WINNERS of the 2015 Relevant Reads Story of the Year Contest

We are pleased to announce that our second annual writing contest was a tremendous success! Our goal was to expand our collection of Relevant Reads: stories that are Easy to Read, but Hard to Put Down.

Thanks to an outpouring of talented writers, we were able to meet this goal and grow our library. To browse our expanded shelves, click here.

We specifically wanted to increase our number of diverse books, stories that have relevance to a wide range of readers. We asked for stories that included characters and content based around: LGBTQIA communities, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities, as well as stories written in Spanish.

With so many great writers rising to the occasion, this prize was particularly difficult to narrow down to a single winner. The winning submission for this Diversity Grand Prize $1000 Award went to Jennie Ford, for her submission entitled, “Romeo and Me.”


Romeo and Me - Book Cover

“In the 1960’s American south, two young characters navigate their friendship from infancy to their high school years. As they age, they find that the world is different than they’d imagined it to be: darker, and less accepting. This moving tale will show readers the importance of inclusion, and spotlight diversity for the treasure it is.”

Additionally, we chose winners for each of the four following categories:

Humor $200 Award: given for the best piece of laughter-inducing writing, went to Craig Merrow, for his story entitled, “Davyology.”


Davyology - Book Cover

“Davy is a high school student with an unusual mind and a one-of-a-kind sense of humor. Readers will smile as they watch him navigate the trials of teenage life, from unwanted classes, to sibling rivalry, to endless run-down cars.”

7 Strengths $200 Award: given for the best portrayal of one or all of the following traits: confidence, kindness, friendship, belonging, curiosity, hope, and courage, went to Sienna Rose, for her submission entitled, “Keeping Time.”


Keeping Time - Book Cover


Seven strangers are thrust into one another’s lives in an unexpected and dangerous turn of events. How they handle themselves in the midst of hunger, fear, and endless fighting will ask readers to consider what is truly important in life.”

Nonfiction $200 Award: given for the story that best delved into the heart of true and compelling content, went to Ruth Chasek for her story entitled, “Steve Jobs: In His Own Words.


Steve Jobs Ruth Chasek

“This is the true story of Steve Jobs, one of the most famous innovators of our time. It highlights his journey from college dropout to tremendous success.”

 For Teens by Teens $200 Award: given for the best student-created story, went to Joy Yin for her submission entitled, “The World Inside a School.”

the world inside


For as long as the current students can remember, there have been rules in place dividing them by status and rank. Everyone must know where to sit, whom to associate with, and how to treat those deemed “royal.” No one has ever thought to question this hierarchy…until now.”

Thank you again to everyone who contributed to this amazing body of content! Your words will help to inspire countless struggling readers and will directly influence improved literacy for teens and young adults.

By Angela Dell'Isola

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