From Category: Resources and Contests for Students and Educators
In this 2018 article from the blog of self-publishing and marketing vendor BookBaby, Michael Gallant interviews Jill Santopolo, an executive editor at Penguin Young Readers Group, about the essential elements of a successful picture book. Key advice: keep the text short and make every word count, like a haiku, but don't dumb down the narrative. The fundamentals of storytelling—a relatable character, emotional arc, and plot through-line—apply to books for all ages.
Idiosyncratic gathering of excellent poetry young and old. Hosted by Seamus Cooney at Western Michigan University. Teachers and students will welcome his instructional materials, including “English Is Tough Stuff”, a poem on pronunciation. Cooney also collects memorably bad poetry.
Located at Auburn University, APAEP offers classes in the arts and humanities to inmates in Alabama state prisons. The Project has created a travelling exhibit of “Art on the Inside” and also publish an annual anthology of their students' work.
Online workshops hosted and supported by the Web del Sol Association. Develop your poetry through exercises and feedback. Professional guidance helps you prepare and place publishable work.
American Literature is a free online archive with the complete text of hundreds of classic public-domain short stories, poems, and novels for adults and children. There are also study guides and writing exercises for young readers.
Launched in 2017, Body Without Organs is an international English-language online literary journal for teen writers. They publish poetry, literary fiction, essays, and artwork, and are also looking for teen editors. “Pieces that are character-driven and/or emotion-focused have a higher chance of acceptance. Genre fiction including science fiction, fantasy, and romance is almost never accepted, and we strongly prefer free verse poems over those that rhyme, but feel free to challenge or change this.” The journal's name comes from a term coined by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, and he used it to reference this essential question: if you stripped an object of every physical trait it uses to define and communicate itself, what would be left? What is the “real” truth at the object’s core?
This comprehensive, searchable grammar guide from Capital Community College in Hartford includes lessons on word usage, sentence structure, rhetoric, and writing a research paper. There's even a PowerPoint presentation on “Solecisms of President George W. Bush”.
Recommended books on subjects from Appalachia to Work and Occupations, with suggested lesson plans and classroom activities. Site includes book reviews, advice on creating teaching materials, and more.
This California-based literary organization promotes the translation of world literature into English. Their main programs are TWO LINES, an annual journal that features English translations of creative and scholarly work side-by-side with the original texts, and Poetry Inside Out, a unique program offering schoolchildren the opportunity to write and translate poetry between two languages.
The American Library Association has compiled this bibliography of books for young readers that portray emotional, mental, or physical disability experiences, most published between 2000-2008. Visit their website for guidelines for the Schneider Family Book Awards, a free contest honoring an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
Brief, easy-to-understand discussion of short poetic forms such as the haiku, cinquain, and sonnet, with links to lessons and examples.
Ditties by Yorkshire poet teach children about rhyme and rhythm, through subjects such as animals, fairy tales, resisting peer pressure, and making time to hear God's voice.
Magazine by and for girls ages 7-17, aims at empowering young women by publishing their creative writing and artwork.
By Robert Walton. Set in 1864, this historical novel tells the story of the bloodiest year of the American Civil War, brought to life with a chorus of voices both real and fictional. The cast of narrators includes President Lincoln, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., and the women and escaped slaves who fought for the Union and cared for the wounded in field hospitals. This book would be a good addition to a history curriculum for young adults.
Enchanted Lion Books is a Brooklyn-based publisher of children's picture books. “Independent and family owned, we love books, well-told stories, and illustrations that open up the visual world and deepen a child's sense of story.”
Online library of children's literature contains the full-length text of dozens of classics. Reference Shelf feature includes links to background material on many authors of children's books.
Selected by the New York Public Library. Featured titles include And the Green Grass Grew All Around: Folk Poetry from Everyone and X.J. Kennedy's Brats, where “forty-two poems describe a variety of particularly unpleasant children.”
This British website features work by the major poets of WWI, plus contextual resources, online tutorials, podcasts, lesson plans, and more.
