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PBS Kids Writers Contest

Enter The Contest
About The Contest
Prizes and Rules
Meet the Judges

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is for kids who are in Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade or 3rd Grade. Are you in a K-3 Grade? Great! Here's what you'll need to do to submit your entry. Don't forget to ask for help from an adult here if you need it!

  1. First, take a peek at the Prizes and Rules page. Make sure you can enter the Contest. And see what you can win!
  2. Click on the 'find your station' tool below to learn how to enter you local contest.
  3. Review your printed version of the Contest Rules. It has all the information you need to get your story ready to submit!
  4. If you haven't already done so, check out the Read Stories section of the site so you have an idea of what other kids have done in the past. You might get some inspiration!

What is the PBS KIDS Writers Contest and who can enter?

It's a Contest held by many local PBS member stations for kids in K-3rd grade who want to write and illustrate their own stories. If your local PBS station is participating, you can submit your story to your local station for judging, and a chance to win prizes! Plus, everyone who enters gets a Certificate of Achievement. The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is managed by WNED-TV, Buffalo/Toronto and participating local PBS member stations.

When does it start and how do I sign up?

Participating PBS stations hold local PBS KIDS Writers Contests each winter/spring. Please contact your local PBS station to find out if they are running the contest locally. To find your local PBS station, please click on this link. 

Can I see stories from other Contest years to get ideas?

Yes! You can check out stories from previous years by visiting Read Stories section of the site. 

Additional Resources

Check out these AWESOME ACTIVITIES from PBS and Highlights Magazine to help jump start your story writing experience!

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is produced by PBS (the “Contest” or “Promotion”). The Contest begins on or about January 1, 2014 and ends with the announcement of national winners on or about July 1, 2014. Contact your local PBS station for exact local Contest dates. These contest rules are subject to modification by PBS. This promotion is void where prohibited. Sponsored by Public Broadcasting Service (“Sponsor” or “PBS”) located at 2100 Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA 22202.

 

Download the Prizes and Rules PDF
Descargar el PDF Premios y Reglas

Eligibility & Entry Guidelines

  • Entrants must be in kindergarten, first, second or third grade.
  • Children of employees of PBS, PBS stations or their affiliates, sales representatives, subsidiaries or parent companies, advertising/sales promotion agencies, and judges are not eligible.
  • To be eligible, an entrant must be a legal resident of the fifty (50) United States and D.C. (excluding Puerto Rico, USVI and American Samoa).  Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify ineligible entries; such entries will not be returned.
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted; all subsequent entries will be disqualified.
  • Only single author stories qualify (no co-authored stories).
  • Stories can be fact or fiction, and prose or poetry.
  • Any failure to adhere to these Contest Rules may result in disqualification from the contest.
  • No purchase is necessary.

Word Count

  • Kindergarten and first grade stories must have a minimum of 50 words and a maximum of 200 words.
  • Second and third grade stories must have a minimum of 100 words and a maximum of 350 words.
  • The word count includes “a,” “an,” and “the,” but not the words on non-story pages such as the title page or those that enhance the illustrations.
  • Text must be printed or written legibly or typed.
  • Children who cannot write may dictate their story to be printed, written legibly or typed.
  • Text may be integrated into the illustration pages or on separate pages.
  • Non-English text must be translated on the same page and the translated text (English text) must adhere to word count.
  • Invented spelling is accepted.

Format & Illustrations

  • Stories must have at least 5 original, clear and colorful illustrations.
  • Original art can include drawings, collages, and 3-D created by the author or photographs taken by the author.
  • Stories submitted by mail must be created on one side of the paper and numbered on the back of each page.

Official Entry Form

  • Each entry must include the official PBS KIDS Writers Contest Entry Form, with the required signature of a parent/guardian (and, if appropriate, the optional signature of the sponsoring teacher), confirming that the story and art are original, and granting certain rights to the entry materials.
  • The entry form must be complete and legible.

