AFM 2022 Young Writer’s Contest



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

First place winners receive:

  • Party for the winner and 9 friends at Dave & Busters
  • Most current book releases by Carmen Oliver and Bethany Hedeges
  • A personalized plaque presented at your school
  • Your essay will be published in Austin Family magazine in December 2022

First runners-up receive:

  • A personalized plaque presented at your school
  • Most current book releases by Carmen Oliver and Bethany Hedeges
  • Your essay will be published in Austin Family magazine in December 2022




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 10, 2022
• Writers must be in the fourth or fifth grade


“If I Ruled the World!”

Close your eyes and picture what life would be like if you ruled the world.

What decisions would you make?

What rules would you have for the world?

What would your days be like?

Now, open your eyes and…write!


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 many award-winning picture books for children including A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard, Building an Orchestra of Hope: How Favio Chavez Taught Children to Make Music From Trash, a Junior Library Gold Standard (Oct 25, 2022), and The Twilight Library (Sept 6, 2022). She’s also the author of the Bears Make the Best Buddies series (Reading, Writing, Math, Science). In 2014, Carmen founded the Booking Biz, a boutique-style agency that brings award-winning children’s authors and illustrators to schools, libraries, and special events. She also teaches writing at the Writing Barn and The Highlights Foundation and loves speaking at schools, conferences and festivals. She lives with her family outside of Austin, Texas.


To connect or learn more about Carmen and her books visit or Twitter or Facebook.

Bethany Hegedus’ children’s 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 Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a MockingbirdRise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People: Dr. Maya AngelouHard Work But It’s Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter and Huddle Up! Cuddle Up!–an ode to family, football and bedtime. 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 keynote speaker, workshop leader, and mentor who speaks and teaches across the country about writing, creativity, resilience, and privilege. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA, is the Founder and Creative Director of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat and workshop space in Austin, Texas and is host of the popular Courage to Create podcast and writing community. 

Submit your entry:

Young Writers Contest 2023
Enter essay 75 to 300 words

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