Birthday! Birthday! Honorable Mentions!


You didn’t think we were completely finished, did you?

It was so difficult to choose from all of the creative stories, so we wanted to celebrate a few more with honorable mentions.

Now, before we get to that fun, I want to make a disclaimer. We both have mixed feelings about honorable mentions. They’re LOVELY to receive. But we know that, for those who don’t receive an honorable mention, it might feel even worse than simply not winning to also not win an honorable mention. Please know that there are still way more stories that didn’t receive a prize or an honorable mention, and those stories are full of wonderful writing! So please keep entering these contests!

Oh, and a fun factor in these honorable mentions is our panel of kid judges! We shared the stories with our panel of kids ages 2-12 (after all, we write for them!), and you’ll see their favorites sprinkled throughout.

And now . . .

It’s time to highlight 12 more stories! (These appear in the order they were submitted.)


by Lindsey Hobson (@lindseybhobson)

The jungle was abuzz. A mysterious visitor had arrived!
“It’s a predator,” claimed Cheetah. “Look at those spikes!”
“It’s a bird,” trilled Toucan. “See the green plumage it wears like a crown.”
“Give it space,” Turtle told the curious crew. “It may be too shy to come out of its shell.”
They took a tiny step back and listened.
They took a BIG step back and watched. 
High above the canopy, Monkey was waiting for his chance.
He swung through the trees and snatched up the prickly puzzle. 
Afterall, it was his favorite tropical treat…
A pineapple!

What we loved
We loved the characterization of Cheetah, Toucan, Turtle, and Monkey. We loved the tension. We loved the use of the word puzzle. We loved the funny surprise ending! And great job using five of the words and in a way that felt natural. This story was a favorite among the kid judges.


by Kelsey E. Gross (@kelseyegross)

The “O” twins of Alphabetopolis were inseparable.
They loved the ZOO,
wearing BOOTS,
and the POOL slide… WHOOSH!
They even SNOOZED together.
But then…
At SCHOOL, they were assigned to different classes!
“We’re DOOMED!”
“What will I do without you?”
“…DO?” Her twin paused.
“You could eat brOwnies, instead of COOKIES.”
“And you could wear sparkly shOes, instead of BOOTS,” the first twin replied.
“Okay. Let’s meet at the POOL after SCHOOL.”
“COOL idea!”
They felt less GLOOMY.
On the first day, the twins waved.
“GOODbye … I mean … let’s GO! Bye!”

What we loved: We loved the clever oo theme. It made us smile right away. We loved the wordplay. And we loved the unique main characters.


by Jana Mattern (@MatternJana)

“MORE APPLES!” Evangeline demanded.
She ate applesauce,
apple muffins,
apple pie,
and apple jelly sandwiches.
As long as she had apples, she was happy.
But eventually,
their apple trees became bare,
the stores sold out of apples,
and there was not a single apple left in the world.
“MORE APPLES!” Evangeline demanded.
Her mom offered cookies and cakes and custards.
But Evangeline only wanted apples.
“MORE APPLES!” she demanded.
Then her mom brought her a new piece of fruit.
“Ouch! It feels like a pine cone.”
Evangeline scowled.
She tasted.
She paused.
Finally, she looked up and yelled,

What we loved: We loved the humor. We loved the clever, funny ending. We loved the use of the word pineapple. We loved the relatable caricature of a picky eater.


by Jessica Hinrichs (@JessHinrichs)
You can also read the story on Jessica’s blog.

Turtle yawned, and switched off the lamp.
“Nope!” Monkey switched the lamp back on.
Monkey did crafts and puzzles, munched on cookies, and noisily slurped his milk.
“Seriously?!” Turtle said. “I’m trying to sleep here.” He switched off the lamp.
“And I’m trying to play here.” Monkey switched the lamp on.
“This is a conundrum.” Turtle sighed.
“Let’s compromise.” Monkey suggested. “One game of baseball, then I’ll go to bed.”
Monkey pitched. Turtle swung the bat.
Whoosh! The baseball flew through the air, bonking Monkey smackdab in the noggin.
Monkey snoozed.
Turtle switched off the lamp, smiling slyly. “Finally.”