National Judging, Awards & Notification

  • Entries will be judged on originality, creative expression, storytelling and integration of text and illustrations. The sponsoring PBS station will empanel a jury of no fewer than 3 judges to judge local submissions. Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:
  • 40% Creativity and originality of plot and/or themes,
  • 40% Story structure and use of literary devices,
  • 20% Relevance, quality and originality of illustration

Each local PBS station will send its first place winners to the national Contest, where entries will be judged using the criteria outlined above. All decisions of the judges are final and not subject to appeal or review. Any ties will broken using the creativity and originality category. National winners will be notified on or before August 31, 2014. Each national winner’s story will be posted on the Contest Web site at pbskids.org/writerscontest in 2014. National prizes include tablet computers for four (4) first place winners (Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) $200 USD), e-readers (ARV $100 USD) for 4 second place winners, and MP3 players (ARV $75 USD) for 4 third place winners. PBS reserves the right to substitute any prize for a prize of equal or greater value, at the sole discretion of PBS. Prize recipients must allow a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks from notification to delivery. Prizes are not redeemable for cash, non-transferable, and non-substitutable, except at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

Return of Entries

The Contest administrators will make every effort, but are not required, to return mailed entries only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope of an appropriate size. PBS, and or its affiliates, are not responsible for late, lost, stolen, misdirected, damaged, mutilated, incomplete or illegible entries, or postage-due mail.

Rights Associated with Contest

Submission of the Entry Form constitutes permission for PBS to use the participants’ name, likeness, biographical information, information and materials contained in the Entry Form, photographs, and any statements or remarks made about the Contest in advertising and promotion without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law. All entries, and any copyrights therein, become the sole property of PBS. By entering, entrants agree to abide by the above stated rules, and warrant that their entry is their original work and does not infringe upon or violate rights of any third party, and grant to PBS the right to edit, publish, promote, and otherwise use their entry materials without permission, notice or compensation. No royalties will be paid at this or any time.

By submitting an entry and Entry Form, each participant (and parent or guardian) assigns all right, title, and interest in and to the entry and Entry Form to PBS and warrants that the participant (and parent or guardian) have the authority to assign such right, title, and interest. In the event that any applicable law requires certain formalities to be fulfilled to effectuate such grant of rights, each participant (and parent or guardian) agrees to cooperate with PBS to achieve fulfillment of such formalities.

By submitting an Entry Form, each participant (and parent or guardian) agree to be bound by these Contest Rules. Each participant (and parent or guardian) agrees to release and hold PBS, and its employees, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, subsidiaries, parent companies, or other affiliated companies harmless from any and all damages, losses, claims and liabilities arising out of participation in the Contest or resulting from acceptance or claiming of any prize hereunder. PBS reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate, suspend or otherwise cancel the Contest at any time. Income and all other taxes are the responsibility of the prize recipient. PBS is not responsible for any expenses incurred in connection with participation in the Contest.

 

Sponsor: PBS (2100 Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA 22202).

 

Privacy: Unless otherwise specified, any and all information connected in connection with this Contest will be used by Sponsor solely for the purpose of administering the Contest. To understand how PBS uses, stores, manages, and discards private information, visit the PBS privacy policy at: http://www.pbs.org/about/policies/privacy-policy/.


A panel of America's foremost children's authors, illustrators and content experts will serve as honorary judges for the PBS KIDS Writers Contest. The 2014 honorary judges include:

Billy Aronson

judge.baronson.jpg

In addition to being one of the creators of PBS KIDS newest series, PEG + CAT, Billy Aronson is best known for his work in the theater, which includes the original concept/additional lyrics for the Broadway musical "Rent." His plays have been published in six volumes of "Best American Short Plays" and produced across the country. Billy has written for many popular public television programs including PBS KIDS’ "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego," "Reading Rainbow" and "Postcards from Buster," and for Sesame Workshop’s "Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures." His television credits also include scripts for "The Wonder Pets!" (head writer, Emmy Award), "Upside Down Show," "Backyardigans," "Beavis and Butt-head," and "Courage the Cowardly Dog." Billy lives in Brooklyn with his wife Lisa Vogel and their hilarious creations, Jake and Anna.

Lisa Henson

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Lisa Henson is Chief Executive Officer of The Jim Henson Company where she oversees all television and feature film production from early development through post-production. Henson serves as executive producer on the Emmy®- nominated preschool series "Sid the Science Kid," and “Dinosaur Train,” both of which are currently airing daily on PBS KIDS.® Other credits include "Pajanimals," a preschool series featuring four cuddly puppets, and “Doozers,” a new CG animated preschool series inspired by the popular characters from “Fraggle Rock.”

