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!
If the classic picture book structure is your favorite and you want to stick with it, make sure you hit all the important points when drafting your story. Here's an easy model to follow – apply it to your manuscript spread by spread, find what's missing or where your pace is disturbed, then modify, mold, and master!
[For a 32-page picture book, you'll have fourteen spreads in which to fit your story.]
1. Introduce your main character (MC) and show us something interesting or special about him/her: skills, quirks, relationships etc. This is also where you set the expectation of tone, type of story, and voice.
2. Establish the MC's normal world. What's the setting? Does the setting play a special role in your story?
3. Develop MC even further. What does he/she want? You might introduce a secondary character.
4. Inciting incident: something happens that disturbs the "normal" and prompts the MC to take action. The MC needs to do something about it, either to restore the balance or to take a step toward their goal/desire that they've had at the beginning.
5. First try: MC fails and the situation gets worse. This failure also brings a little change in him/her. It helps the MC learn more about the world or himself.
6. Second try: MC fails again. Tension escalates. MC has a bit of a different perspective. He learns something from this failure, too.
7. Third try: MC fails once again. This time it seems like all is lost and there's no way out of the mess.
8. MC reflects on the situation and contemplates his next move. MC gets past the defeat, finds hope, and the motivation to try again.
9. MC gathers his/her strength and skills learned from previous experience and makes a decision to solve his/her problem in a different way.
10. The preparation: does the MC need to gather supplies, resources or dig deeper to ensure success this time?
11. Final battle. The MC makes the biggest effort here, using all of his/her previous lessons learned and new resources.
12. MC wins! He/she solves the problem. You can use a twist, a surprise, or a clever solution here. The most important thing is that no one else solves the problem for your MC. It should not feel like a coincidence, either. The more original this part is, the more of the "golden factor" your book will have. Don't use the first idea that comes to mind. Search further and think outside-the-box.
13. A satisfying ending. MC might not get exactly what he/she wanted, but what they need. Tie it back to the beginning.
14. MC is changed as a result of his journey. Show the "new normal" for your MC with a hint of what the future might look like for them. Finish on a positive, hopeful or humorous note, depending on the tone and type of story. Make sure it matches what you've established for the story's world from the get-go.
That's it! There's some wiggle room here and there, but overall this model should give you some guidance on how to develop your classic structured picture book.
This is only the frame to get you started with your draft. As for the rest of the elements that make for a great picture book, like an original idea, vocabulary, voice, literary devices, imagery, page turns, illustration potential etc., those are subject to future posts.
Leave a comment and share your biggest challenges, advice or thoughts on crafting your classic structured picture book.
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.