Soon it will be time to hop on the Haiku Hype train! As we all get ready for a fun ride, it's my pleasure to introduce to you our second guest-judge who will help me evaluate the submissions. She's a children's author and a poet who will bring her expertise to the team and offer her argument for picking the top favorite poems. In other words, I've got one more person to have a virtual pillow fight with when the time comes to select the winners :)
So, without further ado, please welcome Heather Macht! Here's a short interview with Heather where you can find out more about her, her work and read Heather's advice to the contestants:
Q: Are you excited about being on the judge panel of the Haiku Hype Kids Poetry Contest? How do you feel about helping kids get inspired to write?
A: Hi, Rosie! I'm very excited to be a judge on the Haiku Hype Kids Poetry Contest. Not only is poetry my favorite thing to read, it's also my favorite thing to write. Needless to say, I'm SO excited to help everyone get inspired to write poetry and see what this talented group of kids comes up with!
Q: What advice can you give the students, teachers and librarians who might consider participating in the contest?
A: My advice is simple: go for it! Getting creative and thinking outside the box is extremely fun and rewarding. Not only will you flex your academic muscles (as you try to keep within the syllable count) you'll also boost your imagination. And, as Albert Einstein once said: "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." How can you argue with that? ;)
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a writer. What are you currently working on and what are you looking forward to? What are your latest news that you can share with our readers?
A: My journey, I distinctly remember, started in the third grade when I turned a science project about dinosaurs into a creative writing assignment. Of course, this was not approved by the teacher (and I may have gotten into a wee bit of trouble), but I continued writing and eventually got a book about dinosaurs published!
My first picture book, YOU MAY JUST BE A DINOSAUR, which mixes fun dino-facts with silly scenarios, was released in 2015.
I have two more picture books: THE ANT FARM ESCAPE! and REX THE…WE DON’T KNOW, being released in 2019, and couldn’t be happier.
I have so many new stories in the works right now, and I’m really excited about them. Some of my favorites revolve around fun monsters, so stay tuned for upcoming news!
Thank you, Heather! I love how you persisted with your dino story and it paid off so wonderfully. And I completely agree with you and Albert Einstein about the power of imagination and where it can take you--the possibilities are limitless. I hope everyone takes your advice and just goes for it!
If you'd like to read some haiku poems by Heather, visit her blog here where she shared a haiku poem a day for Poetry Month in 2016 to celebrate nature and expression.
Heather Macht, author of YOU JUST MAY BE A DINOSAUR (Pelican, 2015), THE ANT FARM ESCAPE! (Pelican, 2018), and REX THE...WE DON'T KNOW (Pelican, 2019), is an active children's author who has been creating stories since the third grade! She earned her AA in fine arts from Florida State College at Jacksonville and held a career in the I.T. world before becoming a full-time writer and mom. Macht’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and lives with her family in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In her spare time, she dwells in poetry and picture books and enjoys painting. For more, visit www.heathermacht.com.
Do you think that you may be a dinosaur? If your claws puncture kickballs, you use a whole tree to brush your teeth, and your tail spikes always rip through your pants, it’s possible that you may just be a dinosaur. Apatosaurus chomps and Velociraptor romps in this hilarious, informative rhyming picture book. Bright illustrations show children the tail-thumping chaos a Spinosaurus could cause trying to find dinner in a refrigerator and why a T. rex should never, ever try to take the school bus. Featuring information on dinosaurs’ sizes, diets, health, and social lives, You May Just Be a Dinosaur is a prehistoric parade of the funniest, punniest, chummiest dinos you’ll ever see in the schoolyard.
Stay tuned for the reveal of
Mystery Judge #3
April is poetry month and for a while, I've had something very special in the works that, as I envision it, will revive poetry celebration among children. It will also, I hope, encourage poetic expression, especially at times of overwhelming emotions with which kids might be struggling.
This nationwide event I've been preparing is meant to support budding poets and attract new ones, who may not have thought of themselves as very creative or poetic up to this point.
I'd like to challenge all children to try and discover the joy of writing, in this case, by creating their very own haiku.
I've given my readers a little preview of my upcoming Haiku Hype Kids Poetry Contest, but there are more goodies and surprises to be revealed. The anticipation is growing and so. . .
Today, I'm unveiling one important part of the event.
I'd like to introduce the first of our mystery judges! Please welcome children's poet, author and artist, Raven Howell!
I wanted to ask Raven a few questions so our readers and future contestants get to know her better. Here's what Raven shared with us:
I am excitedly looking forward to reading the contest haiku submissions - every one will be appreciated, and it's such a joy to be on the judging team. Children and students most often pull out the most fabulous ideas and create little poetic masterpieces if they give it a try.
