Guidelines have been posted for the next Moment Magazine High School Essay Contest (a “social action writing contest for high school students in grades 9-12”) and its Publish-a-Kid Contest, which invites “young readers [ages 9-13] to write book reviews.” Apart from publication, it’s hard to discern what other prizes may be awarded (on the other hand, there’s no entry fee for these competitions, either). Guidelines for the High School Essay Contest (deadline: December 15, 2008) are here; guidelines for the Publish-a-Kid Contest (deadline: December 8, 2008) are here.
Posts Tagged‘For Kids’
I’ve just discovered The Book of Life, whose tagline reads “a podcast about Jewish people and the books we read.” I have to admit that I still haven’t fallen completely in love with podcasts, but the blog itself seems well worth reading, with lots of references to Jewish books, writers, and publishers. Host Heidi Estrin directs the library at Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida, and participates in a number of Jewish book organizations/activities. This is a welcome addition to my link list.
Stated by my cousin’s son, E. (age 4), at our family Seder Saturday evening:
“You can’t eat pasta during Passover.”
Have you been following the discussion of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s new plan? As reported in The New York Times on Saturday, Sarkozy has “surpris[ed] the nation and touch[ed] off waves of protest with his revision of the school curriculum: beginning next fall, he said, every fifth grader will have to learn the life story of one of the 11,000 French children killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust.”
I have to confess that as much as I promote Holocaust awareness (and as intriguing as I’ve found Sarkozy to be), I’m not exactly enthralled with this idea. The Times article sets forth several sources for disagreement, but the one that resonates most with me, given my own childhood Holocaust-related nightmares, comes from Simone Veil, a prominent Frenchwoman and Holocaust survivor, who is quoted as saying: “You cannot inflict this on little ones of 10 years old! You cannot ask a child to identify with a dead child. The weight of this memory is much too heavy to bear.”
It’s a heavy weight, I suspect, even for grownups. When I first heard about this plan, I thought immediately about Dora Bruder, a book by one of my favorite French authors, Patrick Modiano. In Dora Bruder, Modiano essentially does exactly what Sarkozy wants the fifth graders to do: He researches the life story of one of the 11,000 French children killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Dora Bruder is a powerful book, one very much in keeping with Modiano’s entire œuvre. (See Jean Charbonneau’s AGNI review for a good English-language summary.)
I know that I’m not quite up to Modiano’s level–my own family background, Ph.D. in history, and M.F.A. in creative writing notwithstanding. It’s unlikely too many French fifth graders are. Let’s leave this particular task to the Modianos of the world, and use their work to teach the fifth graders–when they’re a little older.
In my last post I referenced the new issue of Moment magazine. I forgot to mention something else I noticed in my copy: an announcement for a contest the magazine is running for young writers.
If you know my other blog and/or my Web site, you know that pointing writers to contests and similar opportunities is something I spend a lot of time doing. Once upon a time, I thought I’d put together a resource guide on such opportunities specifically geared to recognize writing on Jewish themes or subjects. I actually proposed such a guide–in print form–to a few Jewish publishers. None bit.
But there’s no reason not to share some of my knowledge. With the Moment prompt, I’ll begin with a listing of contests for younger scribes. I’ll provide links to programs I understand NOT to charge entry/reading/processing fees. Please do not consider these listings endorsements, and, as they say, “use them at your own risk.”
Let me offer a few helpful hints (adapted from my Guide to No-Cost Literary Contests and Competitions) that are applicable to most writing contests:
1. Always learn about the sponsoring organization and, if an award program includes publication, familiarize yourself with that publication before submitting any contest entry. Just as you must research potential publishers for your short stories, essays, or books in other situations, you’ll want to understand—and perhaps even better “match” your submissions—to a given opportunity. At the same time, especially with programs and publications that may be new or unfamiliar to you, it’s important to assure yourself that these are, indeed, places where you’ll be happy to see your work find a home and recognition.
