Calling all Youth Writers: The Inklings Book Contest

Learn more about the Inklings Book Contest and RSVP here!


Enormous thanks to previous Inklings Book author, Carmen Bechtel, for designing and animating this inspiring video! Thanks also, to her sister, Annabelle, for the fabulous voice-over.

At SYI, we’re thrilled to feature the creativity of youth, and we are so grateful for this true Society of artists, of all ages, who support and encourage one another.

Want to join us?

Fantastic! Here are three ways you can take part:

  1. Sign up for the Inklings Book Contest.
  2. Work with a mentor in person or via Skype.
  3. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

P.S. You can also sign up for our monthly writing challenge and author feature, the InkSplat, below.

Inklings Book Contest 2016 Results!

This year we received 200 applications from young writers across 7 states from over 35 different cities. Thanks to our star judges we have 23 winners and 58 finalists.


David Shannon: Internationally acclaimed picture book author and winner of many awards including Book Sense Best Picture Book, Golden Kite Award, and New York Times Best Illustrated Book List. 

“Loved these stories – so imaginative and well-written. Usually it’s one or the other, even with grown-ups! It was really a pleasure to read them.”  –David Shannon

Jennifer Fosberry: New York Times best-seller and author of the Isabella books.

“Wow what a difficult yet enjoyable task to judge these stories. I found it interesting to see that different authors showed different strengths and also different places to improve and grow in their craft. They were all so good.  I am impressed at the level of story-telling and writing that I have seen with the Young Inklings competition.” –Jennifer Fosberry


  • Anabel Orozco “Kai’s First Kiss/El Primer Beso De Kai” (Grade 1)
  • Dillon Mareth – “Mike’s Beaver Tail” (Grade 3)
  • Natalie Sharp – “The Skating Goat” (Grade 4)
  • Sahana Srinivasan – “The Mystery of the Disappearing Pets” (Grade 2)
  • Samantha Vargas “Dusty” (Grade 2)
  • Sydney Goodwin – “Unspoken” (Grade 4)
  • Zoe Friedman  “My One-Inch Tall Life” (Grade 2)



Laura Ruby: Author of Bone Gap and winner of many awards, including the Printz Award.

“I was so impressed with the range of stories submitted, everything from historical fantasy, to folk tale, to humor.  But more than that, I was impressed with the sheer talent of these young writers.”   -Laura Ruby 

Mandy Davis: Author of forthcoming middle-grade novel, Superstar.

“What a treat it was to read the writing of these talented young writers! While the pieces were all very different from one another, they all had one important thing in common: the unique voice of each writer shined through on the page.” –Mandy Davis


  • Aidan Wen – “Earth and Sky” (Grade 8)
  • Benjamin Hayes – “Whalewatching Past Westerndon” (Grade 5)
  • Erin Gray – “Saving Billy” (Grade 6)
  • Judge Cantrell – “The Ghost of the Underworld” (Grade 6)
  • Manasi Garg  “The Girl with the Light-Up Shoes” (Grade 7)
  • Maya Lopez  “A Journey to a New Land” (Grade 7)
  • Samantha James  “Hocus Pocus” (Grade 8)
  • Xiomara Guevara – “Silver Lining” (Grade 6)



Tim McCanna: Author of 6 forthcoming picture books including Bitty Bot which comes out in October 2016. 

“What an incredible range of poetic work from these Young Inklings! Sometimes quiet, sometimes fierce, sometimes super funny. But always fresh, inventive, and engaging. Exceptional work from an exceptional group of young writers.”  —Tim McCanna


  • Colin Chu  “Ten” (Grade 2)
  • Kendra Mills “Leaves” (Grade 1)
  • Jasper Micheletti – “Beautiful Long Curly Hair” (Grade 2)
  • Juliana Baltz –“Whale Eating Contest” (Grade 3)



Marilyn Hilton: Author of Full Cicada Moon and Found Things, winner of the 2015-16 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.

