Spark a love of reading with
THE 2021 STORY OF THE YEAR CONTEST
Dreaming up new hi-lo books for teen & adult readers
About the Contest
Runs Nov. 2 - Feb. 1
The annual Story of the Year Contest is back! We are looking for fresh, diverse stories for teens and adults that are easy to read, but hard to put down.
Contest Timeline
Open For Entries
Nov. 2, 2021
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Contest Closes
Feb. 1, 2022
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Winners Announced
Apr. 5 2022
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Inspo! Get your inspiration here!
Browse prompts, tips, and exemplar books by contest category below.
If you haven't already, be sure to *subscribe* to our newsletter for even more inspiration!
Contest Resources: Quick Links
Ready to write?
You can create and submit your story using our new eBook-publishing platform, or you can upload and submit a Word document if you prefer. First, sign up quickly here:
The new eBook Publishing platform
Our brand new book-builder tool provides real-time reading level analysis, amazing cover template choices, and more!
Why Write?
The books produced from prior contests have had a deeply meaningful impact on literacy outcomes for teens and young adults around the world. Your story, too, has the chance to not only become published, but create profound and lasting change.
Readership
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Storyshares books have been read over 300,000 times by people in all 50 states and over 150 countries.
Impact
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These books provide choices for overlooked readers that spur engagement and strengthen literacy skills.
Prizes
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$5,000 up for grabs in four distinct categories, plus publication and a special edition of your book.
Community
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Join a village of readers, writers, and educators working together to enrich lives through literacy.
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Questions about our contest?
Reach out to angela@storyshares.org
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Judges
Our panel of judges includes amazing experts and lovers of literacy.
Judges
Sharon G. Flake
Coming of Age
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.
Lawton Smith
Fifty States
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
Judges
Valena D'Angelis
Coming of Age
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.
Destany Rodriguez
Diversity
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.
Judges
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David Goddy
Creative Nonfiction
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
Creative Nonfiction
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
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Rebecca Rich
Creative Nonfiction
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.
Kingsley Metelus
Diversity
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!
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Lisa Simon
Fifty States
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.
Colin Seale
Coming of Age
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.
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