Children’s writing competition for ages 4 – 14

Young Writers’ Awards

For several years, Explore Horizons has been inspiring children to write, from the young authors in the making to those a little more reluctant.

This year, our theme is all about the heroes that are all around us – from firefighters and paramedics to teachers and parents. From January 16th to April 1st 2018, our competition gives children an opportunity to see the great reward in the magic of their own short story writing.

Our 2018 contest is now closed, scroll down to see the winning entry!

Want to come to a free workshop? 

Visit one of our centers on June 6th for a workshop that inspires kids to use reading and writing to unlock their imaginations this summer.


Missed our competition?

Our 2018 contest has closed. Stay tuned to find out who the winner was! In the meantime, help yourself to a free download of some of our creative writing resources, sure to be fun for the whole family at home!


What are the Young Writers’ Awards?

If you’re looking for ways to build a love of writing in your child or in your class, then you’ve come to the right place.  Our Young Writers’ Award is an annual, short-story writing competition which aims to discover the most talented young authors in North Texas.  Students between the ages of 5 and 14 are invited to write a story of no more than 500 words on a given theme, to be judged by a top children’s author. Previous judges have included Polly Holyoke, Plano-based author of the Texas Bluebonnet listed ‘The Neptune Project’, Lauren Child, award-winning author of the ‘Charlie and Lola’ books, and Cressida Cowell, best-selling author of the popular ‘How to Train your Dragon’ books.

At Explore Horizons, we believe that finding the fun in writing is essential to developing the confidence and motivation to become a skilled and fearless writer.


Our 2018 Winner…..

Sreeja Surisetti, grade 5, Nichols Elementary School, Frisco ISD

Huge congratulations to our fantastic winner Sreeja, who competed against hundreds of other students from schools and districts throughout Dallas/Fort Worth to take the top prize! Alongside all of the glory, Sreeja also won:

  • A Kindle Fire HD
  • A trophy, medal & certificate
  • $500 worth of books for her school
  • A professional illustration of her story


“We received a great response to our contest from students across DFW and we are so proud of all these students who put their creativity to the test. All the winners did a fantastic job taking our celebrity judge on a journey through different worlds.”   Belinda Southgate, organizer of the Young Writers’ Awards at Explore Horizons

“I had so much fun judging this competition and I’m inspired by the stories produced by these young writers. Everyday Heroes is a broad topic and can be taken down many different avenues. The creativity and the thoughtfulness that went into each of these stories was impressive and a great reminder of how writing should and can be fun. I hope parents and teachers will encourage their children to enter this contest next year.”  Tani Lamb, author and competition judge

Runners-up in this year’s competition are Julie Kluthe from Lewisville ISD and Morgan Connor from Frisco ISD, who should be very proud of themselves, and have prizes coming their way too.

*Illustration by Frances Southgate






Our 2018 Judge: Tani Lamb


We are extremely lucky to have Tani Lamb as the judge for our 2018 Young Writer’s Awards competition. As a Kentucky native living in Dallas who has recently completed a nationwide book tour, Tani is the perfect choice for our writing competition.

In her recent children’s book, T Sees An Island, Tani has infused her writing with an imaginative and exploratory mindset .”What I like most about travel, and what I also highlight in the books, is that people are people everywhere you go,” says Lamb. “Travel is a big part of my life. I’ve been to over 40 countries, and I know how it’s enhanced my life. I wanted to reach out to the little children between the ages of five and nine and show them a little about travel so they might develop an interest for it later in their life.”

Click Here to Read Tani’s Top Tips for Young Writers

How do I get my school involved?

As part of our 5th annual Young Writers’ Awards, starting in January 2018, we will be visiting elementary and middle schools across Dallas / Fort Worth, to deliver engaging writing workshops, and show students just how exciting writing can be.

At Explore Horizons, we believe that finding the fun in writing is essential to developing the confidence and motivation to become a skilled and fearless writer, and so next year we are planning to work with more schools than ever.  We would love for your school to be one of them!

Our FREE, writing workshops and assemblies are available exclusively to schools that are within a 5 mile radius of one of our education centers.  Our events are designed to develop creative writing skills, inspiring students to find pleasure in producing their own extended writing pieces, which can be entered into the Young Writers’ Award.  Whether your students need stretching beyond the state curriculum, are lacking in motivation, or are finding writing challenging, our events are the ideal way to get their creative juices flowing.

Please note, although we aren’t able to provide story-writing workshops for every school, we are happy to provide all interested schools with entry forms.

Schedule Free Workshop

Helping children become fearless writers all year round

At Explore Horizons, we are passionate about helping students to develop their writing skills, and become fearless learners, ready to take on the challenges of elementary, middle, high school and beyond.

Every week, we hold 2 specialist writing classes; Enhanced Writing for 3rd through to 6th-grade students, and Advanced Writing and Study Skills for students in 6th grade and above.  These classes are designed to develop skills, confidence and motivation for writing.  We want to ensure that every student can not only succeed with the STAAR tests, and prepare for high school, but also to instill a passion for writing that will last them a lifetime.

We would love to invite any aspiring young authors to try an Enhanced Writing, or Advanced Writing and Study Skills class for FREE.  Just contact your nearest enrichment and tutoring center, or fill out a free assessment form online, to reserve your space.

enHANCED writing    ADVanced writing & study skills

We believe delivering the best standard of education shouldn’t cost the world.

That’s why we offer our award-winning service at a price that’s accessible for everyone.

As well as building writing skills, our inspiring tutors work with children on personalized math and reading courses, that are aligned to the Texas curriculum. This means that we can support your child’s work at school, help prepare for the STAAR tests, and challenge gifted students. What’s more, we help students become hungry for information, believe in themselves, and pursue knowledge with the spirit of a fearless learner.

Our membership is simple and a great value. We offer a sibling discount so that your whole family can benefit, and we’re proud to offer a needs-based scholarship program, with a 50% discount for a limited number of qualifying lower income families.  What’s more, with our ‘Refer A Friend’ program you can reduce your monthly membership, simply by successfully introducing other members to Explore Horizons.  For every child that joins as a result of your recommendation, you will save $10 per month, every month, and so will your friend!

If you haven’t had a chance yet, schedule your free in-person assessment today and find out how Explore Horizons can discover the fearless learner in your child.

Free Assessment