writing for children

Want to win a Nikki Grimes book? Free your inner FREEVERSE!!

Since I’m trying to put all my efforts into solidifying my status as a NaNo rebel this month, I’m afraid my blog is feeling neglected. Thus, I am hoping you will help me out by entering yet another poetry contest.

During this contest, you will be writing about a special season, holiday or time in your life using…da-da-da-da —


The contest runs from November 3 until November 10.

And the prize for the winner?  Voices  of Christmas by Nikki Grimes! * 


  1. pick a season, holiday or special time in your life
  2. write a free verse poem about it
  3. enjoy the process
  4. see rules one, two and three 🙂

That’s about it.

Oh yeah…one more thing. Remember this is a family and kid friendly site. 

 *(I just ordered it from Amazon and it should be here by the end of November!)


36 thoughts on “Want to win a Nikki Grimes book? Free your inner FREEVERSE!!

  1. First Lie

    Paper airplanes
    Go sailing in the sky.
    Paper boats
    Go floating in the sand.
    A door opens.
    Oh, no.
    Daddy’s home.
    Quick! Tell a lie.
    “I saw my brother making those.”
    Punishment for him
    But I saved my skin.


    True story. I was five years old and the papers I used were my father’s thesis (before the time of computers)… I’d never seen so much paper in my life. Oh. My. Goodness. That’s what made it so special. Special enough to disobey and lie. Pity that my special moment has to reveal such wickedness. I don’t ever recall feeling guilty about it either.

    This was fun, Miss Nano Rebel. Thanks for having this contest.


  2. Oooh…I think you’re a bit of a rebel, too, Ms. Airplane-girl! 😉
    That memory HAS to go in a book somewhere!

    btw, GOOD JOB! This reminds me of my kids and some of the things they’ve done to one another. LOL!!

    Feel free to enter up to two more. You never know, milking those memories just might bring you the next idea you need to churn out the next Newberry!


    1. Hey Jacqui! Thanks for stopping by…and thanks for the sweet congrats! 🙂

      For what it’s worth – I know you said you didn’t have a poem, BUT…I still think you do and just don’t know it. You OOOZE creativity – so I know there’s some freeverse just itching to get out. 😉



  3. Thanks, Donna. I think this scene has been written up in the MG book I drafted last year …

    Here’s one that ought to show up in a YA book:

    First Jobs

    Pulling weeds
    Shoveling snow
    Telling fortunes
    I don’t mind one bit.
    With sound of money
    Jingling in my pocket.

    Hmmmm. Me thinks a pattern is emerging. Firsts.


  4. Here goes:


    Crunch of snow laced with ice
    Pop and crack of frozen, burdened branches
    Crisp air stinging my cheeks.

    Vast expanse of white on white
    Crystal veils covering the shame of naked trees
    Droplets of silvery breath suspended before my face.

    Winter’s brilliant beauty.



  5. cool beans! 🙂

    remember Kelly AND EVERYONE, you can all sub up to 3 entries. So if you’ve got more than one you want to share – go for it!



  6. I am terrible at poetry, so I won’t dirty up this nice contest by entering. I did want to say good luck at Nano tho and it’ll be fun reading the other entries!


  7. Hi Angela! 🙂 Thanks for coming by. Lots of folks think they are terrible at poetry. But Free-verse (or is it free verse or freeverse?) allows you the freedome to write however you want to. Consider this poem by Carl Sandburg:


    The fog comes
    on little cat feet.

    It sits looking
    over harbor and city
    on silent haunches
    and then moves on.

    Carl Sandburg

    Isn’t that cool? He’s writing about FOG…yet makes it come alive! No rhyme scheme. No rhythmic pattern. And still, WOW! 🙂

    Free Verse frees the poet! 🙂

    And thanks for the encouragement about NaNo. I’m working on it! 🙂



  8. First Pet

    A tiny green
    with a string on one leg.
    We don’t walk;
    We hop down the street.


    I love that Fog poem by Carl Sandberg. Hey Angela, go for it. It can be dreadful yet so utterly freeing … Of course, Julie Larios would smack me over the head with these poems.

    My last entry, Donna. Sheesh, I’m on a roll.


  9. Pingback: Tweenageritis «
  10. Hi Donna,

    I am not very good at free verse at all, but I shall give it a try:

    Cozy fire
    Hot cocoa
    Cookies, pies
    Stockings and
    Carols with music
    And a cappella
    Shorts and t-shirts.
    Christmas Eve
    In Florida.


