The Crooked Sixpence Writing Contest for Grades 4 - 8

Sponsored by:
Random House Children's Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC
Random House Children's Books / Jennifer Bell
Contest dates:
February 19 - March 20, 2017
Num entries:

The Crooked Sixpence Writing Contest

Journey to Lundinor, a secret underground city where ordinary objects are capable of extraordinary things. Ivy and her older brother, Seb, have tumbled into a world that is anything but ordinary. In Lundinor, ordinary objects that have been made “uncommon” possess magical powers. For instance, an uncommon comb can jump out of a coat and defend the wearer against someone trying to pick his or her pocket, and an uncommon button can work its magic to restore a sick person to health.

Now it’s your turn.  Write a short story in which you create an uncommon object. Describe your uncommon object and what powers it has?

Entries will be read by author Jennifer Bell who will choose the winners.
Requirements Rules Judging Criteria

The contest has ended!

Winners have been selected!

Grand Prize Winners
  • callie_b
    callie_babout 7 years
    “Ugh!” Ruby sat down in her chair, frustrated. It was her favorite baby blue swivel desk chair that Ruby had received as a birthday present. ‘To help you write wonderful stories with unlimited ideas’ was inscribed on the back in an mysterious, exquisite font. “Unlimited ideas, huh? So why do I have writer’s block?” Ruby muttered. Ruby loved writing, but this was one of the first times she couldn’t think of anything. Ruby absentmindedly started swiveling, shutting her eyes, all her stress melting away. She kept spinning, spinning, spinning, trying to come up with the perfect idea. Finally, she opened her eyes. “Wait, what?” she said, surprised at what lay in front of her. She was in the most amazing place she had ever seen. From where she perched on her chair she saw something that looked like a trail of pink rose petals. She curiously hopped out of her chair and began to follow the path. It seemed to be leading to something ahead, but what? Ruby continued on, determined to find what the trail led to. Nearing the end, she saw a scroll. She rushed over and retrieved it. Rolling it open, she read the small words scratched on the old parchment. “By opening this scroll, you have just won the riches of those who have come before.” Ruby read aloud. As she said the final word, a chest rose up from the ground, spilling out golden coins. Ruby grabbed one and went back to her chair. Again she began to spin. Seconds later, she was back at her desk, finally understanding what the chair’s inscription had meant. It had given her a story. She lay the golden coin on her desk and began to write down her adventure, her writer’s block gone.
    Contest Winners
    • peppershaker
      peppershakerabout 7 years
      Alex sat up and yawned. She looked around the room, wondering where she was. The room looked plain, in fact the only peculiar thing about it was the hat sitting on the end of the bed. It looked like a top hat, but it was the deepest black that she had ever seen. Alex reached out to touch it, drawn to it in a strange, mystical way. When her fingers came in contact with the hat, her whole world flipped upside down. Suddenly, she was back at her house, the day her father had left. She was only three when it happened, and didn't remember it very well, so she was confused where this memory was coming from. The next second she was 13 at her brother's wedding. She did remember that. It had been one of the best days of her life. She started having flashbacks of every important moment of her life. She even saw herself the day she was born. Then she was back in the strange room. She jumped out of the bed and stumbled across the room. She tripped on the carpet and fell backwards, into a pair of outstretched arms. "Whoa, steady there." said a voice. She looked up into a strange face. The man who had caught her had piercing blue eyes and strange silver hair. "I'm going to guess you saw your past, then?" He asked. Alex struggled to make sound come out. "This is going to sound strange, but you are a Magician." he said. "Every 500 years that hat finds a worthy carrier. She is granted youth for the time she wears it. She can see peoples pasts and decipher their futures." He continued talking. Alex listened to him, wondering what fortune this new role would bring her.
      • addih05
        addih05about 7 years
        This story is called The flying necklace, hi my name is Stacey and there i was just walking down the street my mom told me to be home before dinner so im trying to skip as fast as i can. and then i saw this beautiful jewelry store so i went in i told my self i would only be a minute. when i walked in i froze in excitement there are so many beautiful things in there but i wont have any money for there prices all i have is some milk money for school. and then i saw this beautiful necklace i know i said that about this place but this necklace is beautiful . i ask the guy at the register he said it's free and i said are you sure he said yes this necklace is very special little girl so you take good care of it. thank you sir i said as i started to walk to the door thank you. i had to get home im really late i put the necklace on and started to run and then something happend i started to to lift off the ground. this cant be happening i was flying i was really flying this is awesome how maybe its my necklace wow i started to fly home this is so crazy. i said in my head i was in my drive if i told my mom she would probaly think i was crazy .so i get to the ground hide my necklace and then i walk in hi mom im so sorry im late honey my mom said i was so worried about you. where have you been well i kind of stop at the um jewelry store in town and then mom said we have know jewelry store. i said yes we do go to your room and get some sleep fine but go to bed honey ..the next morning when i woke up i could not wait to fly to school literally fly and i jump with a skip and started to fly threw town and there was the shop the same shop that i was in i dont get it mom dosnt see it but how? so when i got to school i really wanted to tell my best friend lemons but i couldnt she would tell everyone . i went to all my classes and then went to that store and ask him more about the necklace but he said nothing this is really weird. i was walking around as i passed the shop no one was in it. i asked i girl why dont you go in the shop and she said what shop i said that one. she said there is no shop maybe im just weird or maybe im just special. THE end.
        • secret_unicorn
          secret_unicornabout 7 years
