Among the many wonderful resources NewPages offers to readers and writers is our Young Writers Guide to Publications, which features publications by and for young readers, and our Young Writers Guide to Contests, which includes carefully vetted legitimate contests. These are open-access ad-free guides that I personally curate out of my commitment to supporting young readers and writers as well as parents and teachers.
Despite the pandemic which surrounds us, great efforts are still going on to create opportunities and provide motivation and encouragement for young writers. I recently heard from Sophia Hanson, who is one of three founders of the National Youth Foundation. This Pennsylvania-based non-profit seeks to improve literacy and educate youth on topics related to social justice. Each year, they run two book competitions: Student Book Scholars – which involves players from the NFL, NBA, and MLB; and Amazing Women’s Edition – a national writing contest focused on gender equality. Past competition winners have been honored at the Smithsonian Museum as well as having their images included in a statue honoring the late Marian Spencer, who was the subject of the winning book.
I am so heartened to know that this kind of outreach to young writers persists through these difficult times. When I asked Sophia how this has impacted their work, she responded, “The global pandemic has more parents at home than ever. We have also seen a major increase in emails from parents about our contests and programs. We even had NBA and NFL players contact us to host a Bounce Back art contest to help kids process the pandemic. On the flip side of that, we had two writing workshop series planned in Philadelphia with two amazing women, and those are on hold.”
Still, like so many efforts, the National Youth Foundation will find ways to continue to engage young writers. Now more than ever, online resources like ours are here to help. If you have young people in your life or know of others who do, please tell them about NewPages Guides for young readers and writers!