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Young Writers Contest

Submissions are now open for our 2019 Young Writers Contest!

Bookshop Santa Cruz is celebrating the talents of young writers in our community with an annual contest designed for writers ages 6–17.

First-, second-, and third-place winners from each age group will receive Bookshop Santa Cruz gift certificates. Plus the winning entries will be published together in a collection this November. Submissions are now open for the 2019 Contest, due by Monday, September 30th, 2019.

E N T R Y   R U L E S
1. Entries may be on any subject in any genre—including fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, mystery, humor, science fiction or fantasy.
2. Each entry must be an original work, submitted in the appropriate age group: 6–9, 10–13, or 14–17.
3. Word count limit: 2,100 words.
4. Entries can be submitted online or at the store. Those entries submited in hard copy must have a copy of the entry form attached to the story. We’re sorry, but entries cannot be returned.
5. Employees of Bookshop Santa Cruz and their immediate families are not eligible to enter the contest.
6. All entries must be received no later than Monday, September 30, 2019.

Download an Entry Form

Submit an Entry Online

Collections of previous year's winning entries are available for browsing and purchase below, where available.



Ages 6-9

First Place: Keelin Duffy & Aisha McCollough, 9, Miraloma Elementary, Leia and Mayla and the Revenge of Darkness
Second Place: Xander Faer Nass, 7,  I Caught a Huge One!
Third Place: Daphne Roberson, 9, Mount Madonna, Gila Monsters Come to Arizona
Honorable mention: Jacob Stone, 9, Westlake Elementary, The Wave
Honorable mention: Zoe Laudenslager, 9, Old Orchard School, The Battle for Survival

Ages 10-13

First Place: Cassandra Lopez, 13, Seaside Middle School, Could Flowers Bloom Again?
Second Place: Julia Meow, 11, Egan School, Untitled
Third Place: Violet Wolfers, 10, Westlake Elementary, The Adoption Diary
Honorable mention: Ciel Duffy, 11, James Denman Middle, Without Coco
Honorable mention: Jade Haskins, 11, Santa Cruz Montessori, Nightfall

Ages 14-17

First Place: Lily Sonnenblick, 14, Soquel High School, Birlity Lane
Second Place: Claire Chandler, Oasis High School, 15, Death, the Boy and the Clockwork Hall, In which a Boy Loses His Mother, Travels the World, and Befriends Death
Third Place: Jesse Chamberlain, 15, Aptos High School, The Hospital Window
Honorable mention: Kyleigh Cawaling, 15, Aptos High School, Press to Start
Honorable mention: Amrita Bhasin, 17, Menlo-Atherton High, The Lost Key

2016 Honorees

Ages 6–9

First Place: Sage Preud'homme Silver, 9, A Life of a Sled Dog 

Second Place: Zenobia Russi Barrett, 9, The Curious Owl and Athletic Monkey 

Third Place: Adria Grace Mikolyski-Coulson, 9, It Was a Time of War

Honorable Mention: Ezekiel Tapia, 8, The President of Fish 
Ruben Marcus, 9, The Stolen Book 

Ages 10-13

First Place: Zara Minra Brandt, 13, The Wild

Second Place: Mikaela Simpkinson, 13, Finally Facing Fates Finest

Third Place: David Hill, 13, Hoot

Honorable Mention: Grace Anne Jones, 10, One Moment  Kanaea Bonn, 12, Seeing Red

Ages 14+

First Place: Riley Rozario, 14, Her Peaceful Silence

Second Place: Odessa de Boer, 17, Stars 

Third Place: Margaret O’Hara, 16, The Fifth Visitor 

Honorable Mention: Julia Pearson, 14, Chasing the Sunset, Isaac Ludington, 14, So Real

2015 Honorees

Ages 6-9

First Place: Raina Sawyer, 9, Whose Life is Harder?
Second Place: Bryce Holden, 8, The Big Trip
Third Place: Siena Liddicoat, 7, How the Snake Got Its Scales
Honorable mention: Hadley Graydon, 7, Mango and Jinetta
Honorable mention: Clara Weaver, 8, The Stone Witch

Ages 10-13

First Place: Sage Liem, 12, In the Dark
Second Place: Brooklynn Winters, 12, Howl
Third Place: Mira Wichelmann, 13, Epitaph of the Once Alive
Honorable mention: Olivia Knapp, 13, The Perfect Truth
Honorable mention: Caeli Tani, 12, I Am From

Ages 14-17:

First Place: Meiya Sparks, 15, A Short Eulogy for God
Second Place: Brittany Marshall, 17, The Drought
Third Place: Virginia Ontiveros, 15, Dear Anna
Honorable mention: Julia Pearson, 14, Colors of the Music
Honorable mention: Zachary Parrish, 15, The Fall of White

