“The 4th Annual Summer Book Contest Starts Now!by Sara CarothersWe are so pleased to be kicking off our 4th Annual Summer Book Contest! This year, students will create an original, illustrated 18-page mystery story using the Lulu Jr. IlluStory kit. When they finish,they mail the completed pages to Lulu Jr. and receive their own hard cover book in the mail!And while you can read all about the judging criteria and fantastic prizeson the website, I want to talk to you parents for a minute about some things you may not have considered.1 – The book your child creates is a snapshot of their imagination. The story is their own; parents are not allowed to help beyond getting the pages mailed and following up with an email to enter the contest.2 – Your child is using their own handwriting and illustrations. They have to take their time since neatness is a criteria for judging. How many times have you had to tell your child to slow down and write neatly?3 – They have to plan their story thoughtfully. They will develop characters, a setting, the plot, a conflict, resolution, and a satisfying conclusion. It’s a small book, so their choices have to be carefully edited.4 – We will be looking at their sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary and spelling.5 –It will be beneficial to carefully read and follow the instructions in the book kit itself, as well as the contest rules on our website. They have to be conscientious. If they miss a step, there may be a negative consequence either in the quality of their finished book or in their entry.6 – There are three age groups and two winners per group. Not everyone is going to win a prize even if they write a great book. We have several judges all using the same rubric and we total all of their scores to determine the prize winners. This is not an easy thing to do, so we have made it as objective as we could. You will have the very same rubric to refer to when writing the story and know exactly what we are looking for. The first contest had 40 entries. The second contest had 145. There is a lot of competition.7 – Every contestant will be mailed a $5 Dairy Queen gift card as a thank you for entering. Everyone gets a hardcover copy of their own book to share with friends and family. You can even purchase more copies of it on your own from Lulu Jr. for about $15 each. However, the real prize is in their hard work and the book they have to show for it.8 – The overall winner will have their book printed and sold by Rainbow Resource Center, with royalties paid to the young author, as well as a cash prize. That is pretty awesome! But think of the academic value, the keepsake to treasure, and the independence of a child being in charge of writing their own book brings to the table.If you have a child who enjoys writing or drawing, we hope you’ll consider the Summer Book Contest. We can’t wait to see their story!” You guys are amazing writers, and you deserve to enter and win this contest. I hope you will think about it!