You’re Invited: 2022 Writing Contest for Catholic Kidlit! (Just for Fun!)

Last year was a TON of fun hosting a writing contest on the site. This year, IT’S BACK and it’s open to EVERYONE! And, as announced last week, we’re less than two weeks away!

The general market has LOTS of contests, LOTS of community, LOTS of publishers, and LOTS of opportunity. The Catholic market (and therefore the Catholic kidlit writing community) has…less, which is no surprise given the small size of our segment.

This year, in honor of my upcoming picture book Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server, the theme is SERVING GOD! Let’s connect and have some fun writing Catholic kidlit!


  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!

Here’s how it will work:

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
  • Include one of the following service-inspired words in your text: serve, sacrifice, or give, 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 March 28 and March 31, 2022 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, post your response as a comment on the contest blog post (I’ll link it here on March 28th). Do NOT post your entry on the page you’re reading now, as it will not be considered.

3. In your comment, please include: 

  • 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 continue as an annual thing.

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

Let’s encourage serving God at Mass, in our homes, and in our communities!
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Judging criteria I’ll be considering:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using your service-inspired word
  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 author Colleen Pressprich

Colleen is a former missionary and former Montessori teacher who seeks to use the lessons learned in the mission field and the classroom to help other families grow their domestic church. She is the author of Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children, the OSV Kids Stations of the Cross, and The Women Doctors of the Church. Colleen lives in Michigan with her husband and children. 

Picture Book manuscript critique from editor Lindsay Schlegel

Lindsay Schlegel is a daughter of God who seeks to encourage, inspire, and lift others up to be all they were created to be through editing, writing, and speaking. Lindsay has over 17 years’ experience in traditional book publishing, having worked at Borders, Candlewick Press, Abrams Books for Young Readers, a boutique literary agency, and Simon & Schuster (children’s division). She is the author of Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: And Other Parenting Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God and co-author of a forthcoming book from Our Sunday Visitor, tentatively titled, Quenching His Thirst: Amplifying the Voice of the Church in Substance Use Disorder Recovery. She’s also the host of the podcast Quote Me with Lindsay Schlegel. Lindsay lives in New Jersey with her family, and would love to connect on social media or at

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!

Candle’s Great Feast by Kristina Lahr

The candle in the deepest, darkest corner of the candle shop longs for more than matching tablecloths. He wants to light a feast, the greatest feast. His dream comes true at his first Catholic Mass.

Learn more about this book on the Catholic Kidlit podcast.

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

I can’t wait to connect with my fellow Catholic kidlit writers and encourage more practiced craft for this important and fulfilling vocation!

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.

I’ll be updating the blog with next steps for the contest, so check back before March 28, or sign up here to get an email when the next contest announcement comes out!

How did it go last year?

In the meantime, check out last year’s contest page to see how it works and read some fabulous entries!

Want to learn more about Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server?

Read about it and pre-order here, coming Fall of 2022.

Pre-order is now available

About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a speaker and award-winning children’s book author of the Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server Series (coming 2022), and the board books Seven Gifts of Baptism and 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.

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

Will you be joining the contest? Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “You’re Invited: 2022 Writing Contest for Catholic Kidlit! (Just for Fun!)

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