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I Survived Short Story Contest

By Nick  |  KPL News

I Survived: Quarantine 2020 Short Story Contest

“…I think almost all of us can relate to the idea of life changing overnight–of suddenly you are in your day and in your routine and events completely out of your control change your life, and how would you respond to that? How would you recover from that?” 

–Lauren Tarshis (author of I Survived series)

In the spirit of solidarity, creativity, and scholarship, the librarians of Kirkwood Public Library are holding a short story contest in the style of the best-selling I Survived series. Each book is about a kid who lived through a difficult time in history, and we want to hear your story of how you are adapting to the changes in your life during quarantine. This story can be a true story about you and your family, or similar to Lauren Tarshis’ books, you can create a fictional character and story based off of the research you have done.

Your short story should be:

  • 1-5 pages in length when typed
  • Include at least 5 researched facts about the current quarantine or coronavirus. (We have some suggestions below for where to start, but you can also ask parents, teachers, or librarians for help!*
  • (Optional) illustrations or cover art for your story

Where to find help for research and writing: 

Here are some questions that might help you brainstorm your story…

  1. How has your life changed since the beginning of 2020 and now?
  2. How do these changes make you feel?
  3. When going around your neighborhood, what differences do you see?
  4. What is a typical day like for you currently?
  5. What things do you miss doing?
  6. What opportunities do you have now that you did not have before?
  7. What is your life like in comparison to a kid from another country affected by the virus?

Requirements for Entry: 

  • Must be ages 7-13 to enter
  • Please include your name, age, and phone number to contact in case you win
  • All submissions must be emailed to by midnight on April 28, 2020.
  • Prizes:
    • Top 3 Stories will be shared on our website for other kids to read
    • Grand Prize will receive an electronic gift card to order books of their choice!

*Parent/Caregiver Note: This is a great project to explore the research that is available on current topics, practice good media literacy habits, and discuss concerns your child may have about covid-19. These are unprecedented times for all of us, and this is one opportunity to share your family’s story not just with one another but for those in the future as we look back at this time in history.

Nick O'Neal is the Director of Technology & Online Services for the Kirkwood Public Library. He has been with the library since July 2012. He enjoys playing video games, listening to Classic Rock, and watching movies. His favorite authors include Timothy Zahn, J.R.R Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler.
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