Young, enthusiastic writers submit stories on an “idea” specified by the organisers – this year it was “Doorway” – and the idea must be in the story.
The competition was commenced by retired Librarian Manager Trish McLeod at Forestville Library through her association with the Children’s Book Council’s Northern Sydney Sub-branch. It is open to Library Members who are students up to and including Year 12. The current Northern Beaches Library Network includes libraries at Dee Why, Warringah Mall, Mona Vale, Forestville, Manly and Belrose.
The judging criteria has changed over the years. One reason may be that in the early days of the competition most entries were hand written and now they are all typed: spelling and grammar are no longer criteria because judges can’t tell what the child has corrected from his or her knowledge compared to their skill at using a computer. Entries this year were judged according to characterisation, originality, plot and use of language.
Toni judges either Years 3 - 4 or Years 5 – 6 and is encouraged to see the standard improving each year and the confidence and maturity demonstrated in the stories. She enjoyed reading about doorways to the past, in brains, in books, through which clowns, birds, fathers and shadows travel. In 2016 Toni judged the 11 finalists in the Years 3 – 4 category. Librarians under Librarian Lea King’s organisation read all 240 stories entered in that category; over 400 entries in the competition. The librarians who prepare a shortlist are to be commended for the wonderful job they do in presenting the Finalists to the Judges to determine: Encouragement Award/s, Highly Commended, Runner Up and Winner. A tough call.
Finalists and their families are invited to attend the presentation night and in 2016 it was on Monday 19 September at the Council Chambers in Dee Why - the second time held at this venue, previoiusly at Forestvill Library.
Winners stories are published in a Northern Beaches Council Library eBook, a hard copy of which was presented to the judges (and chocolates!).
Congratulations to all the winners and the Librarians for their enthusiasm in running this wonderful competition.