I hope you are doing well. Perhaps it feels like this moment took forever. Perhaps you wondered if we would ever get to this point. But let me tell you, from the other side of things, this month and a half FLEW by so quickly!
The kid and teen judges this year have been absolutely AMAZING. And let me tell you, they took their job very seriously. They have been through two rounds of judging already and just received this final set!!!
Right now, I am in the process of preparing thank you gifts for each judge. I'm going to be able to send books thanks to a very helpful teacher and the Scholastic Book Clubs. I need just a tiny bit more money to make it all possible, especially with the cost of shipping. If you are able and want to help give these awesome kiddos a huge THANK YOU, I would very much appreciate if you could consider giving a donation. No amount is too small! You can donate $5-$25 through my shop, or you can venmo me @Kailei-Pew. Thank you for considering.
Before we reveal the finalists, I just want to remind everyone of what my friend Ebony Lynn Mudd always says... YOUR ART IS THE PRIZE. I hope you are so proud of yourself for putting yourself out there! You got your work in front of real kids and that alone is amazing. I am proud of each and every one of you. No matter what happens, allow yourself to feel those feelings, and then keep going. The world needs your stories!!!
I do also want to mention that there are known limitations to this contest. With so many entrants, it is impossible to have all of the kid judges read every single entry. We had two different rounds this year prior to the finals to ensure that everyone had their best shot. That said, you never know what a kid is going to like (and let's be real--their preferences can change from day to day even). You don't know if your book had been in front of a different group if things would have been different. I divide up the entries randomly and assign each group of kid judges randomly, but again, each group seems to enjoy different things. Some entries that seemed extremely promising in round 1 (and received a good number of votes) didn't receive a single vote in round 2 up against a different group of kids. It just is what it is. So like everything in this business (are you sick of hearing this yet), it really IS subjective. And truly, I KNOW that can be so hard to hear and we get to a point where we never want to hear the word "subjective" again. But it is TRUE.
So honestly, no matter what, remember the subjectivity, remember that your art is the prize, and keep on writing.
And now... the moment we have all been waiting for! Announcing the 2023 #KidsChoiceKidLitWritingContest Finalists and Honorable Mentions!! If you are a Finalist or receive an Honorable Mention, there are graphics at the bottom of this post that you can download and use on social media, your website, etc.
Now... In no particular order....
TRAPPED by Melissa J Miles
STALE AIR by Caz Scales
DAYS OF DESTINY by Karlein Kwong
ARTIFICIAL INCOME by Kate DeMaio
THE TIMELESS GIFT by Sabrina Shah
DON’T JUDGE A REAPER BY HIS SYTHE by Bethany Walker
THE LIES WE SELL by Kari Ann Gonzalez
VANISHED by Sarah Meade
THE PERKS OF BEING A FIFTH GRADER by Rita D. Russell
THE GLITCH by Sara Kruger
THE NOTE by Yessi Robles Holm
THE MIRROR TO A THOUSAND MINDS by Melanie Rowsell-Docherty
ONE OF US by Emily Keifer
STAINE by Courtney Moore
MAYBE IT’S MAGIC by Laurie Smith Murphy
This House NOT For Sale by Scott Wolf
THE MAILBOX – Stepping Out of the Shadows by Chris Garcia-Halenar
EARTH SCHOOLS ARE EASY by Rowena Zahnrei
THE NOT FRIENDS PLAYDATE by Jennifer Cowan
A PERFECT PLAN FOR GETTING A DOG by Lynne Marie
ALIEN'S PERFECT PET by Bri Lawyer
NOT MY ORDER by Melissa Hope
A BAD GUY FIGHTING A ZOMBIE by Ellen Meeks
COUCHBOY by Hollie Wolverton
A DOG'S GUIDE: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HUMAN By Maura Lance
I DON'T KNOW by Kevin Treaccar
FARTS MAKE YOU SMART by Tunisia Williams
BEING YOU AND ME by Heather Kinser
BIRDS IN SPACE by Christine Alemshah
GROUND HOG DAY OFF by Trenise Ferreira
All of the finalist are now in the last round of judging. Our kid and teen judges will read and vote on this next set over the next 2 weeks and the winners will be announced around March 17th. Winners will then take turns choosing from our list of prizes!
