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.
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 2019, Auroras & Blossoms is dedicated to promoting positive, uplifting, and inspirational art and creativity. They accept short stories, flash fiction, essays, drawings, paintings, photography, and digital art. As a family-friendly platform, they want work with no swear words, dirty words, politics or erotica. Submission fee (adults only): $12 for up to three pieces. Payment (adults only): ongoing royalties and complimentary copy of publication. No simultaneous submissions. Reprints are eligible if you own the rights.
The Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature at the University of Florida offers 7,000 children's books to read online or download for free, spanning the 19th century to the 1950s.
Balloons Lit. Journal is an English-language online journal based in Hong Kong that publishes creative writing and art for readers aged 12-16. BLJ particularly invites submissions from schoolteachers familiar with this age group. Editors say, "We prefer something that is surprising, explosive, unforgettable, extraordinary, mind-blowing, humorous, bold, unique, layered, witty, educational, original." Read back issues on the website to see their taste.
BlackFacts is an online portal for Black history and culture, offering a searchable historical database, video profiles of important figures and events, and a current events newsfeed drawn from over 160 news sources in the UK, US, Africa, and the Caribbean.
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".
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.
Rooted in values of equity and compassion and hosted by the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Children's Diversity and Justice Library empowers young people to celebrate diversity and seek justice in their lives and communities. Browse their online catalog for book recommendations in 12 categories: African American, Bodies & Abilities, Cultures & Traditions, Diversity, Gender, Families, Hispanic/Latino/Spanish, Justice, LGBTQ+, Refugees & Immigrants, Religion, and Women & Girls.
Brief, easy-to-understand discussion of short poetic forms such as the haiku, cinquain, and sonnet, with links to lessons and examples.
Magazine by and for girls ages 7-17, aims at empowering young women by publishing their creative writing and artwork.
While not a literary website, this guide to thriving as an LGBTQ college student merited a link at Winning Writers because it is comprehensive and clear about what an affirming academic environment should look like. Links include grants for queer students, free art therapy, and how to protect your civil rights. College Consensus is a resource site that ranks colleges on various metrics and can be used to search for the top degree programs in different academic fields.
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.
A project of the British Library, this children's literature reference site features articles and videos on the creation of classic books; digitized versions of rare historical finds; suggestions for reading on various themes; and writing prompts for children and educators.
Diverse BookFinder is a searchable collection of children's picture books with characters who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Books can be requested from DBF by inter-library loan. DBF strives to collect all books in this category that have been released by trade publishers since 2002, in order to track publishing trends and encourage conversations about improving representation. This is not a "recommended books" archive. They accept donations of eligible self-published books, as they do not have the resources to find all qualifying books on their own. Other website features include an archive of author interviews, topical groupings (e.g. books on intercultural friendships), and articles on curating and teaching from a diverse book collection.
Embracing Our Differences is a nonprofit in Sarasota, FL that hosts an annual arts festival and offers lesson plans and educational resources "to expand consciousness and open the heart to celebrate the diversity of the human family."
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."
Essayist is an app for academic writers. It will automatically format your text in the standard citation style you choose. Currently supported are Modern Language Association and American Psychological Association formats, with others such as Chicago Manual of Style coming soon. The software allows you to create a list of references that you can click to cite within the text, as well as adding tables and images in the proper format.
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.
In this excerpt from his book The Art of Teaching Children (Avid Reader Press), elementary teacher and education expert Phillip Done gives tips for making story hour as engaging as possible. He encourages reading aloud to children in upper grades as well, since it keeps students engaged with literature and allows them to experience what good writing feels like.
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.
This feature on the New York Times website collects archived content that can be used to teach writing skills such as dialogue, narrative, and criticism.
By Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire. This collaborative collection by two British poets creates a people's history of London spanning five centuries, through persona poems in the voices of women from diverse backgrounds. Notable athletes, activists, and literary figures share these pages with imagined characters who represent factory workers, strikers, and working-class girls enjoying a hard-earned holiday. This book would be a good resource for junior high and high school history classrooms.
Published since 2005 by the nonprofit Association for Encouragement of Children's Creativity, Magic Dragon is a quarterly magazine featuring art and creative writing by children aged 12 and under.
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.
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.
Yorkshire poet Josie Whitehead has written over 1,450 poems suitable for children and adults. Her work ranges from humorous to inspirational. Visit her site to search by subject and age group. Whitehead has had many poems published by educational publishers, as well as poems adapted for an animated film and set to music.
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...."