Children’s Story Book Writing Contest – Help us pick a winner!

/ / Contests, Schoolhouse Teachers


Join The Old Schoolhouse® and for a Facebook party announcing the winner of the writing contest.

WHEN: Thursday, February 13, 2014

9:00 pm eastern / 6:00 pm Pacific



We need you to choose our children’s storybook-writing contest winner!

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine,, and sponsored the storybook-writing contest for children ages 5 to 10 this fall. More than 220 entries were submitted with our chosen theme of “Back in Time.” We approved 180 that met contest rules, and our staff has chosen seven finalists.

The children brought amazing creativity, imagination, fun—and history!—to their stories. The winning story will be professionally animated by staff and released in about one month. (Animation work time varies.) The winning family also receives a Kindle Fire from TOS Magazine.

Our seven finalist stories are just below. Please read and then cast your vote. It’s that simple!  Our staff is compiling all votes, and we’re hosting a Facebook party at 9 pm Thursday, February 13 to announce the winner and second and third place.

Limit no more than 5 votes per family, please. (E-mail addresses monitored.)

Vote now! Join us for the winner on the evening of February 13.

. . . and look for a second contest to run this spring and summer!

— Bob Irvin
For the staff



Brickley and Spike – Cherish L., 9

“Clip, clop, clip, clop” the oxen were pulling the heavy wagon up a steep ridge.
Are we going to fall? Rosamund thought. She had convinced herself not to look down. Mom and Dad were in the rain trying to push the wagon up the hill. And if I would fall, what would happen? … She shuddered. “Clip, clop, clip, clop” the oxen pulled harder. Will we ever get to the Oregon Territory on the Oregon Trail?
She remembered the time at the beginning of the trip when Mom had said, “These two sugar plums will be for the one who works the hardest”. And from that time on Rosamund wanted them. She worked hard but she felt that she did not work hard enough. Now she knew what she should do, she got out of the wagon and started to move rocks out of the way. When she finally looked up from moving the last rock, she saw that the wagon was safely up the ridge. Rosamund was hot, tired, and soaked from the storm. She hoped Mom would give her the plums, but she went up the hill to find Mom giving the plums to the oxen.
“Mom, you said you would give them to the person that worked the hardest” said Rosamund.
“I did not say the person, I said the ONE who worked the hardest” answered Mom. “They worked the hardest, Rosamund, they worked hard to pull the wagon up the steep ridge, preventing us from throwing out the chairs and tables. They earned their reward.”
Rosamund walked up to the oxen and started to stroke them softly on their nose, and then she whispered softly, “Thank you, Brickly and Spike, thank you!”


Chewer’s Discovery of America — Acacia A., 9

Hi, I am Chewer the Mouse. It is 1492 and I live on Christopher Columbus’s ship the Santa Maria, but Captain Columbus and his crew don’t know I am on board. There are three ships for Columbus’ Voyage: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Captain Columbus and his crew are on their way to find a water route to the Indies.We had been sailing for a long time. “I see an island!” shouted Columbus. When I heard this, I at once jumped into Columbus’ pocket. They sailed towards the island. They thought it was the Indies, but really it was Columbus’ discovery of the Americas! The men stopped, went aground, and explored the beach. They saw half-naked men. They said, “Sirs, are these the Indies?”As they were talking, I jumped out of Columbus’ pocket and ran to a berry bush and started eating. I was hungry! I made it back to Columbus’ pocket just in time as he was boarding the Santa Maria again. He was carrying an annoying parrot that the Natives had given him. We were going to a new island in search for gold!It was now late and the crew went below deck and went to bed. Suddenly, the Santa Maria stopped and the water started to rush in. The ship was going down! Captain Columbus and the Crew swam to the Nina. I jumped on a piece of wood on the water and floated away.

I floated on that piece of wood for a long time and stunk like fish. Everyday I ate a little seaweed. Suddenly, a big shadow came over me! It was the parrot! The parrot grabbed me and took me to the Nina. He dropped me on the poop deck in a slop bucket.


A Family Once Again — Anastasia T., 10

A young girl named Corinne was spending the summer with her cousins at her grandparents’ house. One morning, they decided to play hide and seek. Corinne ran under her grandparents’ bed. She saw a box under the bed. She grabbed it and opened it. There were medals, photos, a yellow star patch, and a very old letter. She began to read the letter.July 1944Dear Betty,
I must tell you that God spared my life once more. A bullet struck me in the leg and I screamed for help but no one came . . .As Corinne read, she felt like she was being teleported back in time. She suddenly realized that it was a letter her great grandpa wrote to her great grandma.. . .Do you remember when I told you about my lost family? As I lay there, I prayed that I could see them again. Then a young Jewish girl, who reminded me of my sister, rushed forward and nursed me. I was OK. Sometime later, I saw her again. She and her family were caught by the Nazis and were to be separated. When she walked past me, I suddenly realized she was my sister! I couldn’t recognize her when I first saw her because I was so dazed. She realized that I was her brother. She ran towards me, then stopped. No one could know we were related. But in those few moments, as we gazed into each other’s eyes, we were a family once again.Pete

Corinne put the letter away. “Corinne! We give up!” She remembered she was playing hide and seek and ran out and told her cousins how she felt like she went back in time and met the family she never knew.


