2 Weeks until the Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest opens! (Join the fun!)

Two weeks from today, on February 17, I’ll open up this year’s Lent-inspired Catholic Kidlit Writing contest! All the rules and instructions are below, so there’s no need to wait to write your entry!

Then, on the 17th (but not before), go ahead and post your entry in the comments section on the contest blog page (which will be posted on the 17th).

So for now, open a new document, get creative, and have fun!!

You can do it!

What exactly is this contest?


  1. Connect to other Catholic kidlit authors.
  2. Spur creativity!
  3. Get in some fun writing practice.
  4. Learn from other writers who participate.
  5. Encourage the writing of stories told from Catholic tradition/with Catholic values…for kids!
  6. and more!

How it works:

1. Write a 200 word children’s story! Write a poem, a story, a mood piece, whatever comes to mind that relates to Lent in some way. It can be Biblical, contemporary, mainstream, etc. It is welcome to but does not have to reference Catholic theology at all, as long as you follow the Lent-inspired guidelines below. Happy, sad, meditative, whatever you’d like for any kidlit age: board book through young adult. Maximum length: 200 words. To summarize, your piece MUST:

  • Include 0-200 words, (not a word more!), AND
  • Relate to one of the photos included in this post (you must indicate which photo) OR include one of the following Lent-inspired words in your text: purple, sacrifice, or cross, AND
  • Be intended for any kidlit age (0-17), AND
  • Not contradict Catholic values or theology.

NOTE: You do NOT have to be Catholic to participate. This contest is open to all. The story simply must correspond with and be respectful of Catholic values/teaching. Can’t wait to read your story!

2. Between February 17 and February 19, 2021 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, post your response as a comment on the contest blog post (I’ll link it here on Feb 17th). Do NOT post your entry on the page you’re reading now, as it will not be considered.

3. In your comment, please include (see my example post for formatting): 

  • your name
  • the word count of your piece, 
  • the word or image you selected (see instructions),
  • age level of the prize you’d prefer (BB [board book, ages 0-3], PB [picture book, ages 4-8], CB [chapter book], MG [middle grade, ages 8-12], YA [young adult, ages 13-17]),
  • country you’re in, as some prizes are US only, and
  • contact info for if you win a prize (ie. twitter handle, facebook name, or email–sorry I haven’t figured out Instagram yet)

NOTE: One entry per person please.

4. Share, share, share! If you’re reading this far, you’re probably a writer, which means, like me, you probably love reading, especially original work. Let’s share to support and encourage more quality writing in the Catholic kidlit space. Share with your writing groups, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If we get a large response, it may become an annual thing.

5. Comment on this post if you have questions, comments, or just want to say how excited you are!

Judging criteria I’ll be considering:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using your Lent-inspired word or photo
  3. Quality of story – basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  5. Originality – I’d love to see something new brought to the table in this Catholic children’s space! ❤
  6. *Bonus* – I’ll choose the pieces that speak to me most, be they sentimental, sweet, meditative, funny, lyrical, scary, inspiring, or something I haven’t thought of. I’m excited to be surprised!


THANK YOU to the talented professionals who have contributed prizes! This is such an exciting moment, and you are offering your talents and time to make this possible! Your generosity is helping to bring us together and make better Catholic kidlit!

Picture Book manuscript critique from editor Lindsay Schlegel

(Little Lamb Books) – Lindsay Schlegel is a freelance editor with over fifteen years’ experience in a bookstore, literary agency, and a number of publishing houses, including Candlewick Press, Abrams, and Simon & Schuster. She currently serves as editor-at-large for Little Lamb Books, a Christian children’s publisher.

Picture Book manuscript critique from me, Theresa Kiser

Find out more about my manuscript critiques here.

A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors by Theresa Kiser

Introduce babies and toddlers to God’s LOVE through the symbolism of the liturgical colors!

The Lamb’s Gift by Brenda Ramirez

Friendships come in all forms, shapes and colors. In this story, it comes in the form of a little girl and a very special lamb that is dyed an array of colors throughout their journey. This story reminds us that sometimes holding on, is holding back.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Merengue by Brenda Ramirez

Camila is a bright, joyful little girl who loved to dance merengue.  After a devastating accident, she becomes paralyzed from the waist down. However, when she receives her new wheelchair she is in for a big surprise. Discover how Camila learns about herself and what she can do.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Digital copy of award-winning novel The Firebrand Legacy (Book #1 of The Manakor Chronicles) by T.K. Kiser

for ages 10-14, “Best Juvenile Fiction” Gold Winner

These titles from Hillside Education:

  • City of the Golden House by Madeleine Polland
  • Tripods Attack! (Book 1 Young Chesterton Series) by John McNichol
  • The King’s Gambit by John McNichol
  • Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite DeAngeli

A little about Hillside Education, from their website:


“We publish reprints of historical fiction as well as language arts books, and other resources of interest to homeschooling families.”

Check back soon for the contest to officially open!

In the meantime, sign up for my email list to get important updates, and check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic Valentiney Writing Contest in the second week of February for more writing challenge and community!

About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a speaker and award-winning children’s book author of the board book A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors and the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. I love supporting other writers through workshops, writing contests, manuscript critiques, and one-on-one coaching. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.Sign up for emails

Let’s nourish hope & love in young hearts…through books!

How is the writing going so far? Let me know in the comments!

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