As I was loitering at the children’s information desk in the library today, I leafed through a magazine from the Children’s Book Centre they had sitting on the counter. In it I came across details of a contest associated with Children’s Book Week (November 15-22). The contest deadline is December 15th and winners will be announced in April. It is open to kids in grades 2 through 6 and since school is based so firmly on age, I’m assuming you just figure out which grade you kid would be in where s/he in school. Individual kids can enter. They encourage teachers (and librarians) to use this as a basis of activities but it looks like it is not necessary for entries to come through schools. Details can be found here. And there is a link to a PDF of the entry form on that page.
It seems that in this house the deadline imposed by a contest and the possibility of winning a $200 bookstore gift certificate are just the motivation needed to actually work hard on one piece of writing, going through the whole process of revision and so on. After the publishing experience, I should have figured this out sooner. Lots of writing happens but revision needs some external motivation.
With that in mind, I also started to look for other possibilities. The Royal Canadian Legion runs a contest for Remembrance Day, though it is unclear whether homeschoolers are eligible. I’ve e-mailed my local branch to ask, and to find out deadlines. I fear I’ve missed this year, since it is only a month away but maybe next year. I noticed a couple of books of poetry specifically on war and peace recently so a little unit on war poetry that includes writing some of our own might be a good idea.
A quick google search led me to the Canadian Authors Association page on writing contests though it is mostly for adult writers. However, there is a youth category in the local branch contest for young people age 13-17 which isn’t that far off.
This page (at Wordwrights Canada) has some contests but only for 2007-08. There is an interesting one sponsored by Habitat for Humanity (a charity we support) on the meaning of home, deadline November 14th.
This one is not the right age group for us but if you have a child in grade 4 or 5, the World Literacy Council has an annual creative writing program linked to their Write to Read program. I found information on the TVO site.
Folks in Manitoba and Saskatchewan should keep an eye out for this year’s McNally Robinson Dear Canada contest for kids in grades 5 and 6. Last year‘s deadline was in April. And GMAC seems to sponsor a contest with a spring deadline too but there doesn’t seem to be details of this year’s contest yet. A couple of different sources had links to this page, so maybe that’s the place to go when it comes back.
If anyone knows of others, shout out in the comments.