WPBS Kids Writers Contest

*Entries for the 2024 Writers Contest have closed. Stay tuned for information about next year’s contest*

Do you love being creative and telling stories? Do you have a tale to tell? Then you are invited to participate in the annual WPBS Writers Contest! Prepare to ignite your imagination, build your creative voice, and share your stories with the North Country. Writers from Grades K – 3 are welcome to participate in this contest for the chance to win first place!

Sponsored in Part By:


MANY WILL ENTER, FEW WILL WIN. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The WPBS PBS KIDS Writers Contest is produced by WPBS (the Contest or Promotion and based on the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, a concept developed by WNED. Contest submissions were accepted December 18, 2023 – February 9, 2024. This Contest consists of one round of local judging. To enter the Contest, you may submit your entry and entry form by mail to WPBS KIDS Writers Content, Attn: Justin Keegan, 1056 Arsenal St., Watertown, NY, 13601 or electronically by email to WPBSWritersContest@gmail.com. All entries to the Independent Pool must be postmarked by February 9, 2024 to be eligible. Contact WPBS-TV for other exact local judging deadlines. These Contest rules are subject to modification by WPBS-TV at its discretion. This Contest is void where prohibited.

Eligibility & Entry Guidelines

  • Entrants must be in kindergarten, first, second or third grade.
  • Children of employees of WPBS, sales representatives, subsidiaries or parent companies, advertising/sales promotion agencies, and judges are not eligible.
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted in this Contest; all subsequent entries will be disqualified.
  • Only single author stories qualify (no co-authored stories).
  • Stories can be fact or fiction, and prose or poetry.
  • Any failure to adhere to these Contest Rules may result in disqualification from the contest.
  • No purchase is necessary. Many will enter, few will win.
  • Entries from outside the Northern New York/Eastern Ontario region will be accepted, but are preferred to be submitted electronically to the email address provided.

Word Count

  • Kindergarten and first grade stories must have a minimum of 50 words and a maximum of 200 words.
  • Second and third grade stories must have a minimum of 100 words and a maximum of 350 words.
  • The word count includes a, an, and the, but not the words on
    non-story pages such as the title page or those that enhance the
  • Text must be printed or written legibly or typed.
  • Children who cannot write may dictate their story to be printed, written legibly or typed.
  • Text may be integrated into the illustration pages or on separate pages.
  • Non-English text must be translated on the same page and the translated text (English text) must adhere to word count.
  • Invented spelling is accepted.

Format & Illustrations

  • Stories must have at least 5 original, clear and colorful illustrations.
  • Original art can include drawings, collages, and 3-D created by the author or photographs taken by the author.
  • Stories submitted by mail must be created on one side of the paper and numbered on the back of each page.

Official Entry Form

  • Each entry must include the official WPBS PBS KIDS Writers Contest Entry Form, with the required signature of a parent/guardian (and, if appropriate, the optional signature of the sponsoring teacher), consenting to allowing their child/ward to enter the Contest, confirming that the story and art are original, and granting certain rights to the entry materials.
  • The entry form must be complete and legible.

Judging, Awards & Notification

  • All entries submitted to the Contest will be judged using the judging criteria and percentages below by a panel of no fewer than 3 judges selected and coordinated by WPBS. Judging will occur on or about April 30th. The judging criteria and percentages shall be scored and graded using a rubric based on the following criteria as follows:
  • 40% Creativity and originality of plot and/or themes,
  • 40% Story structure and use of literary devices,
  • 20% Relevance, quality and originality of illustration
  • All decisions of the judges are final and binding and not subject to appeal or review. Winners will be as follows: (1) the entry with the highest score from among all eligible entries received per grade will be deemed the First Place winners; (2) the entry the second to the highest score from among all eligible entries received per grade will be deemed the Second Place winners (3) the entry with the third to the highest score from among all eligible entries received per grade will be deemed the Third Place winners. In the event of a tie, the entry with the highest score in the creativity and originality category from among all tying entries will be deemed the winner from among all tying entries. Winners will be notified on or before May 2nd, 2023.


