We Read Youth Voices Writing Contest participants at a Forward Madison FC game

Madison Public Library started the We Read Youth Voices Writing Contest in Summer 2021 with the goal of highlighting the words, thoughts and writing of Madison-area kids 18 and under. This is the only writing contest locally that provides a cash prize to the winners, as well as the opportunity for youth to be published locally in the We Read Youth Voices Anthology.

We Read Youth Voices Writing Contest participantsThe library works with local partners like the Forward Madison FC team and the Wisconsin Book Festival to really go the extra mile in making kids feel seen, heard and celebrated. This year’s contest kicks off at a Forward Madison FC game on April 15 with the Youth Ambassador for the contest kicking out the game ball and announcing the contest at halftime. Kids will also have the chance to start working on their stories at Madison Public Library’s Dream Bus (stationed outside the field), where they’ll find an interactive board of writing prompts and free writer’s notebooks that they can take home to jot down ideas for submissions.

Madeline BohnOur libraries have always been a place for kids and families to read, learn, play and create, and this writing contest is just another opportunity for kids to explore their creativity in fun new ways. I’m especially excited to see our very own Madeline Bohn, the City of Madison’s first Youth Poet Laureate, as this year’s Youth Ambassador for the contest. Madeline will serve as a judge for the contest, and she was also the source of this year’s theme: Moving Forward - Together.

I read this quote from Madeline, and was impressed with her thoughtfulness in choosing such a great theme:

 “When we measure something's worth in numbers and figures, we miss out on a whole world of beautiful human connection; we highlight the lines that divide us rather than the common paths we share.” Bohn reflected, “So much of empathy and of coming together relies on looking at things from another person's perspective, which is why I'm excited to see the unique ways each young writer interprets this year's focus.”

We Read Youth Voices Writing Contest participantsI couldn’t have said it better myself! Youth 18 and under are invited to submit a story, poem, song, or other creative writing project online at madpl.org/youthvoices. The contest is open now and kids have until June 30, 2023 to submit. I can’t wait to see where your imaginations take you.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.