Free story and writing contest for kids!

Alhamdulillah — the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah are here! And here is a relaxing, simple, and beneficial writing activity you can do with your kids until ‘Eid. It can take 5 to 10 minutes of your time per day, or as long as you like. With the school year recently concluded, doing this activity will help children practice and retain some of their new writing skills, God willing.

You can do this with kids who can write sentences and paragraphs. Insha’ Allah, it will help them practice writing while remembering Allah Most High in their writing.

Enter the story you write with your child in our contest and win (details below)!

The main thing we hope to do with this contest is facilitate sharing amongst the kids of stories they have written with their parents. To make this work, here are some rules.

Story contest rules:

Two categories of contestants: 7 to 9 years old, and 10 to 12.

Word count of submissions: 300 to 700 words (age 7 to 9) & 700 to 2100 words (age 10 to 12)

Submissions should be written by a child and his or her parent, with the writers taking turns to write one to three paragraphs to move the story forward.

The story should reveal the problem the characters are facing within its first 3 paragraphs.

Suggested ingredients:

– Problem: What’s the problem the characters or their family, or community, or society, or pets, are facing? What does the main character want? What’s the obstacle?
– Describe the setting.
– Show how the characters turn to Allah Most High and make dua and how their problem thereafter is solved.
– Have a clear ending to your story.

Extra points:

– Correctly capitalize and punctuate every sentence.
– Correctly spell every word and capitalize names and proper nouns.
– Correctly indent every paragraph.
– Correctly use and punctuate dialogue.
– Pick the appropriate verb tense and aspect and use the right forms.
– Include scans of your own aniconic illustrations / artwork with your story.

Stories that will allow kids to exercise their imaginations are encouraged. If a child wishes to write about real people and events to share how a problem was solved, they should fictionalize the characters and events by changing their names and other details in order to safeguard against writing something unacceptable about a real person. The stories should be intended as and presented as fictional stories. Ideally, they should be works of the imagination, insha’ Allah, which usually contain elements from personal experience that have been transformed through writing.

Deadline: 10th of Dhul Hijjah/ July 31st, 1 PM Eastern Standard Time

Simple steps to write a short story: An easy way to co-write a story with your child is to decide who will begin the story and let them write a paragraph or two, and then take your turn, and go back and forth. You can read Boldwater to get a sense of how we did it.

Each of the first five days of Dhul Hijjah, you alternatingly write a few paragraphs so you have about a page or two for each day, ending the story on day five, insha’ Allah. Then you spend the next five days of Dhul Hijjah editing your story one or two pages per day until you feel you’re happy to share it with others. If you have less time to work with, feel free to see what you come up with by the deadline: you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. For editing tips, see Extra points above. You and your child are both welcome to make aniconic illustrations to include with your contest submission.

Share your story in our newsletter: All stories that follow the rules and include the ingredients listed above will be included in Zephyr, the newsletter of Zaynab Books, and e-mailed to our subscribers, insha’ Allah. You retain copyright, and by entering this contest and e-mailing your story to zoomer@zaynabbooks.com, you agree to grant Zaynab Books LLC a free, exclusive license to lightly edit (as appropriate) and publish your story with other submissions in Zephyr for the benefit of subscribers including you. If you do not want your story considered for inclusion in Zephyr to share with subscribers (who may include the parent(s) of your child’s classmates, neighbors or friends), just say so and it won’t be considered.

Prizes: The stories that make the most of the rules and recipe above, in the sole discretion of our editorial team, will receive a link to download a free ebook of Journey Beyond the Great Tree, insha’ Allah.

For contestants located in Amman, the top entry in both categories wins a free paperback kids’ novel (God willing): 330 + pages! Aniconic illustrations! Arabic calligraphy! Approved by Shaykh Qays Arthur!

You are welcome to share this link with others who may be interested in reading and participating – thank you!

May Allah Most High accept from you and from us, amin.

الحَمدُلِلهِ رَبِ العَا لَمين

Many thanks,

Adnan Ashraf

Managing editor

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