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Kids Essay Writing Contest

I’ve been searching for writing contests for kids for my daughter and her friend. Many kids, like mine, want to write for an audience; they’d love to be published. This round-up of opportunities might just help give young writers their first chance.

Let me also suggest that you temper your kids enthusiasm with a bit of reality. It’s a tricky thing because you don’t want to be a killjoy but you also want your children to understand that good, award-winning writing is hard work and takes dedication. So even when faced with rejection, or not winning, kids need to persevere and keep writing. (Feel free to share stories authors such as Madeline L’Engle, J.K. Rowlings, and Dr. Seuss who were rejected for publishing A LOT.)

Also, it’s important that kids read through the past winners or published pieces so they get an idea of what the contest or publication is looking for.

Revision, of course, is essential. You can help by giving kids specific feedback on technique — printable revision tips here. Make sure your story has a story arc. And, proofread a million times to be sure you’re not sending in something with errors!

Check my NanNoWriMo for Kids post for more writing and revision tips.

Writing Contests for Kids

Scholastic’s Kids are Authors
ages: K – 8
Details: This unique writing contests asks kids to collaborate in groups of three or more and the entries must be between 21 – 29 pages, illustrations included. (Text + illustration = 1 page.) The deadline is March 15, 2016 and is the last time for this contest. See all the rules and info here.

PBS Kids Go! Writer’s Contest
ages: K – 3rd grade
Details: This isn’t the easiest contest to enter since it depends on local PBS stations and local stations also pick the winners. Word count depends on your grade but is about 100 – 200 words. Rules here.

Betty Award
ages: 8 – 12
Details: Check the website for deadlines for their spring and fall writing contests. Cash prizes. $15 fee.

Brock Eastman
ages:  K – 6 grade
Details: Monthly winners in ongoing writing contest. Check the website for details.

Amazing Kids!
ages: not stated
Details: Check the website for new contests.

ages: grades 3 – 5, grades 6 – 8, grades 9 – 12
Details: Science fiction or fantasy story on any topic. The only limits are your imagination and the short list of rules. No entry fee. There are small cash awards for the winners in each category.  The submissions will be evaluated by a panel of teachers (retired and current).

Neuroscience Kids Poetry Contest
ages: K – 12
Details: Due Feb. 1!

Building Stories Contest / The Henry Ford
ages: 3rd – 12th grades
Details: Each year has a unique writing prompt. That 2016 prompt is to write about Rosa Parks.

Write the World
ages: not stated
Details: This is a online writing community for kids. Contests are posted from time to time here.

Mrs. P’s Be a Famous Writer
ages: K-4th grades
Details: Submissions open from September to mid-November each year with a yearly prompt.

Writing Times 
ages: 5 – 12
This online literary magazine holds writing and drawing competitions throughout the year about a specific theme.

Dandelion Press
ages: all
Use the illustration provided to write a story.

Young Writers Explore Learning (UK ONLY)
ages: 14 and under
Details: A UK based contest judged by author Lauren Child with specific prompts.

Magazines and Online Publications for Kids’ Writing

Creative Kids Magazine
ages: 8 – 16
Details: Cartoons, songs, plays, stories and more are accepted for submission. If you’re choose, your work will appear in the magazine.

Highlights Magazine
ages: not stated
Details: This magazine publishes kid writing but also will publish: drawings, poems, jokes, riddles, tongue twisters, stories, science questions, and book reviews.

ages: 9 – 14
Details: Fiction, poetry, and nonfiction welcome in this literary magazine. Guidelines for submissions here.

Stone Soup
ages: 13 and YOUNGER
Details: This magazine receives a lot of submissions so read through what actually gets published for a better chance. It accepts stories, book reviews, and poems. $3 fee.

Skipping Stones
ages: 7 to 17
Details: This publication has a multicultural focus. Send in essays, interviews, poems, plays, or short stories. $5 fee. Winners published in their autumn issue.

The Caterpillar
ages: not stated
Details: This is an Irish publication but accepts entries from anywhere in the world.

