Congratulations to our winners!
We are honored to include your stories in our library.
Fortunate Fayola
Stephanie Mhango
A famine threatens the village, and Fayola will do anything to keep her son from going hungry. Her situation fast goes from bad to worse... but perhaps fortune will smile on her in the end.
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The Market At Night
Cat Jenkins
Pike Place Market is known as "the soul of Seattle." It's one of the oldest public markets in the U.S. and draws thousands of visitors all year long. It's a magical, colorful place. But there's another Market. One that only a few are allowed to see. One that sells strange things and has even stranger people in it. One that only a few can find. And only if they look for it at night...
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Born In Danger
Pius Agbangbatin
The story is about a young boy who experiences the pain of being an albino. With the death of his best friend and an attempt on his life, he realizes that albinism in his country is not only about prejudice but also about survival.
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5 Steps To Win Her Heart
Natasha Lopez
Mateo's best friend Kat Nguyen broke up with him and he’s far from over it. He has to win her back, but how? A 1950s book, "5 STEPS TO WIN HEART" just might be the answer he’s looking for. Will the force be with him? Or will it be with his nemesis – Kat’s new love interest – Josh Fowler?
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Honorable Mentions
"TRANSITIONING"
DEAN GESSIE
A transgender school teacher returns to the classroom after undergoing some degree of gender reassignment. They explain their identity to their young students by reading an original short story that parallels their own challenges and successes.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
TARA ANDERS
When Aubree suggested they steal their rival high school's mascot just before the big basketball game, she didn't expect Finn, the star of the school (and her crush), to take her seriously. Join Aubree and Finn as they discover their true feelings for one another - while also trying to finagle a giant lobster costume!
CHANCE AND LITTLE STAR
JOSEPH LEGASPI
A teenage girl faces a life-and-death problem. No one can seem to help her. That is, until she meets a boy with autism. He ends up changing her life forever.
DIVIDED IN LAND AND TOGETHER IN HEART: A TALE OF CYPRUS
KUGU SOYKAN
Since the war in Cyprus in 1974, the country has been divided into two. The north belongs to the Turkish Cypriots and the south to the Greek Cypriots. In this story, Cipriana, a Greek Cypriot becomes friends with Şerife, a Turkish Cypriot and plan a bi-communal concert to bring together old and new friends.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MY FIFTH GRADE SELF
LISA ZHANG
Recall your favorite book, The Wizard of Oz, again. You are the good-hearted heroine, Dorothy, being held against your will in a foreign land, wishing to return home. Of course there are trials along the way! But if Dorothy can make it through in one piece, so can you, Yijia. That's what I would tell my 5th grade self.
LILY AZALEA
SHARON ELWELL
Lily Azalea was given as a gift to her master's daughter, Molly Rose, when the two of them were little girls. As they grow, Lily comes to love Molly, who treats her almost as if she's a white girl too. When the two of them near their sixteenth birthdays, Lily's mother arranges for Lily to escape to freedom, The problem is, Lily doesn't want to go.
MY DAD'S SECRET
MARY FRANCIS
Abby is given an assignment to write an essay on her family history. As she listens to her classmates stories she feels disappointed that she has such a boring family history. Once Abby starts asking questions she realizes she does not have a boring family history after all.
SUCKER STICK
STEPHEN LEITSCHUH
Coming from a large family back in the 60's, where money was tight, one of the children gets up early one morning. He finds a sucker on the kitchen counter. Unbeknowist to him it has ant poison in it. He eats it and get an unpleasant surprise. He drinks milk to get rid of the awful taste. When he turns he see his little brother with the stick in his hand and his mother behind him with a look of horror on her face. The house erups in a torrid rush by his parents to save the life of his brother.
Judges Panel
Awards From
Sharon G. Flake
Author of 'The Skin I'm In'
Awards From
Colin Seale
Founder & CEO, thinkLaw
Awards From
Valena D'Angelis
Writer
Awards From
Rebecca Rich
Chief of Staff, Teach for All
Awards From
Destany Rodriguez
Young Adult Advisor
Awards From
Nick Lum
CEO, BeeLine Reader
Awards From
David Goddy
Former Publisher, Scholastic
Awards From
Ayesha Rodriguez
Author & Educator
Awards From
Claire Taylor
Content Expert, Literal
Awards From
Kingsley Metelus
Poet & Artist
Awards From
Lisa Simon
Literacy Expert & Educator
Awards From
Lawton Smith
CEO, Literal
Learn more about our 2021 judges here >>
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2021 Panel of Judges
Judges
Sharon G. Flake
Sharon G. Flake is an American writer of children and young adult literature. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in English. Flake's debut novel was The Skin I'm In, which was published in1998. Flake's work has won numerous awards, including the John Steptoe Award for New Talent in 1999 for new authors and has also garnered positive feedback from Booklist and School Library Journal. She has also won two Coretta Scott King Awards.
