We’re LIVE! Post your story now to join the Lent-inspired Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest! (Just for Fun!)

Helllloooo, writers! I know your pencils are worn down and the wastebasket is full as you’ve been working to write your Lent-inspired story for kids these last few weeks. (If you haven’t written one, THERE’S STILL TIME, but none to waste–open a new document and WRITE!!)

If you’re new, read a little more about how this came about (here) and introduce yourself in the comments on that original post. (We’ll leave the comments on this page for contest entries.)

You’re also welcome to join my email list and follow the blog to be notified when the next writing contest comes available! 🙂

A few notes before you post:

I’ve included a sample entry in the first comment so you can see an example of how to post an entry. This story will obviously not be included in the running for one of the fabulous prizes that have been donated by the Catholic kidlit community (see below).

Please re-read through all the instructions, and make sure you follow them when you post your entry. Posts which do not follow the rules will not be considered.

When you post your entry, there will be a delay before it appears on the site. Do not worry, as it will show up eventually. If you do not see your entry quite close to the deadline, shoot me a message via my contact page.

Let’s support our fellow writers! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Read through the entries, and comment! Let other writers know what you like or admire about their story.
  • Share the contest with other writers who may not know about the opportunity.
  • Feel free to post your entry to your blog so your readers can read it, and check out the blogs of the other entrants and share their posts!

There’s so much value in encouraging and helping each other along the way. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity, and have fun!

Let’s review the rules!


  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. Length: 0-200 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.”

It’s time! Post your story!

Let’s do this! You’ve written, revised, and edited…it’s time to bring your contest entry into the world! I can’t wait to be inspired and enjoy some Lent-inspired Catholic kidlit!

THANK YOU for doing this good work of writing stories of love for children. I believe it is an incredibly important calling.

All people (including our youngest!) deserve reminders of God’s great love. After all, isn’t that what we’re alive to do? Love and be loved? Bless you for using the talents God gave you to fulfill that call.

Again, please be sure to support the writers, authors, and illustrators by checking out their links, buying their books, reviewing them, requesting a purchase from your library, and sharing about their books on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep an eye on the blog for my posting of the winners! It will be at least a week and I can’t promise a specific date for the announcement, so stay tuned!

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!

74 thoughts on “We’re LIVE! Post your story now to join the Lent-inspired Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest! (Just for Fun!)

  1. Theresa Kiser says:



    Every week, 4-year-old Monica skipped into church with her bunny under her arm. She always dashed to her favorite place—the large crucifix that hung in the Narthex. There, she’d stare up at Jesus and hug His feet. But today, as soon as she walked through the doors, something was different. Monica’s smile faded. The crucifix was nowhere to be seen!
    “Where did Jesus go?” she asked her mother, tears forming in her eyes. Covering the cross was a large purple cloth. Monica couldn’t see Jesus’ face, and she couldn’t hug His feet.
    “The crucifix is covered because it will be Good Friday soon, when remember how Jesus died for us.”
    Monica hugged her bunny all through Mass. That week, she couldn’t stop thinking about how glad she would be when she could see Jesus again. Finally, Good Friday came and went. Holy Saturday came and went as well. Then, on Easter Sunday, Monica walked into church with her bunny…
    Monica ran to the crucifix and wrapped her arms around Jesus’ feet. He was back; it was a happy Easter indeed.

    Name: Theresa Kiser
    Word count: 186
    Word or image selected: Purple
    Age level of preferred prize: MG
    Country: US
    Contact: @AuthorTKKiser

  2. Tammy Fernando says:


    Who is this man?
    I know Him! He is the One who created me!
    From my little olive branch, I see Him quiver and quake…
    As do I

    Drops of red fall from His Brow
    And in my red breast I wonder …how?

    I fly past the crowd and see Him stagger and fall
    And I wonder…’Should I call?’
    I chirrup, “I love You!’ and His eyes meet mine
    With love, the cross He bears for all mankind

    Snail-like He leaves a trail of red in His Wake…
    And my red breast cries out, “O, for pity’s sake!”

    Raised on the cross, I perch near the sign
    He is gone – this Creator of mine
    In the dead hush, I feel so sad
    But I know this Jesus will somehow make us glad

    Covered in red from Head to Toe
    My robin redbreast can take no more

    In my nest, my Creator comes to me
    “Don’t be afraid, my friend
    All is well – you will see
    Once again, we shall sing…just you and Me

    Dreams of red give way to cool snow
    He puts me in His Heart and He’ll never let me go.