First place for each grade level will win an Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet. WPBS reserves the right to substitute any prize for a prize of equal or greater value, at the sole discretion of WPBS. Potential winners will be notified in early May for winner verification. Prize recipients must allow a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks from notification to delivery. Prizes are not redeemable for cash, non-transferable, and non-substitutable, except at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

Return of Entries

The Contest administrators will make every effort, but are not required, to return mailed entries only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope of an appropriate size. WPBS is not responsible for late, lost, stolen, misdirected, damaged, mutilated, incomplete, returned, or illegible entries, or postage-due mail.

Rights Associated with Contest

Submission of the Entry Form constitutes permission from the participants parent/legal guardian for WPBS and PBS/WNED to use the participants name, likeness, biographical information, information and materials contained in the Entry Form, photographs, and any statements or remarks made about the Contest in advertising and promotion without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law. All entries, and any copyrights therein, become the sole property of WPBS and PBS/ WNED. By entering, entrants parent/legal guardian agree to abide by the above stated rules, and warrant that their child’s entry is their original work and does not infringe upon or violate rights of any third party, and grant to WPBS and PBS/WNED the right to edit, publish, promote, and otherwise use their entry materials without permission, notice or compensation. No royalties will be paid at this or any time.

By submitting an entry and Entry Form, each participants parent/legal guardian, on behalf of the participant, agrees to assign all right, title, and interest in and to the entry and Entry Form to WPBS and PBS/WNED and warrants that the participants parent/legal guardian has the authority to assign such right, title, and interest. In the event that any applicable law requires certain formalities to be fulfilled to effectuate such grant of rights, each participant (and parent or guardian) agrees to cooperate with WPBS and/or PBS/WNED to achieve fulfillment of such formalities.

By submitting an Entry Form, each participants parent/legal guardian, on behalf of participant, agrees to be bound by these Contest Rules. Each participants parent/legal guardian, on behalf of the participant, agrees to release and hold WPBS and PBS/WNED, and its employees, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, subsidiaries, parent companies, or other affiliated companies harmless from any and all damages, losses, claims and liabilities arising out of participation in the Contest or resulting from acceptance or claiming of any prize hereunder. WPBS and PBS/WNED reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate, suspend or otherwise cancel the Contest at any time. Income and all other taxes are the responsibility of the prize recipient. WPBS and PBS/WNED are not responsible for any expenses incurred in connection with participation in the Contest.

Privacy: Unless otherwise specified, any and all information connected in connection with this Contest will be used by Sponsor solely for the purpose of administering the Contest.
Please note: If you circled on the Entry Form to opt-in to receive the Optional promotional materials, Sponsor may share your contact information contained in the Entry Form with
Contest promotional partners, or their agents, to fulfill the offers. To understand how PBS uses, stores, manages, and discards private information, visit the PBS privacy policy at:

Writing Workshop Video

WPBS, Watertown Public Broadcasting, was pleased to recognize 12 outstanding young authors for their award-winning stories in the 2024 PBS KIDS Writers Contest. The stories were judged on originality, creative expression, storytelling and integration of text and illustration.

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is a national competition designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning. The effort encourages children in grades K-3 in our area and communities across the country to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original stories and illustrations.

Winners will be honored during the month of March 2024 with an award ceremony at WPBS’s annual literacy fair READY, SET, FUN on March 23, 2024 – celebrating their achievements as young authors.

2024 Contest Winners


1st place:  Aliana R.  “The Bird and Eggs”
2nd place:  Ezedrial S.  “Alex and Emmett: The Hero Brothers”
3rd place:  Gwendolyn S.  “The Park Mystery”

1st Grade

1st place:  Titus N. “Titus and Fasty’s Adventure”
2nd place:  Audrey C.  “Winnie’s Rescue”
3rd place:  Atalie M. “The Princess, The Prince, and The Ghost”

2nd Grade

1st place:  Rosalia S.  “The Terrific Tiger”
2nd place:  Julia C.  “The Love Story of Red and Blue”
3rd place:  Clayton L. “Lost Coyote”

3rd Grade

1st place:  Willa H. “Lily and Akash Make a New Friend”
2nd place:  Selena C.  “Little Duck”
3rd place:  Journie R.  “Girl Power”

Previous Contest Winners