May Winners

Lemony Snicket

Grades K-2 (Level I)

A cliff-hanger is a part of a story that leaves the reader in suspense about what will happen next. We want you to write about yourself or a character that is having a particularly nice day and is walking to the park to meet a friend. What could possibly go wrong? Something does! Write about two things that go wrong on your walk and at the park. These things leave you or the friend in terrible danger. Write about the danger, but don't give us a happy ending—or any ending at all.

  • Winner
    Walking to the Park on a Sunny Day
    by Isabella C.
    Wilmette, IL

Grades 3-5 (Level II)

Though Lemony Snicket shares seemingly endless stories of tragedy concerning Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, he is also generous in his description of the talents that each of the Baudelaire orphans possess. Violet, the eldest, particularly excels at inventing things and is often able to do so with whatever materials are on hand. How inventive are you? Write a description of an invention that you would make in order to protect yourself or a loved one from coming to harm—which is a phrase that means getting hurt from a dangerous situation.

  • Winner
    The Big Brick Banger
    by Sarah F.
    San Francisco, CA

Grades 9-12 (Level IV)

Assuming Lemony Snicket's identity does have its benefits. Daniel Handler wrote in The New York Times, "I have a lot of money. I've acquired it by writing children's books about terrible things happening to orphans, and this seems like such a crazy and possibly monstrous way of acquiring money that I give a lot of it away."

In this prompt, we ask you to develop a project on behalf of a cause and write to a potential benefactor or foundation. It should include information about you and who you are helping, a description of your project, and what you need to make it successful. You should also include who, if anyone will help you carry out the project, and a timetable.

Steven Kellogg

Grades K-2 (Level I)

In Steven Kellogg's book Best Friends, best friends Kathy and Louise share and do everything together. Fun, secrets, happiness, and sorrows are all better when shared with a buddy or pal. Think about a special friend you have. What does your friend look like? What do you like to do together? Write a descriptive paragraph about your friend that includes three facts about your friend. Be sure to include an illustration of you and your friend having fun together!

  • Winner
    Isabella C.
    Wilmette, IL

Grades 3-5 (Level II)

Steven Kellogg retells the classic tale sometimes known as Henny Penny or Chicken Licken in his book Chicken Little. In his version, Chicken Little and her fowl friends never said "the sky is falling," but shrieked, cried, and squawked about it. Kellogg replaced the often overused word "said" with more descriptive synonyms. There are really a great many words that are so tired or overused that they should be retired or considered "dead." Let the dead words rest in peace when you write your own retelling of "The Three Bears."

  • Winner
    Rosie Locks and the Three Little Bears
    by Rose S.
    Los Angeles, CA

Grades 6-8 (Level III)

In this video interview, Steven Kellogg told Reading Rockets, "One of the things I love about the tall tale drama in American literature is that the tall tale heroes are our mythology; they capture the spirit of the American imagination and American creativity." Spin us a tall tale about a conquering hero or heroine on a new frontier — the moon! Even though a tall tale isn't true, the story should be told as if your hero's adventures really happened.

Grades 9-12 (Level IV)

"A Second Arm," Episode 11 of the Exquisite Corpse Adventure, takes us underwater with Joe who is trying to recover a lost key. Raised in a circus, Joe has had an unusual education that included on the required reading list a book by Houdini. Joe's recollection of Houdini's underwater survival tips helps him to stay alive during his visit to the sea floor where he does find the key (and much more)! Whether or not it's true, write an anecdote that tells us about a time where something you read really came in handy later. It could be something realistic — such as passing your driver's exam or winning a game show, or something fantastical — such as surviving an encounter with fairies.

  • Winner
    Lost in the Desert
    by Aron R.
    Kamuela, HI

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