    Name: Tammy Fernando
    Word Count: 193
    Word or image selected: Jesus crowned with thorns
    Age level of preferred prize: MG
    Country: England, UK
    Contact: tammyfernando48@yahoo.com

  3. Doreen McAvoy says:

    Turtledove’s Lenten Prayer

    Turtledove found Gentle Dove on a branch and fluttered over.
    “What are you doing, Gentle Dove?”
    “I’m praying, Turtledove.”
    “With beads?”
    “Yes, I’m saying a special prayer called the Rosary,” Gentle Dove said. “These are my rosary beads.”
    “Why do you use beads to pray?”
    “The beads help me count the prayers.”
    “Ooh.” Turtledove nodded. “How many prayers are there?”
    “Well, there’s one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be for each mystery—and there are five mysteries in each Rosary.”
    “Mystery?” Turtledove asked.
    “The mysteries highlight special events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. I’m saying the Sorrowful Mysteries for Lent—The Agony in the Garden, The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, and The Crucifixion. Together, they tell the story of how Jesus suffered and died on the Cross for us.
    “Why are they mysteries?
    “They’re called mysteries because we can never fully understand God—but we can grow closer to him when we pray.”
    “I’d like to grow closer to God,” Turtledove said.
    “Would you like to pray the Rosary with me during Lent?” Gentle Dove asked.
    “Then let’s begin. “In the name of the Father…”

    Name: Doreen McAvoy
    Word Count: 200
    Word or image selected: Cross
    Age level of preferred prize: PB
    Country: USA
    Contact: dmcavoy0330@gmail.com

  4. Liz Vicente says:

    My sister, The Saint

    I have a sister. She was born with a potentially fatal condition. In the beginning, I didn’t really understand why Mom would willingly put herself through a pregnancy when the doctors weren’t even sure if the baby would survive. But Mom went through with the pregnancy anyway, praying, no doubt, for a happy outcome. The nursery was prepped and all the baby clothes were neatly folded into drawers.

    On a crisp fall morning, my sister was born. She was born, baptized and gone in the blink of an eye. I felt such sadness for Mom. Her prayers seemed to have gone unanswered.

    I caught her one day standing in the doorway of the now empty nursery and asked “Why do it mom? Why go through a pregnancy if…” As my voice trailed off, Mom wrapped her arm around me, and with tears in her eyes and a slight smile, she calmly responded “Because honey, ‘No one has greater love than this, than to lay one’s life down for one’s friends’. Christ sacrificed all of Himself out of love for me and I will sacrifice all of myself for my children…no matter how much time God gives me with them.”

    Name: Liz Vicente
    Word count: 200
    Word or image: Sacrifice
    Age level of prize: PB
    Country: Canada
    Contact: elizabeth.vicente@gmail.com

    • Tammy Fernando says:

      Wow Liz,
      Your’s is such a touching story. It gave me ‘goose bumps’ …as we say in England. It sounded like a personal story…everything felt so real…the characters…the emotions. Wonderful.

      • Liz Vicente says:

        Thank you so much Tammy! This is the first time I’ve participated in any writing contest so this was huge for me 🙂 …and yes, it is a personal story…I said goodbye to my daughter in 2015 ❤

      • Tammy Fernando says:

        Dear Liz,
        I am sorry that you had to say goodbye to your darling daughter. Thank God that one day we will all be reunited for eternity. Thank you for being so vulnerable and for sharing this precious time from your life. You are a brave woman. God bless you.
        Tammy xxx

    • Doreen McAvoy says:

      Liz-I can’t help but see the parallel between the mom’s sacrifice for her daughter and God’s sacrifice of His Son. Both loved their children so much. What a beautiful Lenten message.

    • Rose of Sharon says:

      The theme of sacrifice is powerfully presented in your piece! You do an excellent job of showing that true love involves sacrifice. And I love how you directly parallel Jesus’ sacrifice with the mother’s sacrifice. You have a captivating title, and the last line helps us remember that all children are a gift from God. Thank you for sharing a story so close to your heart. My prayers go out to you and your family.
      Rose of Sharon

  5. seschipper says:

    P is for Purple and Purple is For Lent

    Lent is a very special time of year. Lent comes once a year in late winter and early spring. During Lent we think about how much Jesus loves us.

    Did you know there is a special color that we see during Lent? It is the color purple! Purple can be a symbol of many things during Lent. The Bible tells us the garment that the guards put on Jesus before his crucifixion was purple. Purple reminds us of the pain and suffering Jesus underwent for us.

    Purple is also the color of royalty. It is a King’s color! It tells us of Jesus’ resurrection that is celebrated on Easter Sunday! Jesus is our King!

    Throughout Lent you can look for purple all around you. Spring flowers like crocuses, irises, lilacs and hyacinths are purple. At mass, look at the color of the vestments the priest wears. They are purple!

    Purple reminds us of praising and praying to Jesus!
    As you celebrate the season of Lent, ask yourself “What does the color purple say to me?”