What we loved: We loved the humor, especially Turtle’s line “Seriously?!” and the dark ending. We loved the characterization. We loved the back and forth between the two characters. We loved how visual the story was. We loved the tension. And this was a favorite of the kid judges.


by Reed Hilton-Eddy (@reedandwriteki1)
You can also read the story on Reed’s blog.

The toilet monster eats everything – it JUST slurped Lucy’s goldfish.
Mom said there is no such thing, but Lucy knew better.
When Lucy needed to pee, she
Leaped with her legs,
Skipped and sang,
Danced a disco
– but eventually, she had to go!
Lucy took a deep breath and flushed.
But before the monster slurped,
she flushed again,
The monster went BUUUUUURP
The toilet went WHOOSH, and the water rose
Tada! Her fish was back!
Lucy’s mom was mad.
Lucy’s mom must be working with the toilet monster.

What we loved: We loved the humor. You made us laugh out loud! We loved the use of slurp and whoosh. And we loved the title.


by Becky Walker (@bwalkerbooks)

First thing this morning, I spilled my milk. I should’ve crawled back into bed. But instead, I walked to school. Then out of nowhere, BOOM! Thunder.

I sloshed my soggy self to the classroom and got ready for Art. We crafted cards. It was fun until POP! The lid shot off my glue bottle and splattered everyone. AAACHOOO! Glitter rained down like confetti…sticky sparkles everywhere. The nightmare continued. INDOOR RECESS! NOOO! We bounced around like caged monkeys. I was about to give up when Suzy handed me a glitter card that read, “I love having you as my teacher.”

What we loved: We loved the playful surprise ending! We loved how relatable the story was.


by Alanna Kemp (@ADKempthewriter)

There’s a raccoon-y in my room-y.
Don’t tell Mom and Dad.
If they knew I let him in,
I think they would be mad.

I called for my cat, Cookies,
To come in from the rain.
Instead a bushy-tailed raccoon
Thought I called his name.

At first I was a little scared.
I know raccoons are wild,
But he stood up on his furry paws,
And I think he actually smiled.

I’ll whoosh him out, I promise,
But first I’ll let him snooze a tad.
There’s a raccoon-y in my roomy-y now,
Don’t tell Mom and Dad.

What we loved: We loved the Shel-Silverstein feel of this poem. We loved the humor. We loved the title. We loved the use of repetition. And we loved the made-up words.


by Kari Gonzalez (@karianngonzale1)

Trimmings. Trappings. SOOOO much decorating. Turtle couldn’t wait for a…
But, every time he tucked in comfy-cozy r
eady to snooze—
Chatty Rabbit showed up with ANOTHER question.
“Would you rather swim or play baseball?”
“Swim. But, excuse me, my nap is waiting.”
“Crafts or puzzles?”
“Cookies or cake?”
“Don’t be cantankerous, Turtle. It’s almost—“
Turtle snapped and blinked in…
“Surprise!” Rabbit cried.
“Happy birthday, Turtle.”
Turtle gazed glassy-eyed at his perfect party.
“What should we do first?” Rabbit yawned.
Turtle wrapped tuckered Rabbit in a warm hug.
“Let’s nap.”

What we loved: We loved the use of extra words in a way that felt natural. They earned their place in the story. We loved the ending. We loved the interplay of two characters. And this was a favorite among the kid judges.


by Amy Miller (@AmyMMiller1)

Turtle swam.
Monkey swang.
Anteater slurped.
Lovebird sang.
Cheetah whooshed.
Hyena laughed.
Meerkat dug.
What about Giraffe?