  11. This looks fun! I’ll try:

    In the endless jar of wonder
    and magic
    I hold memories
    your laugh
    your smile
    like fireflies held captive
    burning bright one minute
    then gone the next


  12. And one more because I love Free Verse!

    I was young then
    I didn’t know how to love
    And the night was dark
    And cold
    I shivered in my thick coat
    Fighting both the wind and fear
    That tore at my bones
    “Don’t walk away”
    He whispered
    But how could I explain then
    What I know now
    That love is just a game
    Of hit or miss


    1. True – thank you for stopping by and entering the contest! 🙂

      I like both of your poems, but I think the first one is my favorite. Especially these lines:

      “like fireflies held captive
      burning bright one minute
      then gone the next”

      You’ve painted a nostalgic picture with beautiful imagery. Nicely done!

      BTW – I checked out your blog and tried to leave a message. The comments section isn’t allowing me to. So – I’ll just tell you here that I read a few of your poems. You really do love freeverse and it shows! “Sweet Child” was full of emotion and made me sad to read – yet also sang of hope. Again – nicely done! 🙂



      1. Thank you, Donna! I have only started dabbling in free verse this year. My passion lies in Children’s Picture Books, but in trying to grow as a writer, I’ve been experimenting in various genres. I found free verse and love it! I’m really enjoying reading everyones poems and your blogs as well!


  13. True –

    Have you checked out VerlaKay’s writing board?http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php Great place to plug in.
    How about SCBWI? http://www.scbwi.org Wonderful organization. I’ve been a member for years.

    And if you are anywhere near SC in February of next year, you might be interested in attending the Write2Ignite conference. Here’s a link to the website http://write2ignite.wordpress.com/ and also one for the conference blog http://fireitup4w2i.wordpress.com/

    I’m on the conference team for Write2Ignite if you have any questions. I can also try to help you with any questions about SCBWI. If I can’t answer them, I’ll direct you to someone who can! 🙂



  14. Donna, I joined Verla Kay about 2 months ago…that is where I found your blog! I’ve been trying to weed through all the various organiztions and writing groups to figure out which one is best to join. I will definitely be taking a look at SCBWI.

    Thank you so much for the links…going to delve into them right now:)


    1. Great! Is your name “TRUE” on Verla’s, too? If so, I’ll look for ya!


      p.s. depending where you live, you should be able to join a local SCBWI group in addition to the joining the national group.


  15. I picked winter to write about. This needs worked on some more, but time is running out.

    I Remember Winters

    I remember winters
    in the country
    with little children
    bundled by moms
    all warm and cozy.

    I remember sleds
    with slick runners
    dashing down hills
    and children trudging back
    huffing and puffing.

    I remember bon fires
    where hands and feet
    were warmed by flames
    and voices laughed until
    darkness fell upon them.

    I remember angels
    created in the snow
    and snowmen growing
    fatter and fatter while
    mittened hands shaped them.

    I remember winters
    in the country
    with snow drifts piled high
    and ice covered roads
    all slick and shiny.



    1. Janet – Welcome! I’m glad you decided to stop by and take part in the contest.

      And this is very nice! My favorite part is the description of the snowmen. I love that! The rare times we get snow, my kids HAVE to make snow angels!


      p.s. Tomorrow is the last day (5pm EST). You can sub up to 2 more if you’d like.


  16. SPRING
    Spring is a tease.
    She embraces me with her warmth one day,
    Then she pummels me with ice the next.
    She asks for forgiveness with cold raining tears
    And flowers every color of the rainbow.
    Then once again she’s bitter and cold.
    I think I prefer to be friends with her sister, Summer.
    Summer’s hot.


    1. Kelly…Kelly…Kelly! I am glad I wasn’t drinking anything during the moments I was reading about Spring. Had I been, I would now be cleaning it off my computer screen! 🙂

      That is laugh out loud funny, my friend!


  17. AUTUMN
    Autumn is cool.
    He’s a fan of football.
    He is a riot when he dresses up in October.
    Even the leaves fall over themselves to greet him.
    Autumn wears a cologne of fresh air and smoldering foliage.
    He is nothing like his father, Old Man Winter.
    Autumn is a breeze.


  18. LOST

    Friendship lost
    to an open fire.

    Friendship lost
    to a bad desire.

    Friendship lost
    because of age.

    Friendship lost
    a result of rage.

    A heart so sad
    it can’t be true.

    A pain so deep
    caused by you.

    A friend to you I’ll always be.

    Though in the future you’ll ne’er see me.


  19. Hi Sharon! Thank you for submitting to the contest! Sadly, the contest ended at 5pm EST today.

    FEAR NOT! I will be running more contests and hope you’ll submit again. I’d love to see more of your work and hope you’ll consider participating in the future. 🙂

    something to consider and research: You’ve got some nice true rhymes and steady rhythm (for the most part) going on here. Good job! That being the case, in my limited (but growing) understanding of all things poetic, I would not categorize your poem as a free verse poem.

    I might be completely off base here, so someone correct me if I’m wrong. I’m sure there are expert opinions out there who can chime in.
    Thank you, again, for stopping by. I hope you’ll come again!


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