First Thanksgiving from the View of a Young Girl’s Journal – Macey U., 10

November 26, 1621
My name is Rachel. This is my journal my mother gave me when we came to America on the May Flower. My brother, James, died on the ship. He was only three. Mother says her heart cries when she thinks of him. Mine does too.Tomorrow we are having a big feast to thank God for our provisions. The Indians will come. All day today we baked and cooked. Even though I am only eight, Mother let me help.November 27, 1621Today was the first day of the big feast. There was more food than I had ever imagined. I liked everything. Well, almost everything. Then we had games and contest. But I am not good at those things. I lost all of them. Tonight we sang and danced and heard stories. They were great.November 28, 1621I ate to much today. I still have a stomach ache. Mother said not to be greedy, but I forgot. I heard my papa say that we had so much food today, we barely have enough for tomorrow! Now I feel guilty. My Indian friend, ( I don’t know her name, or how to pronounce it) was really good at the races and contests. I think she runs like the wind.

My father got to play his fiddle tonight when we sang and danced. I danced so much I could barely breathe. I am glad we came to America.

November 29, 1621

Today is the last day of the feast. I am so sad. My heart feels heavy. Mother said not to cry, because it would ruin the day. So, I didn’t cry, and I felt much better. The rest of the day was pleasant. My papa must have been joking because we had more than enough food for today.


Forgotten Heroine: Irena Sendler — Emma B., 10

“Owwww!” yelped the dog as he sat beside Irena Sendler. Irena smiled nervously as she drove from the Warsaw ghetto to a county family home in 1942.
She arrived and hurriedly passed on the package. As Irena quickly sped away, the package began to wail!!! The woman opened the package to find a baby!! Irena cautiously drove back to the convent where she lived.
Sister greeted her as she entered, “You know this isn’t safe. You should be more careful!”
“I’m very cautions about rescuing the children from the ghetto where they will die otherwise. I hid the identities of the children in jars beneath the apple tree.” replied Irena.
“Still it is very dangerous with the war going on and Poland being invaded by the Nazis.” said Sister Mary.
“I have to help the Jewish people in the camps!” stated Irena.
“What will you do if they catch you? You aren’t even five feet tall.” enquired Sister.
“I can take care of the job. I’ve rescued 2500 so far.” pointed out Irena.
“Be careful. Someone may betray you any moment.” replied Sister Mary.
Someone did betray Irena and the next evening as Irena was returning from the apple tree, she felt the brutal grip of a Nazi guard squeezing her arm.
Irena was questioned about saving children. She did not give any information even though they beat her legs until they were broken. They arrested her and sentenced her to death. She escaped by bribing her executioner and crawling back home.
Irena lived until 2008; she passed away at 98 years old as a true heroine to her county and the thousands of children she saved. Her dog even forgave her for stomping on his paw every time a baby cried during their escape.


Potato Picking Season — Sebastian D., 8

One morning, I felt sad because I missed my Nana. I told my mom. Mom said, “I have an idea. We could use the time machine in your closet to go back in time to when we were vacationing at Nana’s house.”
I was so excited that I ran up to my room and clicked the wrong buttons to start the time machine. The next thing I knew I was in the middle of a Maine potato field. The time machine said it was 1955!
There was a little girl with braids, running down a hill toward the field. She had a basket and pulled out a sandwich. I took a sniff, “Is that peanut butter and marshmallow fluff?”
“Yeah, it’s my favorite,” she said. That was my Nana’s favorite, too. “I’m Sally, nice to meet you.”
Sally, I thought, she is my Nana! “We’re picking potatoes. Do you want to help?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Here, take a basket. When it’s full, you can pour it into the barrel. For every barrel we fill, the farmer gives us a quarter.”
We watched as a conveyor belt came through and shook the dirt off the potatoes. I hurried to put potatoes in my basket. Every time my basket was full, I ran over and poured it into the barrel.
At the end of the day, we had worked so hard, we started to get silly. Some of the kids threw potatoes at the kids from Canada working on the other side of the field. They teased us, too, and threw them right back. It was all good fun.
It was getting dark. I was sad to leave, but glad that I could spend the day with Nana as a little girl. I couldn’t wait to call Nana when I got home to tell her all about it.


The Prideful Gorilla — Mason L., 10

A long time ago, three friends were playing aside an oasis in West Africa. The friends were a goat, a fish, and a snake. They remembered when West Africa was beautiful and had tall trees, plenty of water, and lots of other animal friends. The years passed and now it is mostly sand with a few areas of water with palm trees called an oasis. The nomads and animals began traveling to find an oasis to call home. Nomads are people who travel from place to place following food.
One day, a gorilla moved to the oasis where the friends played. The friends welcomed the gorilla and asked if he wanted to play. The gorilla was big and wasn’t used to having friends. He lived alone in the forest. The gorilla pushed them away. He drank from the oasis and became really hungry. He didn’t know how to get food from the palm trees. He began shaking the trees, pounding the sand, and grumbling very loudly. The three friends were scared, but they felt sorry for the gorilla. They gathered some dates and offered them to the gorilla. The gorilla pushed them away because he wanted to do things himself. He went back to pounding and shaking. The dates didn’t fall from the tree. He became very tired and very hungry. He sat down and cried.
The three friends were watching and walked over. They offered the dates to the gorilla again. He took the dates and smiled at the three friends. They all ate dates and played together since that very day.
Give new friends a chance.
Don’t be prideful.

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Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6