Lion roared.
Skunk stank.
Snake slithered.
Hippo sank.
Gazelle leaped.
Hyena still laughed.
Frog hopped.
What about Giraffe?

Giraffe doesn’t swim, slurp
Or swing.
Giraffe doesn’t whoosh, dig,
Or sing.
Giraffe doesn’t roar, slither, or sink
He doesn’t leap, hop,
Or stink.
What’s your signature move,
You big Giraffe?
We promise
Nobody’ll laugh.

Quiet Giraffe,
Has been on the scene.
Behind the action,
Hidden between,
Squint and you’ll miss him
Still as a staff,
His “move” is hiding,
That sly Giraffe.

What we loved: We loved the rhythm of the poem. We loved the strong verbs. We loved the rhyme. We loved the playfulness of the characters.


by Ashlee MacCallum (@_ashleedani)
You can also read the story on Ashlee’s blog.

I had a birthday party.
With balloons, cookies, and cake.

I blushed as they sang to me,
And danced to celebrate.

My mom was late again.
Then she didn’t show.
I wished she’d have come, just to say hello.

I opened all my presents.
I got a puzzle and a kite.
I looked out the window,
But saw no cars in sight.

But I’m okay and here’s why-

Grandma hung the banners
And baked my birthday cake.
She loves me every day.
She loves me more than any other.
You have a mom, I have a grandmother.

What we loved: We loved the emotional impact. We loved the voice. We loved that you tackled a difficult topic in an accessible way. We loved the hopeful ending. We loved how this reflected the story many children need.


by Hannah LaGrone (@halforange)
You can also read the story on Hannah’s blog.

Princess Snugglemuffin looked out the window.
Only one red maple leaf remained.
When it fell, WinterFest could begin!
She loved its coziness:
twinkling lights,
knitting, and doing puzzles by the fireplace..
But that leaf
She took a closer look.
The leaf was PINNED on!
She noticed footprints by the tree.
Snugglemuffin confronted Princess Snickerdoodle.
“I did it!” Snickerdoodle admitted. “I’m not ready! I haven’t finished decorating my gingerbread cookies. I burned ten batches and kept starting over.”
“Oh sister, why didn’t you say so?”
Together, they iced the cookies and let the leaf go. WinterFest could begin!

What we loved: We loved the teamwork. We loved the title. We loved the interaction between the two characters. And we loved the world building.


by Magdalyn Laird (age 8)

Monkey monkey, what are you doing? I’m doing art crafts!!
Turtle turtle, what are you doing? I’m slurping some soup!!
Monkey monkey, what’s wrong? No one is playing baseball with me.
Turtle turtle, will you play baseball with monkey? Sorry I like puzzles instead.
Monkey monkey, do you want to do a puzzle with turtle? No, I like swimming.
Turtle turtle, will you swim with monkey? No, I am going to snooze.
Monkey monkey, do you want to snooze? Yeah I am sleepy.
Turtle turtle, monkey will snooze with you! Monkey, come in and sleep.
The End

What we loved: We loved the lyricism and rhythm. We loved the use of extra words in a way that felt natural. This was also a favorite of the kid judges.

There were so many more that we could have highlighted for our favorite elements. These stood out as we continued to reread each entry. Congratulations to these honorable mentions! If anyone spots an error in their winner badge, feel free to email us at writers1123 AT gmail DOT com.

Keep an eye on twitter over the next few weeks. Gennie and I will be posting what we loved about each prize winner’s stories. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read them, you can read them here.

That’s it for today! Keep writing! writing!

2 thoughts on “Birthday! Birthday! Honorable Mentions!

  1. I really love how you gave comments to each Honorable Mention. I wouldn’t have minded to see comments on the winners, too. It’s so nice to see a bit of the judging thought process. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

    1. This is great feedback! Thank you!! And we actually have plans to do something similar for the winners, so stay tuned on twitter for that! Just finalizing a few of the details. So it’s confirming to hear you’d like to see that as well!

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