The 2022 Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest is Officially Open!

It’s time! Take a look at the prompt below and post your story in the comments to be considered for one of the fabulous prizes donated by authors and editors to support the creation of more Catholic kidlit!

To review how and why we’re doing this: 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!

GOALS:

  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 blog post you are reading now.

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 Pexels.com

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!

Prizes:

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 lindsayschlegel.com

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.

The contest is now LIVE! Go ahead and post your entry below to participate 🙂


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!


Submit your story below in the comments to enter! Good luck! 🙂

20 thoughts on “The 2022 Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest is Officially Open!

  1. seschipper says:

    Susan E. Schipper
    WC: 184
    Word Selected: “Give”
    Age Level: PB ages 4-8
    Country : USA
    Contact Information: Twitter @seschippersusan,
    FB Susan Ulmer Schipper, email seschipper@comcast.net

    The Gift of Giving

    “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

    Gifts make us feel very special. It makes us feel happy when someone thinks of us and gets a gift just for us!

    The Holy Bible teaches us that even though we like to receive gifts, giving to others is much more important than receiving. When we think of others and give to them, God blesses us. Often, during the season of Lent, we focus on the gift of giving.

    When we only think about ourselves and getting more things, we become selfish. We could begin to ignore other people and what they may need. However, when we put the good of others above what we want, it becomes something very special! It means we are unselfish. Being unselfish is thinking about others and how we can help them.

    When we help others, God helps us! Giving to others helps us spread God’s love in a simple but very, very wonderful way.

    Would you like to try giving to someone else, especially during Lent? See how happy it makes you feel!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. thewholedomesticchurch says:

    Name: Ann Johnson
    WC: 200
    Word: Sacrifice
    Level: CB Middle grades
    Country: US
    Contact: acjohnson@alumni.nd.edu

    There. She caught it again. A little glimmer out of the corner of her eye that she had seen off and on for the past few weeks, but finally, finally, she’d caught it in her full view. It wasn’t ideal that she’d finally gotten a firm look at it in the middle of Mass, but even though she was trying to work on being more obedient this Lent, she’d just have to risk getting the evil eye from her grandma. She needed to see it.

    She focused her attention on the glimmer, which had shifted into a haze, and wondered whether she’d made a mistake. She tended to make decisions without thinking, as her grandmother always reminded her, and the fact that those decisions tended to be bad ones was the story of her young life.

    As a hazy celestial being started to take form in midair in front of her, she realized that she hadn’t actually made this decision; it had been made for her. As someone who’d had many sacrifices thrust upon her, the warmth and love that encompassed her as she made eye contact with the ethereal figure in front of her was completely unexpected . . . and new.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emily J. Robinson says:

    Name: Emily J. Robinson
    Word Count: 118
    Word Selected: Sacrifice
    Age level preferred: BB
    Country: US
    Contact info: EmilyJRobinson7415@gmail.com

    Mom gave up sleep to make sure all her children were properly fed.
    Mom gave up time with us to keep a roof over our heads.

    Mom gave up her dignity to protect us from hard truths.
    Mom gave up her own dreams to help make ours come true.

    She did this every day and yet every year during Lent
    She chose something more to give, when all of her seemed spent

    She’d sacrifice a soda and instead say a prayer
    And when you saw someone smiling, you knew Mom was there

    She wasn’t a model of great faith,
    Just a simple, joyful mother

    But she showed us what love looks like:
    Making sacrifices for each other.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jen says:

    Name: Jen Sanders
    Word Count: 198
    Word Selected: Sacrifice
    Age level preferred: I’m Open 🙂
    Country: US
    Contact info: jen.b.sanders@gmail.com

    “I can’t see” the boy muttered pushing the crowd.
    The shouting, the jeering, it all seemed so loud.
    A quick glimpse saw a mother wiping a tear.
    Surely, she knew her son’s time was near.
    The man nearest him pulled to help this poor stranger.
    The boy scampered along undeterred by the danger.
    A brave woman wiped tears from His face.
    The stranger even stopped to give others comfort and grace.
    This man was different, the boy was sure.
    As he climbed up the hill with much more to endure.
    Even placed on the cross the strangers’ eyes held only love.
    “Today I will be with my Father above”
    “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”
    The boy gasped knowing the stories were true.
    This was the Messiah, the man sent to save us.
    But here with him now his sacrifice seemed hopeless.
    The man breathed His last, tears overcame.
    As the boy only hoped to know His name.
    “Jesus” a soldier said, sadness in his eyes.
    “And we’re told in 3 days that He will arise”
    The boy filled with new hope walked slowly away.
    For he knew he had met his Savior that day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jen Sanders says:

    Name: Jen Sanders
    Word Count: 197
    Word Selected: Sacrifice
    Age level preferred: I’m open 🙂
    Country: US
    Contact info: jen.b.sanders@gmail.com

    “I can’t see” the boy muttered pushing the crowd.
    The shouting, the jeering, it all seemed so loud.
    A quick glimpse saw a mother wiping a tear.
    Surely, she knew her son’s time was near.
    The man nearest him pulled to help this poor stranger.
    The boy scampered along undeterred by the danger.
    A brave woman wiped tears from His face.
    The stranger even stopped to give others comfort and grace.
    This man was different, the boy was sure.
    As he climbed up the hill with much more to endure.
    Even placed on the cross the strangers’ eyes held only love.
    “Today I will be with my Father above”
    “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”
    The boy gasped knowing the stories were true.
    There was a Messiah a man sent to save us.
    But here with him now his sacrifice seemed hopeless.
    The man breathed His last, tears overcame.
    As the boy only hoped to know His name.
    “Jesus” a soldier said, sadness in his eyes.
    “And we’re told in 3 days that He will arise”
    The boy filled with new hope walked slowly away.
    For he knew he had met his Savior that day.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Rose of Sharon says:

    I really enjoyed reading all of this year’s entries. Shout out to Theresa for putting together another fantastic contest!
    Grace-filled blessings to all on this journey of nourishing young souls via the written word.

    Like

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