Hello wonderful writers! Thank you SO much for your patience as our Kid Judges read through your amazing entries. You will be excited to know that the Kids' Choice KidLit Writing Contest Finalists will be announced TOMORROW NIGHT!!! Woo Hoo! So to get everyone excited, here are some teasers from our kid judges:
PB Teasers from our kid judges:
"I love it so much! I just love it. "
"I do not like the title but I love all of the story."
"Poo makes every story funnier!"
"All of the stories were my favorite!"
"I like it because it's very funny."
"I like it because it's silly."
MG Teasers from our kid judges:
"I loved XXX because it used personification, and I always like when stories make creative things."
"I liked XXX because it had an ominous ending, and it was futuristic or had to do with magic."
"I liked the fifth entry because it had some mystery to it and suspense."
"The top two I picked (XXX and XXX) because I was interested in hearing the rest of the story."
"I thought XXX was the funniest, but the whole story was written and I didn't think it would be interesting any longer than it already is."
"I enjoyed this story a lot. It had a little bit of poem format mixed in which was cool. I love how the story was told and it was pretty entertaining."
"This is one of my favs! It must have took some thought to think about this poem. Very good ideas!"
"XXX hooked me because it made me want to keep reading. I wanted to find out what happened."
YA Teasers from our kid judges:
"LOVED (XXX)! Hint of Dark Shadows Vibes. Also want to know what happens next."
"(XXX) was so deliciously good i loved every but of it. and the ending?! perfect cherry on the top. i definitely want to read what happens next."
"Oh, I LOVED this one. My favorite part was definitely the ending. It was just so perfect, especially because of the story idea that the author had already established."
"I have only two words to say: HECK YES. Okay, I lied; I have more words. This one is my favorite, by far..."
"I really like this one. I love books where the main character is morally grey and not a completely good person..."
"The name of the story is not captivating, but the story is amazing! The hook makes me want to read more. I have so many questions! Very captivating story for a not so captivating name."
Isn't this so exciting??? Reading all of the comments from the young judges has been the BEST! I'm hopeful that I'll be able to share the feedback with the authors... but it's a lot, so we'll see how I get it done.
And now, I want to comment a bit on the nature of this contest, its limitations, and some things to be aware of.
First of all, remember that your writing is worthy. No matter what happens tomorrow, WE NEED YOUR STORIES IN THE WORLD! Keep at it, and never stop pushing towards those dreams.
Now... this contest has some limitations. Unlike other writing contests where one judge (or a group of judges) reads and judges every single entry, that was simply not a possibility for this contest. There was just no way I could ask children to read and rank 200+ entries.
As a reminder, we had:
217 PB entries
42 MG entries
24 YA entries
We had over 150 registered kid judges. Because life happens and they are kids, not all of them were able to participate in the judging after all. And they each only judged one age category. So in the first round, I was able to have 21 groups of 5 kids read 10-11 PB entries each, 4 groups of 10 kids reading 10-11 MG entries, and 2 groups of 7 teens reading 12 YA entries.
Then, they voted for their favorite, and the top choices moved on to the next round. Some groups were surprisingly unanimous and all judges chose the same favorite entry to move on to the finals. Others were split at least partially. Some finalists received 4 votes, and some 3 votes. If there was a tie for the top in one section, it was okay, because I asked the kids to vote for their top 2 choices in the event of a tie.
Then, with the top choice(s) moving on, we had to take it down from 21 1st place PB votes (the number of PB groups that I had) to only 13 PB finalists. (The MG and YA groups got to send on the top 2-5 selections from each judging group). So I had a group of local kids I work with voting on any "tie breakers" (entries that received the same number of votes in round 1). And we ended up with 13 PB finalists, 10 MG finalists, and 8 YA finalists in the end. And they are all amazing!
To have only 31 finalists out of 283 entries means that LOTS of REALLY GOOD entries didn't make it to the final round. And I'm more aware than anyone that things could have been different with just the slightest change...
I grouped the entries randomly. But what if the groups had been slightly different? Or what if one group of judges would have loved an entry that didn't connect with the group it was in?
This is the nature of tournament-style competitions though... Things could have been different with different match-ups, different groups of judges, etc. And it just is what it is.
In the finals, all of the judges in each age group will be reading all of the finalists' entires. So that round will be less variable.
I personally don't think these limitations are necessarily bad. I mean, we got to hear from KID JUDGES and I would never expect a child to read so many entries. So to me, it was worth it to get the kid perspective while making it manageable for them.
I guess what I'm saying is... this is a really unique contest with really unique parameters. So if you don't see your name in the finalist list tomorrow, don't fret. Even with kid judges, this business is so subjective! You've got this. I was blown away by the quality of entries.
And I truly can't wait to see your stories in the world.
If you don't already subscribe to my blog, make sure to subscribe (in the box below) before tomorrow night so you don't miss the big announcement!
About Kailei Pew
Kailei Pew is a wife, mother, and children's book author represented by the amazing Emily Forney of Bookends Literary. She loves writing books that help kids see they can do anything they set their minds to. Kailei's debut middle grade book, KID MADE will be coming to you from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan Summer 2023