2. Check with the sponsoring organization’s Web site (or by mail or phone if necessary) to learn about any changes in a program’s guidelines or policies. Deadlines in particular may shift from year to year, even just to accommodate a weekend or holiday.
3. If you request additional information or guidelines by mail, be sure to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with proper postage.
4. Plot the deadlines in your calendar. Plan ahead. Some writers use contest deadlines to spur them on to finish a project—or start a new one. Some set goals (one competition per month, one competition per quarter, etc.). But if there’s an opportunity that’s just perfect for you, don’t miss it because you “forgot” to note it when it first caught your eye.
5. Double-check every opportunity you’re interested in pursuing for required entrance forms and specific instructions on manuscript preparation and mailing.
6. Speaking of manuscript preparation and mailing—always follow the individual guidelines. Don’t assume that all contest policies are created equal! And don’t antagonize or irritate a contest administrator (or judge) before s/he has even read your work. Do not e-mail submissions to competitions that do not accept e-mail submissions. Do not send a manuscript with your name on every page if the guidelines explicitly state that your name should appear nowhere on the manuscript. Do not staple manuscripts that should be paper-clipped or bound. And so on.
7. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Then proofread again. Read your work aloud to catch the errors spellcheck or other computer programs may not have noticed.
8. Keep a record—and a copy—of all your submissions.
9. If and when you find yourself in the happy position of having your work win a competition, it is the kind (and polite) thing to do to notify any other publication or publisher who may be considering that work that it is no longer available (most organizations will indicate in their guidelines whether such a simultaneous submission was acceptable in the first place). Take care of any such notifications immediately.
10. Celebrate! (Whether you’ve “won” or not!) You’ve accomplished something pretty important just by taking the risk of putting your work out there and taking this chance. Give yourself some credit. And then get back to work….
CONTEST OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG WRITERS (WRITING ON JEWISH THEMES AND TOPICS)
Israel Arbeiter Essay Contest (for students in grades 6-8 and 9-12; not clear if this competition is limited to students in the Boston area)
Areyvut’s Bnai Mitzvah Essay Contest (for students in grades 5-9)
Dov and Arlein Chetner Chai Essay Contest (for “all Canadian students who have graduated from a Canadian High School and who are now currently enrolled in a recognized postsecondary institution”)
Alice Eckardt Holocaust Writing Contest (for middle and high school students “in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas”)
Jacob Friedman Writing and Art Contest (for students in grades 5-12 in Washington State)
Dr. A.L. and Rose Greenberg Holocaust Essay Contest (for students in grades 7-12/ages 13-18; not clear if this competition is limited to students in Minnesota)
Israel 60 Essay Contest (for students in grades 3-12; three divisions; apparently for Broward County, Florida, only)
[email protected] Essay Contest (for all university and college students in Toronto)
Kaplun Essay Contest (for students in grades 7-9 and 10-12)
Leon County Holocaust Student Essay Contest(for students in elementary, middle, and high school; not clear if limited to students in Leon County, Florida)
Moment Magazine “Publish-a-Kid” Contest (for young people ages 9-13)
Moment Magazine “You Can Change the World” Essay Contest (for students in grades 9-12)
OU Kosher Essay Contest (for students in grades 4-12)
Roth Memorial Fund Essay Contest(for undergraduates and graduate students)
Tribute to the Rescuers High School Essay Contest (for students in grades 9-12)
White Rose Memorial Essay Contest (for middle and high school students in the Tulsa region)
Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest (for registered undergraduate juniors/seniors at accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States)
Yom Hashoah Annual Essay Contest (for students in grades 8-12; “anyone affiliated with a Jewish Congregation/Synagogue in Central Massachusetts)
Have any programs to add? Please tell us (and supply a relevant link), in comments.
Thanks to my friend B.J. Epstein, among whose many areas of expertise is the field of children’s literature. She recently forwarded a link to this annotated list of children’s books about Jewish culture and religion. I’m always looking for good book suggestions for the little ones in my life. Please share your own recommendations (or comparable links) in comments.