Foothills, a publication of Claremont Graduate University, accepts unpublished poetry by graduate students enrolled anywhere in the world. Submit 1-5 poems by email. CGU administers the prestigious Kingsley Tufts and Kate Tufts Awards for poetry books.
Getting Smart is the blog companion to Tom Vander Ark's book of the same name, about the digital learning revolution. This post gives a list of educational video archives for children and youth, on subjects including biography, math, science, and the arts.
Google Lit Trips is a computer-based resource that uses satellite and street view data from Google Maps to visualize the travel routes of characters in hundreds of great books for readers of all ages. Parents and educators can use Google Lit Trips to enliven lessons about geography, history, and foreign cultures.
The 19th-century Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote some of our most beloved fairy tales, such as 'The Ugly Duckling' and 'The Little Mermaid'. This website includes the full text of many of his stories in the 1872 English translation by H.P. Paull, plus links to biographical information and other resources.
Historica Canada (formerly the Historica Dominion Institute) is a national nonprofit that helps Canadians connect with their country's history, culture, civic institutions, and democratic values. The site includes oral histories, aboriginal arts, lesson plans for educators, and the “Heritage Minutes” series of short documentary videos.
Kim Kautzer's blog offers lessons and resources for teaching writing to young people. Useful for schoolteachers and homeschooling parents.
An extensive collection of audio recordings of poets and writers reading their work. In 2004, The Lannan Foundation awarded $925,000 in awards and fellowships in poetry, fiction and nonfiction.
Laura Thomas Communications hosts a blog with writing opportunities for authors aged 21 and under. There are free poetry and fiction contests (no cash awards) and a personal essay prize based on Thomas's book Polly Wants to Be a Writer, a YA fantasy novel that is also a creative writing manual. The LTC online store sells workbooks inspired by the novel, with writing prompts and an overview of basic concepts.
Practical advice on research and essay writing. Links to online style guides, dictionaries, and other resources for writers. Literature section provides research notes and links for important English-language authors. While you're studying, remember that many classic texts can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg, Bartleby and Blackmask.
The Merlyn's Pen Foundation mentors promising young writers and trains English teachers. Submissions from students in grades 5-12 are accepted for their magazine. The 10+ years of archives include over 1,000 stories, essays and poems. Books, tapes and teacher's guides are available in the store.
Based in India, Moledro is an international literary e-zine of poetry and fiction by high school and college students. Their first issue was released in March 2016. Simultaneous submissions and reprints are accepted. Moledro's founding editor, Richa Gupta, says: “Every generation of high school students is different, and we want these distinctive differences showcased. Whether they are philosophical musings, descriptions of butterflies, or haikus depicting the woes of waking up every morning, Moledro wants them! We have no set aesthetic, and portray all types of poetry and fictional pieces—our aim is diversity, in order to create a truly globalized picture of this generation of youth writers.”
NAWE supports the development of creative writing of all genres and in all educational and community settings throughout the UK. Resources include an annual conference for writing teachers and an online bulletin board of jobs and publication opportunities.
Grants for educators at US public schools, colleges and universities to improve student literacy, develop new education programs, and retain qualified teachers in high-risk communities.
This nonprofit organization sponsors dozens of annual poetry contests with low entry fees. The individual state societies often sponsor additional contests. Some awards are specifically for middle school, high school, and college students.
This group of educators publishes an annual anthology, the Young American Poetry Digest, showcasing poems by US elementary and secondary school students. Each participating school receives a free copy of the book. There are also awards of $100 and $50 for the schools with the most student poems accepted.
British festival sponsors playwriting contests for young authors in the US and internationally.
NewPages is a resource site showcasing independent presses, literary magazines, bookstores, and creative writing programs. This page on their site offers a vetted list of publications and contests that accept work from youth and teens.