Colin Seale
Colin Seale was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where struggles in his upbringing gave birth to his passion for educational equity. Tracked early into gifted and talented programs, Colin was afforded opportunities his neighborhood peers were not. Using lessons from his experience as a math teacher, later as an attorney, and now as a keynote speaker, contributor to Forbes, The 74, and Education Post and author of Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students (Prufrock Press, 2020), Colin founded thinkLaw, a multi-award-winning organization to help educators leverage inquiry-based instructional strategies to close the critical thinking gap and ensure they teach and REACH all students, regardless of race, zip code or what side of the poverty line they are born into. When he’s not serving as the world’s most fervent critical thinking advocate, Colin proudly serves as the world’s greatest entertainer to his two young children.
Judges
Judges
Valena D'Angelis
Valena is a freshly emerged author on the fantasy scene. Her 2020 debut novel, Tempest of Bravoure: Kingdom Ascent, is "dedicated to the little kid who dreamed of something different." It's the first in a series of books written with the mission to refresh traditional fiction by filling its pages with powerful heroes and heroines who are often mis- and/or underrepresented. These characters, and the world they're based in (Terra) are developed in a rich, yet succinct and fast-paced way. She has taken the fantasy genre and trimmed it back to its most bare, most interesting bones, and fleshed them over with modern commentary and diverse characters. When she's not working to expand the Terraverse, Valena is a passionate Dungeon and Dragons player, Sci-Fi fan, and gamer, who pulls inspiration from these sources to invent alternate realms.
Rebecca Rich
Rebecca Rich is the Chief of Staff to the CEO at Teach For All, a global network focused on developing collective leadership to ensure all children can fulfill their potential. She began her career as a founding 6 th grade English Language Arts teacher at MS 223, The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology through Teach For America. Rebecca also worked at the New York City Department of Education, the Center for Best Practices at the National Governors Association, and the Education Trust. Rebecca resides in Los Angeles, California with her husband and two children. She is a writer of middle grade fiction.
Judges
Judges
Destany Rodriguez
My name is Destany Rodriguez, I am Puerto Rican but have been raised in Lynn, Massachusetts my whole life. I am currently an undergraduate at Lesley University with a major in Global Studies and Human Services. My interests vary but they are deeply rooted in helping people, and bettering the system in all ways.
Nick Lum
Nick Lum is a startup founder whose creations have been featured by the NYT, BBC, and NPR. He is passionate about making reading on screen easier, especially for people with learning differences. Nick lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and daughters.
Judges
Judges
David Goddy
David is a former senior executive and publishing leader at Scholastic, who is now a consultant to ed tech companies -- mostly reading, book, content, and data-oriented -- including Reading Plus, a reading intervention product recently acquired by DreamBox Learning. At Scholastic, David's greatest hits included creating Book Wizard, the leading book search and recommendation utility for K-12 educators from 2008-2016; as publisher, managing a portfolio of pioneering adaptive ed tech programs including Read 180, the leading K-12 reading intervention program; and as editor-in-chief/publisher leading Scholastic's magazine division to segment leadership over competitors such as Weekly Reader and Time for Kids.
Ayesha Rodriguez
Ayesha Rodriguez is a 10X children's book author, educator and entrepreneur dedicated to creating self-affirming, confidence-building products for children of all colors, hair types and abilities. She is the founder of diversity-affirming clothing and the apparel brand, "The Aye Am Collection." She is also the founder of the non-profit organization, Jayes Legacy. Ayesha has two children and enjoys traveling, listening to music, cooking and spending time with her loved ones. www.ayesharodriguez.com www.instagram.com/ayeam_ayesharodriguez
Judges
Judges
Claire Taylor
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” CS Lewis I live to read and fall into literary worlds created by imaginative hero's who transfer the mundane into the amazing. When I'm not reading for fun, I read for work with Literal - https://read.literalapp.com/ - and I've had the pleasure of editing over 500 books. StoryShares have been among some of my favorites, the stories bring us into the lives of many different people and allow us to share experiences and hopes that many books have lacked for so long. There is always a book to suit my mood.
Kingsley Metelus
My name is Kingsley Metelus and I am a graduate of Providence College, class of 2021. While at PC, I majored in Health Policy and Management and minored in Buisness and Innovation. Throughout my time at school, I have been able to focus on my studies while simultaneously participating in the arts that drive me daily. I’ve written a lot of poetry, and had then pleasure to be the President of the poetry club at my school. As I continue my journey into post graduate life, I plan to continue the hobbies I enjoy, while blending in what I have learned through my education. I ultimately seek to help people through an innovative and creative approach, regardless of which career path I choose!
Judges
Judges
Lisa Simon
Lisa Simon is an artist and educator working and crafting in expressive technology, material alchemy, environmental abundance, and words. Lisa has over 20 years of experience supporting children, youth, families and adults in creative and expressive endeavors. Currently, she is the Creative Educational Specialist for Pittsburgh Learning Commons. Lisa has been involved in Story Shares for the past seven years.
Lawton Smith
Lawton is the co-founder and CEO of Literal Technologies, Inc, a multimedia publishing company who's lead product, Literal, makes screen-based reading feel just as engaging and modern as leading social media and entertainment applications. Based in the science of reading, Literal is an evidence-based instructional classroom library of scaffolded texts built for modern readers, reluctant readers, and everyone in-between.
Judges