    Name: Susan E. Schipper
    Word Count: 184
    Image/Word: Purple
    Age: PB
    Country: US
    Contact: Seschipper@comcast.net

  6. Rose of Sharon says:

    The King

    Within a cave of winter cold,
    A newborn King gets gift of gold.
    The babe is our Lord,
    Who escaped the sword,
    Because his dad does what he’s told.

    The King grows up and fasts and prays,
    Within the desert, forty days.
    Temptation then came,
    But he beat the game,
    Because he minds The Father’s ways.

    The King does heal and teach and feed,
    He’s hailed with palms; beaten with reed.
    The crowd screams, Yes, kill!
    Then his blood does spill,
    Because of fear and hate and greed.

    The King is slain and put in grave,
    By everyone he came to save.
    And though he is dead,
    There’s nothing to dread,
    Because he rose and us forgave!

    Within a Lent of winter cold,
    Let’s rend our hearts; do what we’re told.
    We’ll fast, and we’ll pray,
    Forgive the wrong way,
    And give The King our gifts of gold.

    Name: Rose of Sharon
    Word count: 148
    Word or image selected: Jesus in Stained Glass
    Age level of preferred prize: Picture Book
    Country: US
    Contact: RoseofSharonWrites@gmail.com

  7. Lynn Grace Wong says:

    The Miracle Man

    Do you know him? The Miracle Man?
    My playmate, I think, was pulling my leg.
    A story of his lunch, two fish and five loaves…
    Broken and blessed, feeding five thousand.

    Please sir, point him out to me.
    The grown-ups, they said…
    ‘Your mama is sleeping.’
    Can the Miracle Man help Papa and me?

    Night comes… Still no luck!
    My tears water an olive tree.
    Who’s there? A man. His sweat like blood.
    He, too, needs the Miracle Man.

    “Not my will but yours be done,” prays the man.
    I’m not as brave as he.
    I want my Mama.
    My will be done! I run.

    The crowd overflows. I’m lost. I cry.
    Please, doesn’t anybody know the Miracle Man?
    A lady in blue, she takes my hand.
    “Come, my child. Let me take you to my son.”

    His mother weeps.
    The man from the garden, the Miracle Man.
    Broken like bread…
    Given up for me.

    I fall to my knees.
    I love my mama so much, but Your will be done.
    He smiles. Peace, gentle as a dove, comes.
    He must be more than just a man.

    [Art: Wordless spread. Child reunited with healed mother. Risen Christ with Mary.]

    Name: Lynn Grace Wong
    Word count: 200
    Word or image selected: Cross
    Age level of preferred prize: PB
    Country: US
    Contact: @lynngracewong

  8. Kristine Jenkins says:

    “RUN! We’re going to get hit by a rocket,” Sammy yelled as he started to sprint. His older brother stood and stared at the sky, watching something hurtle towards them.
    “No,” Kaden replied thoughtfully, “I think it’s a dragon.” Sammy stopped short and turned to look up as his brother continued. “It’s purple, and a bit odd shaped. Rockets are cylindrical.” Sammy threw his hands up in the air. “Who cares if it’s sill-win-dry-cull? It’s STILL going to HIT US! RUN!”
    Just then, a few white puffs appeared in the sky, and started to accelerate quickly toward them. They ran twenty yards in twelve seconds and looked back. The spot they had just been standing in was now occupied by a small purple dragon, surrounded by popcorn.
    “I’m getting ready for an important journey,” the dragon told them, and then let out the loudest belch they had ever heard. They watched as corn kernels hit his burping flame and exploded into popcorn. “But I can’t do it alone. My messenger said I’d find you here, and there was no one better to teach me about sacrifice than two brothers. Will you help me train over the next forty days?”

    Name: Kristine Neumayer Jenkins
    Word count: 199
    Prompt Selected: Purple
    Age level of preferred prize: YA
    Country: US
    Contact: @kristine717

    • Tammy Fernando says:

      What an lovely & amazing story Kristine! I love it…You have got me hooked….I want to read more about this purple dragon!

    • Rose of Sharon says:

      I so enjoyed reading the start of what I presume is a middle-grade story. “Run! We’re going to get hit by a rocket,” truly grabbed me and made me curious as to what would happen next. You also do an excellent job showing and not telling in the first paragraph about the two brothers and their different personalities. The humor of the fire-belch popping the corn kernels was a fun bonus. I want to join them and the dragon on this 40-day adventure!
      Rose of Sharon

    • Theresa Kiser says:

      How imaginative and fun! I enjoyed the “small purple dragon, surrounded by popcorn” line! Very clever use of one of the keywords, and can I just say: I’m so glad a dragon got into one of these stories! 😉 “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

  9. seschipper says:

    Hi Theresa!

    I was wondering if the winners were announced and I missed the email?

    Thanks again for providing this opportunity to “hone” our skills! I enjoyed reading all of the submissions as well!


    Susan Schipper ❤

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
    Get Outlook for Android


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