“Poetry expresses the breadth and depth of the human experience using an economy of words. As a reader and writer of poetry, it was a joy to see how these young poets chose to express their personal and unique perspectives of the world. All the writers deserve huge congratulations for their work, and I felt truly privileged to be able to read them.”  – Marilyn Hilton


  • Cianna Brown  “Races” (Grade 7) 
  • Karishma Miranda  “Broken Beyond Repair” (Grade 6)
  • Rafael Stankeiewicz  “Long Lost Love” (Grade 8)
  • Sophia Zalewski  “The Storm Inside Her” (Grade 8)

Congratulations, winners! Be sure to check your email. You’ll be meeting your mentor and start working on your revisions soon! To see the list of finalists click here.

These were tough decisions. We were highly impressed with all of the talented writers who submitted their stories and poems, and can’t wait to tell each of you exactly what we loved about your work. Soon, all applicants will receive a special letter from our team about your submission. Be sure to watch your email inbox–we’ll be sending those letters throughout the month of April.

A HUGE thank you to our Inklings Book Sponsors! 

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Fall Into A Classroom With Us…

Fall Classes are Full of Wild Adventures and Kooky Characters!

This Fall we’re taking you inside our classrooms. We’ll be posting first-hand accounts from our instructors, covering everything from silly games, idea-sparking worksheets, all the way to the development of the students’ final stories. Stay tuned, and don’t miss out on a minute of your young writer’s creativity! 


Want to be the first to know about classroom updates? Subscribe to our mailing list here.

Fall 2015 Classes

We hope you had a creative and inspiring summer. We’re thrilled to be adding a number of new classes to our lineup including our beloved “Magic Trunk” class for K-1 writers. We’ve also expanded to new locations—tell your friends! Registration is open for most locations. View the schedule HERE

As you may be aware, some schools handle registration. If you see an “out of stock” notice this likely means registration is handled by the school itself. If you have any questions or would like to be added to a wait list please email Jena at

Magic Trunk Pose copyThe Magic Trunk: Exploring Stories (K-2)
In this class we’ll generate story ideas by using costumes and props from the magic trunk. Students will develop story comprehension and early writing skills. By the end of the class writers will have a collection of original stories both dictated and illustrated.


Yay copyYoung Inklings: Chatterboxes (2nd-5th)
In this creative writing class, we’ll create stories through improvisational games and activities. Writers will act out scenes from their stories, and explore each of their characters’ unique voices, humor and personalities. By the end of the class, writers will each have created their own short story or script!


Plain Paper  copyNovelist’s Workshop (5th -8th)
Draft your novel in the company of friends! In this workshop, young writers will explore the finer points of story development through creative activities, facilitated critique sessions, writing time and one on one conferring. Students may feel free to come to class with a novel-in-progress, or begin from the very beginning.



Addison Elementary
Barron Park Elementary
Duveneck Elementary
El Carmelo Elementary
Escondido Elementary
Hoover Elementary
Keys School
Nixon Elementary
Ohlone Elementary
The Children’s School of Art and Science

Encinal Elementary
Las Lomitas Elementary
Laurel Elementary
Phillips Brooks School
Synapse School

Los Altos Christian School
Loyola Elementary
Santa Rita Elementary

Bubb Elementary
Stevenson Elementary
Ormondale Elementary
Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory
Woodland School
Woodside School

Argonaut Elementary
Blossom Hill Elementary
Saratoga Elementary
Van Meter Elementary
Foothill Elementary

Academic Antics
Booksin Elementary
Willow Glen Elementary

Leitch Elementary

Helios School

Inklings Book Contest Results

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Woah! With over 80 submissions this year we had a tough time choosing just 20 young writers to feature. We read stories and poems that made us gasp, think, laugh and FEEL! We are amazed by the pure talent and bravery of young writers. Thank you to all who submitted to the contest this year! 


1. Simple Magic by Phoebe Barrientos

2. 100 Shades of Summer by Samantha Sasaki

3. The Story of my Grandather’s Singing Bowl by Tal Dickman

4. The Sheriff and the Treehouse by Rachel Hoge

5. A Cat in Paris by Olivia Cisneros

6. What Others Couldn’t Dream by Evie Landreth

7. Dance With Me by Ashley Schwatka

8. Lost and Found by Sonia Kulasooriya

9. The Tree by Daniel Kao

10. The Little Fairy by Rachel Gould

11. The Mice by Rouli Freeman

12. William by Kiera Finlay

13. The Vegetarian Lion by Mitesh Jain

14. Poems by Katie Turk

15. The Shadow of the Dragon by Benjamin Bouie

16. Cherry Blossoms at Tidal Basin by Cynthia Wang

17. The Baseball Game by Kabir Buch

18. The Dragon Journey by Timothy Leung

19. Goodbye India by Sonia Cherian

20. Just a Rose by Ellie Turk

Congratulations, winners! Be sure to check your email. You’ll be meeting your mentor and start working on your revisions soon! 