I've found the child that feels hopeless as a writer or "not good at that type of thing" usually ends up writing a unique and appealing poem, using a quirky word or interesting phrase or theme! To inspire kids to write, they should know they don't necessarily have to consider themselves great writers. There are so many forms of poetry to have fun with, bending words and scribbling ideas one has pondered over.
My advice to students, teachers and librarians participating in the contest is to read and absorb at least one really good published haiku poem and let the spark from it take you to your own 3-liner! I'd also add that when possible, perhaps some of the submissions could be published or posted―whether that's in the school paper, a flyer in the library announcing the "haiku hype" writers, a FaceBook page, or on the bulletin board in the classroom. That motivates!
Here's a classic famous haiku known for its simplistic beauty and the way it stirs the senses:
An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.
I have several haiku poems published in my book, Shimmer, Songs of Night. Presently, one of my writing projects involves tanka which is another interesting and challenging poetry form to check out and try writing! With my agent's suggestion and guidance, I'm also working on a concept board book series written in prose.
I have several upcoming rhyming picture book releases on the horizon, and I just became newly signed with a publisher for a children's book about the seasons that is written in a long poem format―and this is my first announcement on it! Meanwhile, I can't wait to read haiku from this fabulous upcoming contest! What a terrific opportunity for young aspiring writers and to those who just want to have some fun. I have no doubt we will be receiving some poetry gems!
Thank you so much, Raven! It's great to have you on board. Congratulations on all of your success―I am honored to get your first announcement for your newest book contract happen on my blog. I can't wait to see the seasons book and for the world to have it!
Well, I've got more mystery judges to reveal soon so stay tuned.
Raven is the author and poet of several children’s books, and most recently authored Shimmer, Songs of Night (Spork), and A Star Full of Sky (Daffydowndilly Press) which won the Royal Dragonfly and Pinnacle award for Best Children’s Poetry book. She writes poetry for a variety of magazines such as Highlights for Children, Ladybug, Bumples, Stinkwaves, Fun for Kidz, Cricket, Spider, Buds, Babybug, Hello Highlights, and High Five. Her work is included in anthologies, DVD’s and CD’s. Raven has received awards for poetry from the SCBWI and Poetry Soup, and enjoys presenting children’s writing workshops in libraries and to classrooms. She lives in the Northeast with her husband, Elsie, their terrier, and a mischievous Ragamuffin cat named Lilac. Ravendelights in keeping track of her college bound kids, spending sunny days seaside, and munching on warm butterscotch chip cookies out of the oven. Visit her website: www.ravenhowell.com
The wait is finally over and we have the results! Yes, it's time to announce the winners.
But before I do, I'd like to thank every child who wrote a story and participated ― you are brave, creative, and you took action! You should be proud of yourself. It might seem like a small step, but it's a really important one because "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." ―Gail Devers
The judges and I had a great time reading each and every story! We all pulled for our favorites, arranged and rearranged our choices, discussed and reconsidered the submissions according to the evaluation criteria.
As a reminder, the stories were judged based on the following: connection to the theme (Pets), originality, twist, use of literary devices, creativity and overall appeal of the story/writing.
We saw strong writing, imaginative plots, and we really loved the twists! So picking the winners was not an easy task, but we had to stick to the rules. (We still couldn't help it and threw in some extra recognition in the end.)
Once again, thank you all for entering the KWEST Contest and a special thank you to all the teachers and librarians who assisted the students in sending their submissions. We hope you'll participate again next year when we'll make the competition even bigger and better!
I know you're all impatient to find out who the winners are. Just one more announcement before I reveal the results.
In April, which is poetry month, I am opening a poetry contest called Haiku Hype. I'll be giving away a kids Kindle e-reader plus a bunch of other cool prizes! Teachers will have a chance to win something, too. So stay tuned for guidelines when I announce the opening of the contest and be ready to jump in. It'll be fun!
Participate in Haiku Hype in April
for a chance to win a Kindle for kids!
Teachers and Librarians who submit their students' poems
will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win
a Starbucks gift card. Don't miss this amazing contest.
And now...Drum roll, please!
Sprinkler by Parker N. (3rd Grade, Van Elementary, IN)
Once upon a time I had a hamster named Sprinkler. I build hamster tubes they ran all over the house even outside! Sooner or later he was loving the tubes. Rumble! Rumble! Crash! Crack! Boom! The hamster tubes broke and Sprinkler got out. We looked everywhere he wasn't anywhere. Until I heard Spat! A truck just came by red was on the road. He's gone. He couldn't be gone he couldn't. Two days later I heard rustling in the bushes then a small hamster comes out Sprinkler your back Mom Sprinkler is back!