An extensive resource for high school English and Language Arts teachers, sponsored by The Academy of American Poets. Includes thematic lesson plans, essays on teaching, and hundreds of classic poems to teach. National Poetry Map of America lists literary organizations, festivals, presses, bookstores and poets by state. Teacher Forum lets you share ideas with other educators. Get advice on the best ways to teach poetry. Teaching Resource Center page contains links to other valuable resources.
New venture seeks to bridge the worlds of literary academia and slam poetry. Instructors include former California poet laureate Quincy Troupe, performance poets Patricia Smith and Regie Gibson, prizewinning author Tom Daley.
Dr. Elbow, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Massachusetts, has come to enjoy substantial influence over the teaching of writing. “Over the years,” he tells Critique Magazine, “I've finally concluded that safety in writing is my highest priority…. I must make a classroom where safety happens, but due to the lack of safety in some classrooms, student writers don't take risks; they don't feel safe when they write.” Read Dr. Elbow's complete interview.
A poem a day for American high schools. For teens who think poetry is boring, remote and not for them, US poet laureate Billy Collins has 180 surprises. Comes with welcome advice on reading poems aloud.
Comprehensive archive of mystical poetry from many eras and spiritual traditions, with brief biographies of the authors. Both Eastern and Western cultures are well-represented. Site is indexed by author's name, religious affiliation, and time period. A great way to learn about other cultures. Editor Ivan Granger explains, “A chaikhana is a teahouse along the legendary Silk Road pilgrimage and trading route linking China to the Middle East and Europe. It is a place of rest along the journey, a place to shake off the dust of the road, to sip tea, and to gather together to sing songs of the Divine….”
Fun, attractive site introduces the basics of poetic technique, plus a few writing prompts to get you started. The addictive “e-muse” poetry generator creates surprisingly good free verse by asking you to fill in the blanks, Mad Libs style.
This joint venture of the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts awards over $100,000 in scholarships annually to high school students for memorizing and performing classic poems. Top prize is $20,000.
Poetry Through the Ages, a project of the Institute for Dynamic Educational Development (IDEA), is a free online exhibit that showcases poetic forms and movements from different cultures, with examples and instructions. A special feature of the site is a new poetic form called “node poetry”, which breaks the traditional linear flow of a poem into branching clusters of words that the reader can read in different sequences. Drawing its inspiration from synthetic and visual poetry, the form is found exclusively online, and enables readers to take the poet's lines and construct the poem as they explore it.
Portland's famous bookseller offers over 1,500 books of poetry for children and young adults. Recommendations and reviews help you choose. Free North American shipping on qualified orders over $50.
This resource portal from Purdue University in Indiana features basic exercises to learn grammar, punctuation, spelling, APA and MLA citation styles, and composing resumes and business letters.
Launched in 2010, QBF publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and artwork by students at the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts: Smith, Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and U Mass Amherst. Editors say, “We seek to bridge the barriers between the colleges and to promote our generation's voice by providing students with space for writing, discussion, and a collaborative intellectual experience.”
Named after a series of children's picture books by site editor Allison Holland, Raspberry Sassafras is a website that reviews indie and self-published picture books, and also features a Storytellers section where young writers can submit work to be posted on the site.
Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century is a well-regarded literary journal that produces this annual anthology of writing by young people. The editors select the top 52 poems from thousands of submissions from all over the world. Entrants must have been age 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted. See website for guidelines, privacy protections, and online submission form.
Rock Thoughts is an international collaborative art and storytelling project designed to empower children through creativity. Participating individuals paint “monster” rocks and hide them in public spaces for others to find. The rocks serve as plot devices for the finders who submit a story for that rock. The rock is then re-hidden for another to find and continue the narrative. Users are encouraged to submit comments, feedback and suggestions on how to further develop the story.
Scott Woods Makes Lists is a librarian's blog about African-Americans in popular culture, literature, and current events. This list and its 2016 precursor recommend children's picture books with black protagonists “that aren't about boycotts, buses or basketball”. Woods says he wanted to showcase stories outside the familiar civil rights narrative, “featuring Black children doing what all children do: play, make up stories, learn life lessons, and dream.”