And now, our Honorable Mention list! These are books that multiple kid judges specifically mentioned but that didn't quite receive enough votes to make it on to the finals.
YA HONORABLE MENTIONS
MURDER IN THE SWAMP by S.E. Reed
FIRST KISS by Lori Keating
WRITTEN INHERITANCE by Kathryn Faye
REACHING by Cody Hoskisson
THE TROUBLE WITH CHLOE AND OLIVIA By Carrie Karnes-Fannin
CHASING A GHOST by Dedra Davis
YEAR 2050 by Eric Herrington
THE PAINTER by Stephen Daly
MG HONORABLE MENTIONS
NEWTON’S NOVELTIES by Jamie Krakover
BOY PATRIOT by Tanya Pfeiffer
THEY CAME FROM THE SEA by Alyssa Alessi
MY LISTENING STONE by Charles Fischer
GONE by Deborah Ishii
THE WISHES by Jason Peterson
BLADDERWORT by Sondra Eby
NIKKI VERMA AND THE EVIL EYE by Rush Dighe
POODLES WITH A PURPOSE by Janice Kay Alexander
PAYBACKS by Danielle Terkhanian
THE UNWANTED PRINCE by Hallie Christensen
ACCIDENTAL BULLY by Ida George
KENDRA RIBOSI AND THE CURSE OF THE MOON by Tim Kreher
PB HONORABLE MENTIONS
I LOVE YOU FOREVER AND EVER by Sheila Colón-Bagley
COPS AND ROBBERS: A BATTLE FOR THE END by Abigail Mumford
PETE’S MONSTER PROBLEM by Jennifer Taylor
ANT BAND by Sandra Martin
RONIN'S MISSION: THE TRUE STORY OF A HERORAT by Hannah Roy LaGrone
NO CAN BE A GOOD THING by Adriana Gutierrez
SUPER SALE by Daniella Kaufman
THE THREE LITTLE PIGS AND THE BIG BAD STENCH by Elizabeth Muster
BOOGIE by Emily Holewczynski
SILLY SWITCH by Jennie Heydt
THE TALE OF TWO CHIPS by Cheryl Simon
READY FOR RECESS by Brian N Burak
ASPARAGHOSTS by Phaea Crede
HOW FAR IS ALMOST THERE by Mary Helen Berg
A DOG NAMED CHEW by Robin Currie
To all of our Finalists and Honorable Mention Recipients, a HUGE congrats! I hope you shout this out on social media. Please tag me (@KaileiPew on Twitter and @KaileiPewBooks on IG so that I can celebrate you a well).
To everyone. please know that LOTS of entries got votes from at least one or two judges, but didn't make either of these lists. There were so many entries that it's just impossible to call out every single book that at least one kid chose as their favorite. But how cool is that to know that YOUR BOOK will be someone's favorite some day! Keep plugging friends.
Finally, thank you SO much to every single person who entered. I am so grateful to you and I hope this contest will become a favorite over the years. Make sure to subscribe to my blog so you don't miss out on future Kids' Choice Contests!
Click the image to Download a Finalist Badge:
Click the image to Download an Honorable Mention Badge:
About Kailei Pew
Kailei Pew is a wife, mother, and children's book author represented by the amazing Emily Forney of Bookends Literary. She is the founder of the Kids' Choice KidLit Writing Contest and the co-founder (with Ebony Lynn Mudd) of the PB Rising Stars picture book mentorship.
Upcoming books include:
THE MONSTER ABOVE THE BED (Clarion/Harper, Fall 2023)
I SEE COLOR (With Valerie Bolling, HarperKids, Winter 2024)
KID-VENTORS (Feiwel & Friends /Macmillan, Spring 2024)