I’ve been searching for writing contests for kids for my daughter and her friend. Many kids, like mine, want to write for an audience; they’d love to be published. This round-up of opportunities might just help give young writers their first chance.
Let me also suggest that you temper your kids’ enthusiasm with a bit of reality. It’s a tricky thing because you don’t want to be a killjoy but you also want your children to understand that good, award-winning writing is hard work and takes dedication. So even when faced with rejection, or not winning, kids need to persevere and keep writing. (Feel free to share stories authors such as Madeline L’Engle, J.K. Rowlings, and Dr. Seuss who were rejected for publishing a lot.)
Also, it’s important that kids read through the past winners or published pieces so they get an idea of what the contest or publication is looking for.
Revision, of course, is essential. You can help by giving kids specific feedback on technique — printable revision tips here. Make sure your story has a story arc. And, proofread a million times to be sure you’re not sending in something with errors!
Check my NanNoWriMo for Kids post for more writing and revision tips.
All that being said, publishing can be a very motivational goal. Encourage your kids to write and apply for opportunities like these. But remind them that failure only means that they haven’t been published YET. Best wishes!
Writing Contests for Kids
ages: 8 – 12
Details: Check the website for deadlines for their spring and fall writing contests. Cash prizes. $15 fee.
ages: K – 6 grade
Details: Monthly winners in an ongoing writing contest. Check the website for details.
ages: not stated
Details: Check the website for new contests.
Neuroscience Kids Poetry Contest
ages: K – 12
Details: Due Feb. 1.
Use the illustration provided to write a story.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
The Scholastic Awards look for work that demonstrates originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal voice or vision.
Magazines and Online Publications for Kids’ Writing
ages: 13 and YOUNGER
Details: This magazine receives a lot of submissions so read through what actually gets published for a better chance. It accepts stories, book reviews, and poems. $3 fee.
ages: 7 to 17
Details: This publication has a multicultural focus. Send in essays, interviews, poems, plays, or short stories. $5 fee. Winners published in their autumn issue.
ages: not stated
Details: This is an Irish publication but accepts entries from anywhere in the world.
Guardian Angel Kids
ages: up to age 14
Details: Themes for submissions here. If your work is accepted (articles, fiction, poetry) then the magazine will own in and will pay you for your work. Just be sure that if your writing is accepted, you don’t post it anywhere else since you will not own it anymore.
ages: 10 – 18
Details: This publication is searching for compelling poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction that paint images with language.
Scholastic News Kids Press Corps
ages: 10 – 14
Apply to be on a team of kid reporters from across the country and around the world covers “news for kids, by kids.” Students ages 10–14 with a passion for telling great stories and discussing issues that matter most to kids are encouraged to apply in the spring for the following school year.
Details: This is an online writing community meant to encourage teen writers to write and share their work. You can post your work and get feedback as well as give feedback to other writers. Contests are posted throughout the year.
Details: This magazine loves SF/fantasy and historical fiction as well as narrative nonfiction about teen topics.
Details: This is an online writing community with a wealth of opportunities for young writers.
Canvas Literary Journal
ages: 13 – 18
Canvas Teen Literary Journal is a quarterly journal that publishes the work of teen writers read and rated by a board of teen editors.
ages: ages 16+
Details: This magazine publishes kid writing but also will publish: drawings, poems, jokes, riddles, tongue twisters, stories, science questions, and book reviews.
More publication opportunities for young writers are listed on this website but this list isn’t always current.
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Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!