Monday, March 28, 2011

Attention Teachers, Librarians, and Homeschoolers! Citizen Writer Contest Is In Progress!

Citzen Writer Contest Emphasizes Civics, Citizenship, and Communities

Reading Rockets and recently launched their Citizen Writer Challenge, and K-12 students across America are invited to participate! Entries can be submitted until April 30, 2011. 

This year's contest challenges students to think and learn more about America's people, places, and ideals as they write.  
To inspire maximum creativity, four very different kinds of writing prompts are being offered, each designed to match students' interests and stretch their creative skills. For kids who enjoy visualizing their ideas, the Mapmaker challenge could be a perfect fit; or, if you have students gifted in music and poetry, they might want to try the In Verse challenge, which  asks students to write songs and poems.  The Take a Letter challenge invites students to write a letter to a person in history, and the Free to... challenge invites students to exercise their freedom by writing a short essay or article about an issue important to them.

Prize winners will have their work published on
Reading Rockets and
and will receive a gift basket of age-appropriate books and a personalized certificate.

Begin the Research with Our White House!
To get young writers in the spirit for the contest, be sure to check out the excellent resources on civic education at This educational website is a companion to the remarkable book Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance and published by Candlewick Press. Our White House is an art and literature anthology designed to encourage young people to read and think more about America’s rich history and culture. The illustrations, essays, short stories, presidential letters, personal reflections, and historical accounts in Our White House inform and entertain, offering a window on more than 200 years of American history. 
Inspiration for Citizen Writers in Our White House!
Students participating in the Mapmaker challenge might want to check out mapmaker Mike Reagan's stunning representation of "The Capital City in 1800" in Our White House, as well as writer Mark London Williams' story, "Escape Map," which tells of how he drew an escape map on his bedroom wall during the 1960s. Young poets can read a variety of poems in Our White House, including the poignant "In Early April" by Kate DiCamillo and the humorous "I Live in the White House" by Jack Prelutsky. On students can read poet Nikki Grimes' powerful piece "Staking Claim."  For students choosing to write a letter to a president or first lady, the Presidential Facts and First Lady Facts pages on provide an excellent starting point for their research.

Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback. The new paperback edition features a NEW poem by Nikki Grimes about President Obama’s inauguration!