Bookworm launching children’s writing contest | VailDaily.com

Bookworm launching children’s writing contest

Daily staff report
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Novelist Heather Sappenfield will serve as a judge of the Children's Writing Contest.
Special to the Daily

If you go ...

What: 7th annual Children’s Writing Contest launch.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards.

When: Tonight at 6 p.m.

Cost: $5.00, includes snacks.

Childhood is a time for creativity and self-discovery. Children and young adults have a unique ability to find beauty and magic in the ordinary. This ability also allows them to weave inventive tales of wonder and exploration.

The Bookworm of Edwards, Thursday, launched its seventh annual Children’s Writing Contest. It is open to Eagle County students in grades three through 12. Professional authors and educators judge the short story submissions, and the winners and runners up of each age group are published together in a book called “Ungoverned Children.”

About the Contest

The contest will be open for submissions until March 1 at 5 p.m. with an awards ceremony on April 12.

Novelist Heather Sappenfield, author of “The View from Who I Was” and “Life at the Speed of Us,” hosted this year’s kickoff event. Sappenfield has judged this creative writing event for kids for a couple years., and is excited to see what inspires the 2019 contestants.

“In both years that I’ve judged this contest, I’ve been amazed and heartened by the quality of the stories I’ve read,” Sappenfield said. “They are rich, not only in content, but also in the variety of experiences that arise from our community.”

Most kids do not have a story idea when they sign up for the contest, but the launch often leads to a flurry of ideas for their eventual submission and gives them tools to write more stories in the future.

“So much of children’s experience with writing is academic,” Sappenfield said. “That’s not a bad thing, but to have writing so skewed that direction tends to create a sense of drudgery about writing that then leaks into all the writing they do. Learning to write stories, to write characters, to structure plots, to create settings, to utilize imagery — all of these elements — balance the work of writing academically.”

Sappenfield explained that writing narrative can spark a love for writing in some students that disliked it before.

Nicole Magistro, owner of The Bookworm, has been involved in the contest from its inception. She has seen its growth and the transformation it has on kids who enter and become published authors.

“The children’s writing contest and the publication of students’ stories into a book is the thing I’m most proud of,” Magistro said. “We’re expecting more than 100 entries, and the excitement is already contagious.”