Remember every young writer who applied to the contest will receive a positive critique letter in the mail even those not chosen as a winner. Be sure to check your email and watch your mailbox for a special letter!

A HUGE thank you to our Inklings Book Sponsors! 

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Joe and Glenda Zanger.

It’s not too late to become a sponsor! Learn more here. Society of Young Inklings is a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization.

Inklings Book Contest

Are you a creative writer in 1st-8th grade? If so, we’re looking for you! Your stories matter. Your poetry has the power to change the world. Submit your exceptional writing, and your short story or poem could be showcased in the Inklings Book this year! Learn more here


Submit your work

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Win an Editorial Mentorship

Be a published author

What is the Inklings Book?

The Inklings Book features short stories and poems by twenty young writers and is professionally published by Society of Young Inklings annually in June.

Who is the contest for?

Young writers in grades 1st-8th ready to be treated like a pro. All applicants receive a personalized editorial letter from our team of authors. Our editorial team is committed to helping you take your writing to the next level!

How do I submit?

Stories and poems must be submitted by March 15. Fill out the application online here.

How are the winners chosen?

We’re looking for submissions with a strong point of view and for writers who are committed to the revision process. Up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 1-4 and up to ten from grades 5-8.

What will I win?

Each winner will receive a two-session mentorship. Mentors will guide young writers through a focused revision process. Each revised story or poem will be published in the Inklings Book, which is distributed through independent bookstores. Winners will also receive their very own copy and one for their school. Winners will be invited to a book launch party in August in the Bay Area, CA.

To learn more about the contest view the details here

FREE Family Workshops in San Jose

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Engaging young writers with games!

Play your way to the page

Jump into your character’s shoes. Walk around in their world. Watch your writing spring to life. In these free workshops, facilitators will guide families through interactive Inklings games. While students write the beginning of a short story under the guidance of one facilitator, the other facilitator will share a Writerly Play toolkit of practical strategies to encourage creativity and literacy at home with parents.



Locations, Dates, and Times

Edenvale Branch  (101 Branham Lane East San José, CA 95111)

Tuesday, January 6 at 5:00pm

Vineland Branch (1450 Blossom Hill Rd. San José, CA 95118)

Tuesday, January 13 at 4:30pm

Santa Teresa Branch (290 International Circle San José, CA 95119)

Saturday, January 17 at 11:00am

Pearl Branch (4270 Pearl Ave. San José, CA 95136)

Saturday, January 17 at 2:00pm

Evergreen Branch  (2635 Aborn Rd. San José, CA 95121)

Thursday, January 29 at 4:30pm

Martin Luther King Branch (150 E. San Fernando St. San José, CA 95112)

Saturday, January 31 at 3:00 pm

All workshops are FREE and open to the public! We hope to see you there. Contact us at with any questions.  Library webpage:

Happy Book Birthday!

We are proud to wish a happy book birthday to The Other Side of Carroll by Sophia Nesamoney.

Every writer dreams of holding a book in their hands, published, with his or her name on the spine. But why should young writers wait until they grow up for their dream to come true? Young Inklings like Sophia Nesamoney have proven that young people absolutely have the passion, dedication and skill to create novels worthy of a reader’s nightstand.

In the Your Name in Ink Program, professional writers mentor young writers through a six-month revision process which results in publication and distribution. Read more about the program here.


Oliver and Shirley Tark were about eight years old one summer, and the family had come back from seeing a movie. Their father sent Oliver to get some bread. Shirley was playing outside with her jump rope, and the parents were discussing a dangerous topic they never talked about in front of the children. But then something happened, something that changes the course of all their lives. Something big, something that could never be fixed.

Oliver and Shirley’s journey is a unique one. It captures the importance of family and will surely take readers on a thrilling ride full of sadness, memories, adventure, and joy.

Order the book here. The Other Side of Carroll will be for sale through Amazon and Ibook soon!

Browse more books by young authors here.