Life by Chloe L. (3rd Grade, George H. Mitchell Elementary, MA)
My name is Jack. I live on the streets of New York. You might feel bad for me. Nothing to eat, being shivering in the cold in the winter, but life is not that bad. Enough hot dog carts to steal food from. Enough rain water to drink. Enough love from pigeons when they purposely drop poop on your head. On winter nights I sleep in the dumpster because there might be some leftover coffee. Life was good. One day my life changed. I woke up to the sweet smell of hot dogs. I followed the smell as dawn began to rise. All of a sudden, I was in a van. A girl named Megan was taking me to her apartment. She is the most kind girl I know. I know what you are thinking, "Why wouldn't I run away from a stranger?" I was a street dog. I could now imagine being a pet. Now I like it. Life is good.
Yes pet No pet by Braelynn Jones (3rd Grade, Van Elementary, IN)
Pets. Pets pets pets. A lot of people have pets. They come in all shapes and sizes. They come from all over the world. Also they come in all kinds of different breeds. Dogs, cats, birds. You name it. "Mom dad!" "I want a pet." Yelled Suki. "But you're to young." Mom said. "No I'm not." Replied Suki. "Tell you what." Dad said. "You have to show us you can take care of a robot first then we'll make a decision." "Yay." Suki yelled. So Suki and her parents went to pick up the robot in the shop. When they got home Suki went to work with the robot. She played with it fed it led it on a walk. Also dad wasn't very happy when he found out Suki fed the robot his nails and bolts. After Suki's trial with the robot her parents made the decision. "Can I please have a pet." Suki pleaded. "No!"
The Blue Fox by Alaina N. (3rd Grade, Van Elementary, IN)
Once there was a blue for he lived in a small cave house on the east side of foxvill. So let me tell you how I feel about being the only blue fox in the world yup it's me the blue fox. When I was born my mom thought that I was sick so she took me to the doctor he said there was nothing wrong with me so I went home. When I got older I went to school it was horrible everyone made fun of me. When I was walking home one day a giant grabbed me and brought me to there house. They put me in a cage in a big room. Then another giant came in and looked at me the held me and hugged. I was a pet now and it was weird. Then I noticed that the giant that was hugging me was blue too! I live with the giant now. I love it.
Doggy Daycare Blues by Kristin W. (3rd Grade, George H. Mitchell Elementary, Bridgewater, MA)
How is a little Chihuahua like me supposed to survive in Doggy Daycare with a dog like Max? He's the meanest German shepherd in Daycare. Minding my own business, I went to lie down on the dog bed. Max pushed me out of the way and jumped on the bed while laughing at me. Later on at lunch, Max's food fell into the water and was no good. Even though Max isn't very nice to me, I pushed my food over and offered to share. Max was surprised by my offer but happy to have some food to eat. After realizing how mean he was to me, Max apologized for the way he had been treating me. That afternoon Max and I played together will all the toys. I said to Max "It was a good day, see you tomorrow." I guess Doggy Daycare wasn't so bad after all. Max and I are now best friends.
~ ~ ~
(*No edits have been done―stories typed as received ** None of the judges had any affiliation with the schools or teachers submitting and judging was done blindly.)
Macy the Lazy Cat by Hope H. (3rd Grade)
A Cat's Tale by Jillian K. (3rd Grade)
Toy Animals by Braeden S. (3rd Grade)
Note to the teachers and librarians from the winning schools: Please have children who placed in 1st through 3rd place pick their choice of prize from the appropriate box in the prizes chart (find it here) and send me their preference, i.e. Amazon or Toys R Us gift card, choice of book etc. Also, please send me your school's mailing address and name of teacher/librarian recipient. If I don't hear from you in the next three days, I'll just pick for the students and mail the prizes.
Prizes and special certificates will be on their way to the winners soon!
Thank you all again! A huge shout out to the wonderful judges for their time and contribution.
Kids, keep writing, reading, and creating!
About the Author
Rosie J. Pova is a prolific children's writer, a wife and a mother of three.
Ever since childhood, Rosie has had a passion for writing and has been fascinated with the power of words. She has written essays, short stories and poetry in Bulgarian and French as a young girl, but as a grown-up, her writing gave way to family, jobs and just life. Until 2004, when she revisited her love for story-making, a few years after becoming a mom.
Rosie is originally from Bulgaria now living in Texas with her husband and three kids. She writes primarily for children of all age groups, as well as poetry.
Rosie dreams of inviting many readers into her make-believe worlds and hopes to touch hearts with her words.
Rosie J. Pova is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.