Jennifer Holm

judge.jholm.jpgJENNIFER "WriterGirl" HOLM is one half of the brother-and-sister daring duo behind the award-winning "Babymouse" series. Jennifer writes novels, including three Newbery Honor winners: "Our Only May Amelia," "Penny from Heaven," and "Turtle in Paradise." 

 

Matthew Holm

judge.mholm.jpgMATTHEW "InkBoy" HOLM is the other half of the brother-and-sister daring duo behind the award-winning "Babymouse" series. Matthew is a graphic designer and freelance writer.

 

Jeff Kinney

judge.jeffkinney.jpgJeff Kinney is an online game developer and designer, and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. Jeff was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C. area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts with his wife and their two sons.

Chris Kratt

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Chris Kratt, along with his brother, Martin, is co-founder of The Kratt Brothers Company and co-creator and co-executive producer of the PBS KIDS animated show, WILD KRATTS.  In addition to WILD KRATTS, Chris and Martin have created and produced more than 200 episodes of award-winning children's series including "Kratts' Creatures," "Zobomafoo with the Kratt Brothers" and "Kratt Bros. Be the Creature." Chris has twice been nominated for an Emmy(r) Award for Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series for his work on WILD KRATTS. Chris Kratt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Carleton College and is a Richter Fellow and Watson Fellow.

Martin Kratt

judge.mkratt.jpg Martin Kratt, along with his brother, Chris, is co-founder of The Kratt Brothers Company and co-creator and co-executive producer of the PBS KIDS animated show, WILD KRATTS.  In addition to WILD KRATTS, Chris and Martin have created and produced more than 200 episodes of award-winning children's series including "Kratts' Creatures," "Zobomafoo with the Kratt Brothers" and "Kratt Bros. Be the Creature." Martin has twice been nominated for an Emmy(r) Award for Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series for his work on WILD KRATTS. Martin Kratt is a graduate of Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology.  He was awarded a Jenrette Fellowship to the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill MBA program.

Joseph Mazzarino

judge.jmazzarino.jpgJoseph Mazzarino began working with the Muppets in 1989 and has been performing and writing for "Sesame Street" since 1990. Not only is Mazzarino head writer of "Sesame Street," he also performs a number of characters on the show, including Murray, Stinky the Stinkweed, the Two-Headed Monster, Papa Bear, and one very strange Elephant in a tutu. Mazzarino has also directed several "Sesame Street" episodes. Mazzarino's writing credits include "Sheep in the Big City" and "Bear in the Big Blue House," as well as a feature-length video of the Disney Channel's "Stanley." He has co-written several screenplays, including "Muppets in Space" and "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland." Mazzarino wrote and performed on the first-ever Henson direct-to-video feature, "Kermit's Swamp Years." In 2010, Mazzarino won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series for his performances of Murray, Stinky, and Blogg.

Jennifer Oxley

judge.joxley.jpgJennifer Oxley was born in Hollywood, California and caught the filmmaking bug early – she made her first film at the age of seven. Now, Jennifer is one of the two creators of PBS KIDS newest series, PEG + CAT!  Before her recent success on PBS KIDS, Jennifer directed fifteen short films for "Sesame Street," as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, "Please, Baby, Please." Her most recent film, "The Music Box," was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection.  Her award-winning work in children’s television includes directing and artistic credits. Jennifer is the recipient of an Emmy Award for her role as director on "Little Bill," and she created the look and animation style of "The Wonder Pets!", which recently won an Environmental Media Award and the prestigious Japan Prize. Jennifer finds inspiration for Peg and Cat’s antics every night at home in Brooklyn with her small child and happy cat.

Bob Staake

judge.bstaake.jpgBob Staake has authored and/or illustrated over 50 books, including "The Donut Chef," "Hello Robots," "Look a Book," "This Is Not a Pumpkin," and "Pets Go Pop." The New York Times named Staake's "The Red Lemon" one of the 10 best illustrated book of 2006.


 

Vince Vawter

judge.vvawter.jpg Vince Vawter is the Newbery Honor-winning author of PAPERBOY. A native of Memphis, he retired after a 40-year career in newspapers, most recently as the president and publisher of the Evansville Courier & Press.

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is produced by PBS and is based on the Reading Rainbow ® Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, a concept developed by WNED.  National prizing and promotional considerations provided by LeapFrog® with additional promotional support from Highlights for Children ®. PBS KIDS Privacy Policy

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