Kids Write 4 Kids Pioneers the Inclusion of Youth on Judging Panels for Canadian Writing Contests
Kids Write 4 Kids (KW4K), a Canada-wide creative challenge for students in grades 4-8, has recently unveiled its 2016 judging panel of twelve in preparation for the contest’s March 31st entry deadline. This year KW4K’s judging panel will include winners from last year’s challenge, Faith Emiry and Christopher Smolej, both aged 13, making KW4K the first writing contest in Canada to have youth judges. KW4K’s aim is to widen the opportunities for youth to get involved in the decision-making process and to show them that their opinions matter.
Both KW4K youth judges are published authors who are passionate about writing and want to encourage others to read and write. Emiry, who grew up in Northern Ontario, started out writing stories for her younger sister and is now a published author of Mika’s Fortune, the winning story she wrote for KW4K. The enchanting tale is about a mother and daughter whose lives are spinning out of control, guided by the predictions of the magical fortune cookies. Chris Smolej wrote the wacky adventure story of fast food fighting for freedom called Escape from the Taco Shop. This is Smolej’s first book and it helped him discover his passion for writing and reading, which he hopes to inspire his peers to uncover as well. By participating in the judging, Chris and Faith can represent their generation and do just that, encourage youth to read and write.
“By including youth in decision-making, we foster the communication between the younger and the older generations,” says Ivy Wong, the founder of Kids Write 4 Kids contest. “We have two adult authors, Joyce Grant and Manjusha Pawagi, on our judging panel to give two generations a chance to learn from each other.” Both authors are well acquainted with writing for youth. Manjusha Pawagi recently wrote two children’s books, The Girl Who Hated Books and Pianomania. The former has been published in over 20 languages and was turned into a short animation by the NFB. Joyce Grant is a freelance journalist and author of the Gabby series of picture books. Other judges on the KW4K panel were all avid readers as children. Their love for reading and writing has led them to diverse professions in marketing and communications, law, literary advocacy and even medical writing. By providing youth with opportunities to share their stories and now to choose the best ones, KW4K hopes to help build a generation of adults that love to read and write, and who inspire others to do the same.
About Kids Write 4 Kids
The KW4K annual creative challenge is a non-profit program under Ripple Foundation that runs from October 1st to March 31st. Parents and guardians are encouraged to submit their children’s story of 500-7500 words in length or poetry (minimum of 10 poems). The contest is open to Canadian residents enrolled full-time in a public or private institutional school. Contest rules can be found on the KW4K website http://www.ripplepublishing.ca.
The books of the winning authors are available for download at Apple iBookstore, Amazon Kindle’s Kindle and Kobo eBooks. Printed versions can be purchased from the Amazon Bookstore. Kids Write 4 Kids’ net proceeds are donated to the schools of the winning authors and to charities.