—and in accepting the strengths and weaknesses of others.

Why I like this book:

  • I love friendship stories!
  • The illustrations are fantastic…just love the main character!
  • Text is full of heart and humor…great combination for a picture book!

Activities for both stories: 

  • Make a list of how to be a good friend.
  • Take selfies with friends and create an album of friendship.
  • Role play with your kids…different scenarios where being a good friend might be difficult.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. If you’d like to see more picture book reviews, please go to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture book Friday link up. And remember the best gift we can give the authors of our favorite stories is to buy their book or ask the library to order their book or write a review on Amazon or other book review sites.

And now, dear friends, a few words about #50PreciousWordsforKids! Last year, I hosted an international writing challenge for kid writers in grades K-6. I invited them to create a story for children in 50 words or less. #50PreciousWordsforKids drew participants from 15 states and 4 foreign countries. What amazed me was the incredible creativity that was unleashed by the restrictive word limit. Click here to see the stories from last year’s challenge.

MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

As a former kindergarten teacher, I’ve always been on a mission to help kids become lovers of books and reading. What a thrill it was to invite them to become their own storytellers!

This writing challenge is ALL-INCLUSIVE and INTERNATIONAL!

#50PreciousWordsforKids coincides with Children’s Book Week, April 30-May 6. Every child in grades K-6 is invited to participate. 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. Last year, some classes formed teams and wrote collaborative stories – that is totally fine. Parents who homeschool their children can submit one story per child. The official #50PreciousWordsforKids post will go live on Monday morning!

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/parent receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story.
  • Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.

 Questions? Contact me at viviankirkfield@gmail.com

I’m asking all of you who have connections with elementary schools or homeschooling families in any state and any country to please spread the word. Last year, I contacted the Children’s Book Council and they agree – it’s a perfect activity for Children’s Book Week. Click here to read last year’s stories.

The challenge runs April 30-May 6 and the stories need to be emailed to me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Monday, May 7th. I’ll post those stories on Friday, May 11th. Teachers and parents will receive a certificate that can be copied and personalized with the name of each child who participated. And there will be mini-Skype author classroom visits randomly awarded—one per grade level if I get enough volunteers. 

Let’s help our kids stretch and grow their imaginations.

Which brings me to the next request…I still need volunteers to do mini-Skype author or illustrator visits. If you would like to donate a mini-Skype author or illustrator visit, please contact me ASAP either by email or on FB or Twitter. It’s a wonderful way to connect with our audience of parents, teachers, and kids!

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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

#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