2014 Honorees


Ages 6 - 9
First Place: Jennifer Leishman, 9, Ann Frank's Friend: The Story of a Time Traveling Girl
Second Place: Montgomery Samuel Thomas, 7, Plants
Third Place: Rebecca Fuller, 8, A Horse Named Sunset
Honorable mention: Makenzie Lashley, 7, A Monster Named Stanly
Honorable mention: Ari Braslavsky, 9, The Fights of 1943

Ages 10 - 13
First Place: Kumali Schoen, 13, Final Bond
Second Place: Julia Pearson, 13, The Finch, the Sparrow, and the Falcon
Third Place: Melia Van Hecke, 12, Ice on the Windows
Honorable mention: Rina Rossi, 12, Far, Far, Away
Honorable mention: Ciara Patel, 13, Alien

Ages 14 - 17:
First Place: Rachel Surgalski, 16, Lilac Boy
Second Place: Emily Gordis, 17, Soul Food
Third Place: Isabella Ainsworth, 15, Castle Reyes
Honorable mention: Garrett David Moore, 15, Accidental President


Ages 6-9

First Place: Cara Burgess, 9, The Enchanted Forest 
Second Place: Riley Austin, 8, The Adventures of Joshua  
Third Place: Ryan Hannah, 9, The Fishing Day 
Honorable mention: Liliane Finn Newberry, 9, The Secret of Lakeside Inn 
Honorable mention: Cassidy Flanagan, 6, The Farm That People Loved
Honorable mention: June Parvis, 6, Aphrodite

Ages 10-13

First Place: Julia Pearson, 12, You are as You Act 
Second Place: Anika Lindley, 13, The Brightest Light
Third Place: Jaida Johnson, 13, Ruby
Honorable mention: Sophie Wright, 10, The Journey
Honorable mention:Sydney Pelz, 11, & Ella Rintoul, 10, Thrist vs. Life 

Ages 14-17

First Place: Malakai Wade, 15, 307 Walnut and Wimpole St  
Second Place: Allegra Cohen, 17, Shrewsbury Station 
Third Place: Abe Karplus, 17, Discrete-Cities 
Honorable mention: Nate Stephens, 15, Loss of a Dog
Honorable mention: Victoria M. Mazariegos, 15, You Said You'd Never Leave 
Honorable mention: Jasper T. Barnes, 14, Triceratops vs T. rex



Ages 6-9
First Place: Amma Escalante, 9, The Balloon Miracle
Second Place: Armando Vasquez-Green, 9, Two Little Trees
Third Place: Jennifer Leishman, 7, The Magical Unicorn & the Mermaid
Honorable Mention: Johann Brooks, 8, Gone, and Sara Laurent, 9, Lost in Music

Ages 10-13
First Place: Kahlo Smith, 11, Drop of Sunshine
Second Place: Zara Brandt, 10, Tiny Book of Poems
Third Place: Sam Kawatsure, Cian Murray, Griffin Crossman & Owen McKeon, 10 & 11, United
Honorable Mention: Jasper Barnes, 13, Steve the Pterosaur, and Ruby Bracher, 12, Something’s Wrong with the Farmer

Ages 14-17
First Place: Christina Mills, 15, Le Fantome
Second Place: Chloe Tsudama, 17, Destinations
Third Place: Per Wessels, 17, The Case of the Kidnapped Kid
Honorable Mention: Rhiannon Janeschild, 14, Hope, and Daniel M., 17, The Pencil


Ages 6–9

First Place:
Ada Firth, 9, The Bird Feather Series, Book1:Tertiary
Second Place:
Kirah Mitchel, 9, Celeste’s Adventure in the Future
Third Place:
Johann Brooks, 7, The Gold Shield
Honorable Mention:
Isabella Hernández Lara, 8, Thunder the Chocolate Lab Learns How to Fly
Honorable Mention:
Zara Brandt, 9, The World of Ahleah

Ages 10–13

First Place:
Leif Daniel Frazer, 11, The Great Gold Rush
Second Place:
Laura Warfield, 13, Skywarrior
Third Place:
Kelly Buckler, 13, The Last Train to Dog Town
Honorable Mention:
Amrita Bhasin, 10, The Shreiks in the Night
Honorable Mention:
Mira Huang, 13, The Bargain

Ages 14+

First Place:
Max Lopez, 17, Shooting the Tiger
Second Place:
Tess Dunn, 16, My Mom, the Cook
Third Place:
Alice Koltchev, 13, The Town With No Internet
Honorable Mention:
Zach Bamberger, 15, If the Walls Could Talk
Honorable Mention:
Melissa Dittrich, 17, The Pink Dress