Scholastic’s Kids Are Authors Contest: Great Books Written by Great Kids

by Tom B. on September 13, 2013

Scholastic’s Kids Are Authors Contest

Does your kid want to publish their very own picture book? Scholastic can help…

While 826 National does publish some of the most beautifully designed kid-authored books I’ve ever seen, they’re certainly not the only organization that publishes books written by school-aged kids. If you’re interested in more examples of superior student publications, you should definitely check out the current and past winners of Scholastic’s Kids Are Authors Contest.

Scholastic, publisher of both Harry Potter and school book order catalogs (not sure which is more famous), sponsors an annual contest for K-8 students in the United States in which teams of students can collaborate on writing and illustrating their very own book. Students can submit their books to Scholastic, which publishes two winning entries each year – one fiction and one nonfiction  – and sells the finished books via their national network of school book fairs.

The contest itself is extremely cool – the deadline for this year’s submissions is March 15, 2014 – and all of the winning entries I’ve read have been equal parts fun and impressive. There’s just something very enlivening about seeing kids put together their own books and having such control over the words and art. There are always these quirky, inspired moments in each book that I don’t think would ever occur to an adult author, but they just feel perfectly natural coming from kids.

Scholastic’s Kids Are Authors Contest

The 2012 Kids Are Authors Nonfiction winner – White Tails and Other White Tales

Past winners of the Kids Are Authors contest include titles like The Seeds of the Milkweed (written and illustrated by second grade students from East End Elementary School, Little Rock, Arkansas); White Tails and Other White Tales (written and illustrated by second grade students from Longfellow Elementary School, West Allis, Wisconsin); Two Dollars, One Wallet (written and illustrated by third grade students from William McKinley Elementary School, Burbank, California); and A Kid for Jack (written and illustrated by fourth grade students from Piney Grove Elementary School, Kernersville, North Carolina), among others.

It’s terrific that Scholastic publishes these books, however, the winning titles are exclusively sold through Scholastic school book fairs, so it’s not tremendously easy to get copies of past winners online (or to get the current winners if you don’t live near a book fair location). They’re not sold on Amazon or anywhere else, though I’ve occasionally seen a few copies of past titles on eBay.

So, if you can make it to a book fair this year, I’d really recommend checking out the winners of the Kids Are Authors contest. There’s something awesome about kids writing for an audience of their peers. The books connect with their readers in really interesting ways and such creativity and drive should always be rewarded.

Scholastic’s Kids Are Authors Contest

Some of the past winners of the Kids Are Authors Contest…

AND, if you think your K-8 kid should be a published author, check out the contest guidelines HERE. They could maybe run the idea past their teacher, put together a creative team, and who knows? They just might have their hard work featured in book fairs across the U.S. and find themselves on the path to becoming the next Mo Willems or Kate DiCamillo.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Zach Rosenberg September 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm

My son is in pre-kindergarten and I’ve totally thought of crashing someone else’s school for their book fair. Is that legal?

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Tom B. September 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I think it’s legal. I’d think their response would be “Shut up and let us take your money.”

You might have to sign in at the office to go to it, but – if they put up signs outside of the school to advertise it – to me, that suggests they’re open to the public.

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S. Lynn September 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I’m in total agreement about the “Kids Are Authors” contest. It’s open to any group of kids 3 or more, ages K-8. If you win the grand prize, your school gets $5,000 in Scholastic credit and a very cool assembly/book launch. As the parent coordinator for “Two Dollars, One Wallet” I can’t speak highly enough about the experience. My daughter and her 6 co-authors can physically hold the book they wrote; and it’s an experience they’ll never forget. Plus, it’s a great way to volunteer in your school, a fantastic way to teach writing and a valuable lesson in art-making. The kids learn teamwork, creative thinking, and fortitude. A wonderful process all around!
P.S. “White Tails and Other White Tales” is the 2013 winner, and available in book fairs now.

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Tom B. September 16, 2013 at 9:29 pm

This is so great to hear. We own “Two Dollars, One Wallet” and it’s a great, great book! Your daughter and her co-authors should be extremely proud for writing such an impressive book.

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Loraine Branan September 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

How great is this? I have school age kids I am surprised I didn’t see anything about this in all the Scholastic stuff they bring home! What a cool thing. I was here looking for some recommendations for some great books for the holidays. I have a couple recommendations as well, The Reindeer Keeper and The Snowman Maker by Barbara Ward, barbarabriggsward.com. They were recommended to me by a friend and they are fantastic I hate to wrap them up for the kids as I enjoy them. But I will.

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