PBS KIDS Writers Contest Rules


The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is produced by PBS. Entries for the 2015 Contest may be submitted after January 1, 2015 and must be postmarked by March 13, 2015 and the announcement of national winners will take place in mid-July.

Eligibility & Entry Guidelines

Entrants must be in kindergarten, first, second or third grade.

Children of employees of PBS, PBS stations or their affiliates, sales representatives, subsidiaries or parent companies, advertising/sales promotion agencies, and judges are not eligible.

To be eligible, an entrant must be a legal resident of the fifty (50) United States and D.C. (excluding Puerto Rico, USVI and American Samoa). Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify ineligible entries; such entries will not be returned.

Only one entry per person will be accepted; all subsequent entries will be disqualified.

Only single author stories qualify (no co-authored stories).

Stories can be fact or fiction, and prose or poetry.

Any failure to adhere to these Contest Rules may result in disqualification from the contest.

No purchase is necessary.

Word Count

Kindergarten and first grade stories must have a minimum of 50 words and a maximum of 200 words.

Second and third grade stories must have a minimum of 100 words and a maximum of 350 words.

The word count includes “a,” “an,” and “the,” but not the words on non-story pages such as the title page or those that enhance the illustrations.

Text must be printed or written legibly or typed.

Children who cannot write may dictate their story to be printed, written legibly or typed.

Text may be integrated into the illustration pages or on separate pages.

Non-English text must be translated on the same page and the translated text (English text) must adhere to word count.

Invented spelling is accepted.

Format & Illustrations

Stories must have at least 5 original, clear and colorful illustrations.

Original art can include drawings, collages, and 3-D created by the author or photographs taken by the author.

Stories submitted by mail must be created on one side of the paper and numbered on the back of each page.

Official Entry Form

Each entry must include the official PBS KIDS Writers Contest Entry Form, with the required signature of a parent/guardian (and, if appropriate, the optional signature of the sponsoring teacher), confirming that the story and art are original, and granting certain rights to the entry materials.

The entry form must be complete and legible.

National Judging, Awards & Notification

Entries will be judged on originality, creative expression, storytelling and integration of text and illustrations. The sponsoring PBS station will empanel a jury of no fewer than 3 judges to judge local submissions. Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • 40% Creativity and originality of plot and/or themes,
  • 40% Story structure and use of literary devices,
  • 20% Relevance, quality and originality of illustration

Each local PBS station will send its first place winners to the national Contest, where entries will be judged using the criteria outlined above.  All decisions of the judges are final and not subject to appeal or review.  Any ties will be broken using the creativity and originality category.  National winners will be notified on or before August 31, 2014. Each national winner's story will be posted on the Contest Web site at pbskids.org/writerscontest in 2014.  National prizes include tablet computers or electronic learning devices for four (4) first place winners (Approximate Retail Value/"ARV" $200 USD), e-readers or electronic learning materials (ARV $100 USD) for 4 second place winners, and e-readers, electronic learning materials, or a sponsor-specified gift card (ARV $75 USD) for 4 third place winners.  PBS reserves the right to substitute any prize for a prize of equal or greater value, at the sole discretion of PBS.  Prize recipients must allow a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks from notification to delivery.  Prizes are not redeemable for cash, non-transferable, and non-substitutable, except at the sole discretion of the Sponsor.

Return of Entries

The Contest administrators will make every effort, but are not required, to return mailed entries only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope of an appropriate size. PBS, and or its affiliates, are not responsible for late, lost, stolen, misdirected, damaged, mutilated, incomplete or illegible entries, or postage-due mail.

Rights Associated with Contest

Submission of the Entry Form constitutes permission for PBS to use the participants’ name, likeness, biographical information, information and materials contained in the Entry Form, photographs, and any statements or remarks made about the Contest in advertising and promotion without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law. All entries, and any copyrights therein, become the sole property of PBS. By entering, entrants agree to abide by the above stated rules, and warrant that their entry is their original work and does not infringe upon or violate rights of any third party, and grant to PBS the right to edit, publish, promote, and otherwise use their entry materials without permission, notice or compensation. No royalties will be paid at this or any time.

By submitting an entry and Entry Form, each participant (and parent or guardian) assigns all right, title, and interest in and to the entry and Entry Form to PBS and warrants that the participant (and parent or guardian) have the authority to assign such right, title, and interest. In the event that any applicable law requires certain formalities to be fulfilled to effectuate such grant of rights, each participant (and parent or guardian) agrees to cooperate with PBS to achieve fulfillment of such formalities.

By submitting an Entry Form, each participant (and parent or guardian) agree to be bound by these Contest Rules. Each participant (and parent or guardian) agrees to release and hold PBS, and its employees, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, subsidiaries, parent companies, or other affiliated companies harmless from any and all damages, losses, claims and liabilities arising out of participation in the Contest or resulting from acceptance or claiming of any prize hereunder. PBS reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate, suspend or otherwise cancel the Contest at any time. Income and all other taxes are the responsibility of the prize recipient. PBS is not responsible for any expenses incurred in connection with participation in the Contest.

Sponsor: PBS (2100 Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA 22202).


Unless otherwise specified, any and all information connected with this Contest will be used by the Sponsor solely for the purpose of administering the Contest.  To understand how PBS uses, stores, manages, and discards private information, visit the PBS privacy policy at: http://www.pbs.org/about/policies/privacy-policy/.


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