The Red Kite – Spring Contest

Author Susanna Leonard Hill is sponsoring a children’s writing contest, in poetry or prose, about “Spring.”  There is a maximum number of 350 words.  And, the last line must be “[Character Name] knew spring was here at last.  Entries should be posted on your blog between Friday, March 15  and Monday, March 19.  And you post-specific link should be added to official “In Just Spring Contest” post.   My word count is 348.

The Red Kite

Tommy flapped his arms and raced up the hill near his home.  The chilly wind blew through his hair and painted his cheeks rosy.  He stopped at the top and thrust his arms towards the sky.  Tommy turned and faced four different directions.

“The wind is just right,” he yelled to his sister, Emma.  “Today is a good day to fly our kite.”

Tommy and Emma ran to the barn and pulled open the door.  Their red kite hung on a post.  They had spent two days assembling the kite frame with sticks and string.  They cut and folded the paper, stretched it over the frame and glued the sides.  The last thing they added was a streaming tail.

“Emma, will you hold the kite so I can attach the string?” asked Tommy.  “Okay, let’s go fly Red.”

“I c-can’t wait to see Red f-fly,” stammered Emma.

They climbed the hill and searched for the perfect spot to catch a breeze.  Tommy handed the kite to Emma and showed her how to place it above her head.  He backed away letting the string slowly unwind until he felt the right amount of tension.

“When I start to run, let the kite go” he instructed Emma. “Ready?”

Emma nodded.  She felt a tug and let go.  The kite lifted into the air.  ZOOM!  ZOOM!  The kite veered to the left and to the right.   It suddenly dove into the ground.  KER-PLUNK!   Emma quickly retrieved the kite.

“It’s f-f-fine,” she called.  “Let me t-t-try.”

Scott held the kite and Emma backed away slowly.  She felt the wind between them support the kite.

“Now, let g-go,” she called to Tommy.  Emma slowly caught a waft of wind and maneuvered the kite’s ascent into the sky with her magic touch.  It rose higher and higher.  She  handed Tommy the kite string.

Tommy felt the power of the wind and the exhilaration of Red soaring amidst the backdrop of a blue sky with billowy clouds.

“We did it Emma!” exclaimed Tommy.  “Red flew.”

“Hooray,” Emma cheered.

Tommy knew spring was here at last!

happy boy flying kite

Ella Elf – Holiday Writing Contest

There is a Holiday Writing Contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website:

dashing through the snow

The Contest Rules:  Write a children’s holiday story beginning with any version of “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh.”  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version “[Verb of your choice] ing through the [any substance you choose] in a [conveyance of any kind].”  For example, “Dashing through the sand in a two-wheeled donkey cart” or  “Sloshing through the swamp in a green and white canoe” or “Flying through the air in a striped hot air balloon…”  You get the idea, I’m sure.  Your children’s story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate. But is not to exceed 350 words.

Ella Elf Watch Yourself

By Patricia Tilton  (250 words)

Flying through Santa’s shop

On a mop she cast a spell,

Ella Elf must stop

Before she rings the bell;

Darting here and there

Midst dolls and candy canes,

What fun it is to ride the air

And tweak the reindeer’s manes!


Ella Elf, Ella Elf

Jingle on your way!

Naughty one you watch yourself,

Or you won’t see Santa’s sleigh!

Ella spies her mop

She mounts for one more ride,

All hear a great big pop

She falls and hurts her pride;

Toys fly from Santa’s sack

Such mischief in the air,

A Teddy bear lands on its back

There’s havoc everywhere!

Ella Elf, Ella Elf,

Jingle on your way!

Naughty one you watch yourself,

Or you won’t see Santa’s sleigh!

Chief Elf yells that’s enough

Of Ella’s pranks and games,

He struts off in a huff

But Ella shows no shame;

Ella looks around

Her eyes meet angry glares,

The other elves take Ella down

And plop her on the stairs!


Ella Elf, Ella Elf,

Jingle on your way,

Naughty one you watch yourself,

Or you won’t see Santa’s sleigh!

Santa stern and cross

Calls Ella to his side,

He lets her know who’s boss

She shrinks and tries to hide;

I’ve been a naughty elf

Not who I want to be,

Please let me show you my kind self

An elf you’ll want to see!


Ella Elf, Ella Elf,

Jingle on your way,

Naughty one you’ve proved yourself,

You’ll ride in Santa’s sleigh!

