Lalena Price Published

The 2021 PBS Kids Writers Contest Is Open


Parents, guardians and teachers of budding storytellers, avid young readers or talented artists can now submit their child’s or student’s original story, complete with illustrations, to the 2021 PBS KIDS Writers Contest. The contest is presented with support from The Clay Center in Charleston and WQED in Pittsburgh.

A two-part event at The Clay Center on Sat., Jan. 30, will kick off the contest. RSVPs are required.WVPB will offer a free information station in The Clay Center lobby from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (with an hour break for sanitation) Students and parents may pick up their detailed entry packets for the PBS Kids Writers Contest, ask questions about the contest, enjoy fun activities, and get some great PBS Kids giveaways. Students who cannot make it to the event can download contest rules, requirements, checklists and the entry form from The contest ends on March 31, 2021. All entries must be postmarked on or by that date to be eligible.

When they enter the PBS KIDS Writers Contest, aspiring authors will compete with kids in their grade level from across West Virginia to win prizes. The contest is open to all students in the state in grades K-5, including those in public and private schools as well as those who are home schooled. There will be first-, second- and third-place prizes awarded at each grade level. Our top winners may even have their stories animated by WVPB’s Television Production Department. (Fun fact: one of these productions was nominated for a Regional EMMY! Watch it here! )

The Clay Center will host a special story-starting session for attendees that includes a discussion about storytelling, how to generate ideas for a story using props, and how to explore the questions “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.” This activity is included in the cost of admission to the Clay Center, $9 for adults and $7.50 for children. (There is no cost to enter the lobby and participate in WVPB information and activity booth.) If they wish, participants will have the option to storyboard their stories and share them. They will also hear a reading of West Virginia storyteller and PEN Award-winning author Bil Lepp’s book, The Princess and the Pickup Truck, a National Association of Parenting Product Award winner. For this session attendees can choose between the 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. session with story time at 11 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. with a story time at 2:30 p.m.

Because of pandemic safety protocols, attendance is limited, and reservations are required, even to enter the lobby. The break between sessions will allow for sanitation of the space. Masks and social distancing also will be required. Reservations may be made by clicking the green banner at or by calling 304-561-3570.

Education Director Kelly Griffith said inspiring young writers is one of the best parts of her job at WVPB. “We would love to see a lot of entries from each grade level from across the entire Mountain State. We have great prizes in store for our winning authors in conjunction with our partner PBS KIDS station in Pittsburgh, WQED.

“Some teachers use this contest as a part of their lesson plans and we love to get those entries,” Griffith said. “We hope our friends at local libraries will encourage participation, too. During this challenging time of teaching during a pandemic, our PBS Kids Writers Contest provides a unique opportunity for children to write and illustrate with purpose.”