In September 2016, to celebrate Storytime’s second anniversary, we ran a children’s poetry competition. We hoped to encourage kids everywhere to write a short poem about an animal –real or imaginary. The prize was a bundle of poetry books and having your poem illustrated and published in Storytime magazine.
It was a long wait for the winner, but Storytime Issue 32 came out last week featuring the prize poem: The Seahorses by nine-year-old Bryn Patel Stephens from Leamington Spa in the UK. Here he is, on the right, looking very pleased to have his poetry in print. Deservedly so!
We had no idea when we opened the competition how overwhelming and enthusiastic the response would be. By the closing date in October, we had received thousands of entries from individual children and schools all over the world. They came in from Bangalore to Singapore, Australia to Canada, Germany to Botswana and, of course, the UK, where we are based.
It was with great pleasure that we sat surrounded by piles of children’s poetry. We read our way through many excellent entries, finally whittling them down to a shortlist of ten. In the end, it was our judge – highly esteemed children’s poet, Brian Moses – who helped us pick the winner.
Our Storytime Children’s Poetry Winner
What was is it about Bryn’s poem that made it the winning entry? Bryn conjured up lovely imagery in his description of a ‘constellation of seahorses’. So much so that we could visualise it long before we’d even found the perfect illustrator, Marina Perez.
Bryn’s mum, Damyanti, told us that Bryn had gone to great trouble to think up the right kind of adjectives for his poem, and it shows. What also helped was the originality of the subject. Bryn was the only poet to write about seahorses, which made his poem stand out among many cats, dogs, tigers and a fair few unicorns! But, ultimately, Bryn had written a great poem with beautiful descriptions. It was a joy to read and work with.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him and all of the amazing schools around the world who took part. Not to mention the inspiring parents who encouraged their children to send in their entries. We truly appreciate the effort.
I’d also like to praise the shortlisted entries who made our children’s poetry competition such a delight to be involved in, though rather tricky to judge! Each shortlisted entry received a special commendation certificate, which they thoroughly deserved. I hope it made the recipients feel proud of their work. In our shortlist, we had monarch butterflies, lions, dragons, dolphins, a mysterious pet, a yaku, a snurkle and even a catasaurusrex. Such brilliant imaginations!
For our third anniversary competition in September 2017, we have another competition coming up – this time celebrating a different area of creativity. I can’t reveal what it is right now, but I feel certain that we’ll get some amazing entries. We’ll update you here on the Storytime blog as soon as we can.
If you missed our children’s poetry competition and want to have fun making up poems, download our free Children’s Poetry Pack. It covers lots of poetry styles and is crammed with ideas and activities to get you started.
We think children’s poetry is not only brilliant fun, but an important gateway to falling in love with language. It’s one of the reasons we have poems in every issue of Storytime. We hope Bryn’s poem inspires you to have a go!