All 4th and 5th graders are welcome to enter their 75-300 word essays.

First place winners receive:

  • $75 Gift Card

  • A personalized plaque presented at your school

  • Your essay will be published in Austin Family magazine December 2021

First runners-up receive:

  • A personalized plaque presented at your school

  • Your essay will be published in Austin Family magazine December 2021


Contest Rules
• Essays must be 75 to 300 words
• Entries must be submitted no earlier than August 15 and no later than 5 p.m. on October 15, 2021
• Writers must be in the fourth or fifth grade


“You just won a prize to travel anywhere in the universe!”


JUDGES for this year’s contest are from the Austin SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) chapter which is known for its vibrant, dedicated and welcoming community of children’s book writers and illustrators.

Carmen Oliver is the author of the picture book series Bears Make the Best Buddies (Reading, Math, Writing, and Science), A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal, a Junior Library Guild 2019 pick, and the forthcoming picture books The Twilight Library (NorthSouth Books, Fall 2022), and Building an Orchestra of Hope: How Favio Chavez Taught Children to Make Music from Trash (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Spring 2022). In 2014, she founded the Booking Biz, a boutique-style agency that brings award-winning children’s authors and illustrators to schools, libraries, and special events. She lives in Round Rock, TX with her family. Her greatest sources of joy are her kids and grandson.



Bethany Hegedus’ picture books include the award-winning Grandfather Gandhi and Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, both co-written with Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi), as well as Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People: Dr. Maya Angelou,Hard Work But It’s Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter and Huddle Up! Cuddle Up! Her books have been included in numerous “best of” lists such as A Mighty Girl’s Best Books of 2018 and Kirkus’ Best Books of the Year. A former educator, Bethany is an in-demand speaker and mentor who speaks and teaches across the country about writing, creativity, resilience, and privilege. She is also the Founder and Creative Director of The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas and host of The Porchlight podcast, which include writing craft & creativity interviews, as well as the popular Courage to Create series. She graduated from the Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults.

Submit your entry:

Young Writers Contest 2023
Enter essay 75 to 300 words

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