Guardian Angel Kids
ages: up to age 14
Details: Themes for submissions here. If your work is accepted (articles, fiction, poetry) then the magazine will own in and will pay you for your work. Just be sure that if your writing is accepted, you don’t post it anywhere else since you will not own it anymore.

ages: 10 – 18
Details: This publication is searching for compelling poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction that paint images with language.

ages: 0 – 14, 14+
Details: This girls magazine is looking for artwork and fiction stories.

Amazing Kids! Magazine
ages: 5 to 18
Details: A magazine written by kids and teens looking for stories, articles, adventures, and more. Submission guidelines here.

ages: 13+
Details: This is an online writing community meant to encourage teen writers to write and share their work. You can post your work and get feedback as well as give feedback to other writers. Contests are posted throughout the year.

Cicada Magazine
ages: 14+
Details: This magazine loves SF/fantasy and historical fiction as well as narrative nonfiction about teen topics.

Teen Ink
ages: 13+
Details: This is an online writing community with a wealth of opportunities for young writers.

More publication opportunities for young writers are listed on this website but this list isn’t always current.



Download my "can't put 'em down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.

Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!

Way to go! I can't wait to share with you books that your kids will love. An email to confirm is heading to your in box right now.

by Melissa Taylor14 CommentsFiled Under: Education, Elementary, Imagination Soup, Writing, Writing FunTagged With: contests, Writing

International Short Story Contest 2017 #2 ResultsInternational Short Story Contest 2017 #1 ResultsInternational Short Story Contest 2016 #2 ResultsInternational Short Story Contest 2016 #1 Results

Thank you all for your enthusiasm and co-operation. We had a tremendous response from school students around the world, to our international short story contest, 2018 #1. Your stories are being evaluated by our expert team now, and the winners will be announced on the 18th of March 2018.

We will soon announce the dates of our next international short story contest on this website. As is always the case, entry will be free, and you can win attractive prize money, certificates and publication opportunities. Please take note of the following, as you prepare to send your story to our next story contest.

Contest Rules

  • The contest is open to young people all over the world.
  • Deadline for the next contest (2018 #2) is 15th of September 2018.
  • Entry is free.
  • The story has to be written in English.
  • The theme of the short story is your choice.
  • Drawings, photos, or any other graphics are not allowed.
  • Only one entry is accepted per person.
  • The contest will be in three categories:
    a. Sub-junior (7-9 years)
    b. Junior (10-12 years)
    c. Senior (13-16 years)
  • The required length of the story is as follows:
    a. Sub-junior – 300-500 words
    b. Junior – 500-700 words
    c. Senior- 700 -1000 words
  • The upper limit can be exceeded in all categories.
  • Proof of age is required (scan or take a photo of your birth certificate/identity card/certificate from school/health record/school record).
  • Send your story and the proof of age as attachments to [email protected].
  • Mention the following information below your story:
    a. Name
    b. Age
    c. Category entered
    d. Title of your story
    e. Word count (including the title)
    f. Email address parent's/teacher's email address can be used here if necessary)
    g. Phone number (optional)
    h. School name
    i. Country
  • Any entry that is not accompanied by proof of age will be automatically disqualified.
  • The story should be the original, unpublished contribution of the person who is participating in the competition. Any story that is fully or partially copied from any other source will not be accepted. Each entry will be subjected to a complete plagiarism check.
  • Type your story using Microsoft Word, and use Times New Roman or Arial 12 point regular font. You may use italics or bold for effect, but do not use them frequently.
  • There will be three winners in each category.
  • The prizes for all categories are as follows:
    First prize – $75, certificate, and publication on the website
    Second prize-$50, certificate, and publication on the website
    Third prize-$25, certificate, and publication on the website
  • All highly commended and outstanding short stories will be published on our website
  • All winning, highly commended, and outstanding stories may not be published elsewhere without permission from KidsWorldFun.
  • Judges’ decision will be final.
  • Stories will be judged on the basis of content, language and style of writing.
  • Contact us at [email protected] for any queries.

If you would like to learn about the different components of a short story, please read elements of a short story.