PiBoIdMo Month Challenge Completed – 12×12 Picture Book Challenge Next…

I just completed Tara Lazar’s very creative PiBoIdMo activity for authors to come up with 30 picture books ideas, (one a day) during November’s Picture Book Month.  I succeeded with 35 ideas, with five or six real strong possibilities.  I found the challenge just what I needed at this time. Procrastination can take over.  As a journalist for 40 years, I know there is nothing like the pressure of a deadline to work wonders with my imagination.

I enjoyed the thoughtful articles posted daily by Tara from authors sharing their experiences with ideas and writing.  The Facebook interaction was terrific.   Such a very supportive community of authors working together to perfect their craft!  But, what struck me the most was the day Tara had 9–year-old Erik, who writes a blog called This Kid Reviews Books,  share what he learned from PiBoIdMo.  Yes Erik, you are right, many of us wish we could think like a kid.  And your comments about the game you played to see how many ideas you could come up with on your way home from school — impressive.  You opened my eyes and I’m looking too!

Tara, it was a great month!  I had a ball and I will look forward to next year’s challenge!

With 35 ideas, it only makes sense to join Julie Hedlund’s challenge 12×12 Picture Books in 2012!   Julie, your timing is perfect.  Again, I will have to commit to drafting 12 picture books ideas (one a month) in the next year.  I hesitated and am among the last to sign up.  But I realize that making the commitment and the deadline pressure will come to my aid once again!  A new challenge in the New Year!  Thanks Julie!

Susanna Hill’s Thanksgiving Contest

They were supposed to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, but the blizzard came in fast.  The wind howled.  The tree creaked.

Papa stockpiled wood inside the burrow.  He stomped his feet and bolted the door.

Papa looked at his shivering brood of three.  “I know you are disappointed, but we are safer in our burrow.”

“What about Grandma’s acorn pie, ” asked Sammy.  His pudgy cheeks quivered and is large glossy eyes brimmed with tears.

“We have plenty of nuts, berries, fruit, seeds and grains to feast upon,” said Mama.  “Why don’t you do your chores.  Be thankful that we’re together.”

Sammy, Teddy and Rose tidied up their nests and swept the burrow.  Sammy wondered what they could do to make Thanksgiving special.

Then Sammy spied a twig resting against the wall inside the burrow.

“Hey Teddy and Rose, I have an idea,” said Sammy.  The three siblings huddled and whispered.  Rose jumped up and down.   The rest of the morning they worked in a corner of the burrow on their idea.

Mama worked all morning preparing their feast.  Papa tended to the fire so that the burrow remained warm.

Sammy carefully placed their centerpiece on the table.

“It’s beautiful!”  Mama gasped.

“It’s our thankful tree,” beamed Sammy.  Tied to the branches were acorns, pine cones, and dried leaves bearing the names, Mama, Papa, Grandma, Sammy, Teddy and Rose.

They heard a rustle in the tunnel and a voice called out,  “Acorn pie anyone?”

“Grandma,”  they chirped.  “We’re thankful you’re here!”

Susanna Leonard Hill is sponsoring a Thanksgiving Writing Contest.  Here are the rules: Post your 250 (or fewer) word kids’ Thanksgiving story, beginning with “They were supposed to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, but the blizzard came in fast…” and add your link to the link list.  The last day to submit is November 24th!  Add your own entry at


Copyright (c) 2011,  Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved

Writing and Art Contest for Teens and Adults with Downs Syndrome

Woodbine House is holding a contest for talented  teen/adult writers and artists  with Downs Syndrome.   Woodbine House says that “many teens and adults with DS are incredibly talented and don’t always receive the recognition they deserve.”   Winners will receive an award and have the opportunity to see their work published in a high quality, full-color book.

Participants must be over 12 years of age, residents of the U.S., Canada or Mexico.  Entries may be submitted in many different categories that include fiction writing, poetry, song lyrics, cartoons, painting, sculptures, embroidery, weaving and other mediums.     For details on contest submission go to    The deadline for entries is Dec. 31, 2011.

If you are a parent, teacher or an interested teen/adult with DS, please pass along the contest formation.

I became familiar with Woodbine House after reviewing a special series of books titled Off We Go!  last April.   I discovered that Woodbine House is a leading publisher of books for children with special needs.  Many of their employees have a personal connection to someone with special needs — a winning combination for all involved.  You can view their books for children, parents, teachers and professionals at: