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.

Are you a teacher? 

Fancy winning $500 worth of books for your school? Register today to find out how your class can get involved in our free writing competition!


Are you a child/parent?

How would you like to win a Kindle Fire HD for yourself along with books for your school? Enter your story online between January 16-April 1st!


Free writing resources for home or at school

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, or child and want some guidance on writing 500 words, you can access our fun and free resources!

This year’s theme inspires children to consider their everyday heroes.


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.


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

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

Our 2017 Winner…..

Young Writers' Award winning story illustration

Carl Hu, grade 5, Alvis C. Story Elementary, Allen ISD

Huge congratulations to our fantastic winner Carl, who competed against hundreds of other students from schools and districts throughout Dallas/Fort Worth to take the top prize.  We were honored to be invited to attend his end of year celebration assembly to congratulate Carl in front of his friends, teachers and family.  Alongside all of the glory, Carl also won:

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


“Carl’s entry dropped me straight into the action.  He used sensory detail and dialogue well to create a sense of urgency.  I loved his premise that we become human-robots in the future and therefore circuit destroying nanobots could become a threat to our existence.  He developed a sympathetic protagonist and included similes that supported his world building and the technology in his future.  Carl also left us with a great cliffhanger.  I felt like this story could be the start of a novel I’d very much like to read.” Polly Holyoke, author and competition judge

“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.”   Liz Wilson Head of Curriculum at Explore Horizons

“It’s truly been a pleasure for me to serve as the judge for Explore Horizon’s 2017 Young Writers’ Award contest. I was so impressed by the variety, creativity and talent I saw in the entries I read on the topic of The Future. I believe educators, writers and parents all need to do what we can to make writing more cool for kids, and contests like this one is an effective way to accomplish that goal.”  Polly Holyoke, 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






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