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Announcing the 2nd Annual Kids' Choice KidLit Writing Contest

Hello, friends!!

Did you start to think you may never hear from me again? Have you wondered why I've basically dropped off the face of the planet? Perhaps not... maybe I shouldn't assume that people wonder where I've gone or why I've been so quiet! haha. But I do feel like for the handful of you who feel like I dropped the ball on a few things, I owe you a bit of an explanation.

First of all, an apology. I'm so sorry that I did not host the Kids Write Kidlit contest like I had originally committed to. I had been so excited about the event, to get kids writing and to get authors into virtual visits with these awesome kiddos. I know that some kids are definitely disappointed that this didn't happen. And all I can say is that I am truly sorry and I *hope* to make it happen this year.

Now, for an explanation... my health has not been grand for the last 9 months or so. I have PCOS and was having some really unfortunate side effects that made the summer months really difficult. So I told myself that instead of going with my original plan of hosting the Kids' writing contest in the summer, I would move it to October since a lot of kiddos have fall break then. But as that time approached, my health got even worse. I even had a cancer scare and went through a bunch of testing and some biopsies and a whole heap of worry and stress. Gratefully, I do NOT have cancer, which we confirmed only very recently. But it was a very difficult time and to be honest, I just didn't have it in me to host the kids' writing contest... running competitions just didn't reach the top of my priority list. Spending time with my own kiddos and hubby and focusing on my health is where all my time and energy went. I didn't even write anything new of my own for many, many months. Still haven't really. And while I am sorry for letting you down, I'm so grateful to you all for understanding.

Well... I have felt like I owed you all an explanation, so there that is. I am now doing much better. Still struggling with some health things, but simply knowing it is not cancer is huge and makes all the difference in my mental health. For those of you reading who are also struggling and did not get the good news you were hoping for, I'm so sorry and I feel deeply for you. Sending love and hugs.

Now... I can promise that I am doing so much better now mentally and I will be able to get back on track with this old blog. Starting with this announcement and following up with the amazing #PB23Bunch features which will start back up TOMORROW! Woo Hoo!

So.... now for the actual reason you all came to read this blog. I am ECSTATIC to announce the SECOND annual #KidsChoiceKidLitWritingContest (Yes, the hashtag is still too long, sorry. I will maybe rebrand some time when I have the mental capacity to do so! haha).

If you were part of this event last January, you know it was a BLAST! You also know that we had some hiccups. But I learned a TON and now know how I want to go about this. So here is the low down.

The #KidsChoiceKidLitWritingContest puts KID readers in the driver's seat. The KIDS get to judge your entries and choose their favorites in a series of voting rounds until we crown the winners. It's so fun because pretty much all of the awards, best-of lists, and best sellers are because of the choices adults make. But this contest is all about finding out what Kid Readers love and helping them know just how important their voice is.

How things will work this year (NOTE THAT WE HAVE SOME CHANGES!)

On Wednesday, January 4th, I will post the rules and all of the specific information you will need for THIS year's competition. (It will be slightly different).

You will then have 3 weeks to work on your entries and get them ready to submit.

Then, I will open a GOOGLE FORM through my blog on Thursday, January 26th that will stay open through 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Saturday, January 28th. This is different from last year because it was a lot of work for me to have entries in comments AND in my contact form for those who wanted to keep their work off the internets. So this way, EVERYONE will submit to the same form, and then you will have the CHOICE if you also want to submit it in the comments section for others to read and encourage you.

OPTIONAL: post your story in the comments section on the entry blog post (coming in January) so that everyone can read your story and give you positive feedback while you await the Kids' choices. This is a fun way to build community, but not necessary. Also, the GREAT NEWS is that Wix has fixed their notifications settings, so you will NOT be getting HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of emails when someone comments on the post. HOORAY!!!

I will then take 1 week to divide all the entries into manageable chunks for our kid judges (about 10 entries each). I will send them their first round of entries on February 4th and they will have 2 weeks to read and vote for their favorites.


We will have a middle round of judging for any really close calls. This will be a small set of entries (3 to 5), just to make sure that we know exactly who the kids choose for the final round. Kid judges will receive this set of entires on February 20th and will have 10 days to read and pick their favorites.

Finally, on March 3rd we will announce the 10-12 finalists in each category (as well as the honorable mentions) and the kid judges will receive the link to finalists' stories and have 2 weeks to read and choose their favorites.

Winners of the #KidsChoiceKidLitWritingContest will be announced via my blog on March 20th

This event was SO fun last year, and I cannot wait to do it again. This year, I will be suggesting (NOT requiring) that all entrants make a donation to help get the kid judges a thank you gift for their hard work. More info on how to do that will be included in the info post on January 4th.

For now, I need one thing from the amazing writing community... KID JUDGES! Applications for judges MUST be filled out by a parent/guardian. I am looking for judges in PB, MG, and YA categories and I especially hope to get a diverse panel of judges. Once again, this contest will be fully virtual, so kid judges can come from anywhere in the world, but must speak English since this contest will be hosted in English (apologies for that. I do still hope to find a way to be even more inclusive in the future, but translating right now isn't going to be an option for me... if you have a child who wants to participate but does not speak English and you would be willing to translation for them, I'd be more than happy to make that happen).

***Kids will nee to read (or be read to) a total of about 25 entries (of 200 words or less) over the course of a month and a half as judges. We will be dividing up the work into 3 rounds this year:

- 10 entires in round 1 (over the course of 2 weeks)

- 3 to 5 entires in a "close call" round (over the course of 10 days)

- 10 entries in the final round (over the course of 2 weeks)

* Note: All Kid Judges who provide a mailing address will receive a thank-you gift.

Well, friends. THANK YOU for once again making this possible. I love the community from this event. AND... I can't wait to soon share some GOOD PUBLISHING NEWS that has come as a result of last year's event... For now, let's just say these kid judges know their stuff!


To help spread the word, I'm offering 2 giveaways with this post... one for kid judges and one for future entrants.

  1. All kid judges who apply within one week (between now and December 19th) will be entered to receive a FREE book of their choice, mailed from me, in January.

  2. All writers who subscribe to my blog and comment below by December 19th will be entered to win a FREE PB MS critique from me in January. BONUS entry if you RETWEET THIS TWEET. Second bonus entry if you tag a friend in THIS TWEET

Thank you all for making this possible!! I cannot wait to see what comes from this!!

About Kailei Pew

Kailei Pew is a wife, mother, and children's book author represented by the amazing Emily Forney of Bookends Literary.

Upcoming books include:

THE MONSTER ABOVE THE BED (Clarion/Harper, Fall 2023)

I SEE COLOR (With Valerie Bolling, HarperKids, Winter 2024)

KID-VENTORS (F& F/Macmillan, Spring 2024)


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