          *Hey, as a short introduction, I'm in eighth grade and love to read and write, I hope you enjoy my story.* I glanced at the open sewing kit laying in front of me before looking again at the completed dress it had created. The dress looked exactly how I had envisioned it, the curves falling in just the right places, and the ribbons! Even the coloring was perfect. The door to my workshop creaked open as my brother, Augustus, came in to check on me. "Lilian, dad wants you downstai-" He cut off when he saw my dress, "What the...? Where the...? Huh?" He gaped at the gown, finally deciding to say: "Wasn't that mannequin empty before?" I nodded, "It was mother's sewing kit. I envisioned the dress, and then the kit made the dress as soon as I opened the lid." My brother rushed over to me, "This could save the shop!" he exclaimed, not watching where he was going. Suddenly, he tripped over some cloth that I had laid precariously in the walkway. I watched as Augustus tumbled to the ground and scraped his hand on a stray needle, leaving a deep cut. "Here, I'll patch it up," I said, opening the sewing kit, forgetting what it could do. The needle and thread zoomed out of the basket, the scissors not far behind, patched up my brother's hand, then zipped back into the kit, the lid closing behind him. My brother gaped, I smiled. "This will cut down the sewing time by a long shot!" I said cheerfully. "Ya think?" my brother responded with a laugh. Little did I know how popular my dresses would become, eventually making us rich, not to mention building our small shop into the biggest, most demanded fashion store in the entire city!
          • 30057
            30057about 7 years
            I stared at the mysterious locket I found taped to the last page of a very old English book I received in class. It was a trident with small inscriptions towards the bottom. As a I closely examined it I couldn't help but smile as I could tell it was Greek. With an unusual sense of happiness I took the locket out and placed it over my head. Within seconds blinding light pierced my eyes and I was no longer on my bed. Before I knew it , I stood in a valley of plush green grass. Honey blossoms and roses surrounded me. I was clothed in a golden dress with champagne colored roses braided in my hair. I turned around and saw wild animals roaming freely. It seemed to be a place of utter tranquility , with no connection between predator and prey. All the animals got along well. Centaurs and satyrs roamed freely as the nymphs were giggling behind trees. The sky was a beautiful blue scattered with the fluffiest clouds. I thought I was living a dream. In the distance I saw a golden city that rested on the clouds. I ran towards the city in joy. As I got closer , I could see golden gates encrusted with precious metals and jewels. Suddenly booming voice came from the clouds above. "Welcome to Olympus child, Only the bravest can enter. Your locket has the ability to posses magical powers that can be strengthened by a magical place named Ludinor. The entrance is to your right . Farewell, and good luck." I gasped as a red door appeared to my right. My journey and the rest of my story will await me there. And with that I leaped through the door hoping to see what my future holds.
            • duckie2085
              duckie2085about 7 years
              "H-how long have you been standing there?!" He gasped. "Long enough to hear you confess." I smiled, stepping out of the shadows. "That's a lie." Keith tried to read my face and failed. "When I said that there was nobody here!" "See, you just admitted it." I said. I slowly fingered the smooth metal compass in my pocket. It was warm, and becoming hotter by the second. Eventually it became too hot to hold and I slowly let go of it. He backed against the wall. "Listen I- I can explain all of this, June!" The compass seared through my pocket. I didn't need to look to tell the needle was pointing at him. "You're the one that's lying. I can tell." He attempted to keep his expressionless. Then he put two and two together. "What?! No! You have the compass?!" I smiled a little. "Took you long enough." Annoyed, he continued. "But how?! We kept it so safe from you and your band of rebels." I coughed. "I prefer society, if you don't mind." "Society, whatever. Answer my question." "Remember when you were supposed to be guarding it?" The color drained from his face. "What?! I was looking at it the whole time!" The compass burned in my pocket. "No, you drifted off." I showed him the compass. "Fine!" He put his head in his hands. "You can kill me now, if you want." "I'm not going to kill you." "Really?" He looked up. "Yeah, I'm going to make you tell everyone that you failed them. And I keep the compass." "Why, June?! Anything else!" I pushed him out of the door, protests and all and dusted my hands.
              • sushi321
                sushi321about 7 years
                The room was a mess. Jason was looking for his earbuds with seemed to be missing. He had turned his whole room upside down trying to find it. After an hour or two he gave up and went downstairs to ask his mother about it. "Look in the drawer, honey, there are usually some headphones in there," she responded. So Jason did. He found his earbuds but also this peculiar paintbrush with a puddle of blue paint surrounding it. It was long and had strange markings engraved in it, and it seemed to glow. Very strange indeed. Jason grabbed the brush and headed upstairs. On the way to his room, he tripped and fell, dropping his paintbrush. Dark black paint splattered everywhere. Jason mouth dropped in shock. "How in the world?" He wondered. After he cleaned up the mess, Jason started to paint on a blank piece of paper. He painted a tree. What was amazing was that the tree was brown and green though he didn't dip the brush into any paint. He made a sun. Again, it magically turned yellow. Jason was shocked yet astonished at the abilities of the paintbrush. He never showed the paintbrush to anyone else. Over the years, Jason had improved his artistic ability. Today, Jason is a world famous artist, and when he is asked how he paints with such grace, speed, and agility, he says, "It's all in the paintbrush, fellas. All in the paintbrush."

                Grand Prize Winner:
                One (1) Grand Prize will be awarded from all eligible entries.

                The Grand Prize winner will receive a hardcover copy of The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell and a prize pack of the fourteen (14) books shown below.

                The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence
                by Jennifer Bell
                Best Story Prizes:

                Ten (10) Best Story Prizes will be awarded.

                Best Story Prize winners will receive one (1) hardcover copy of:

                The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence
                by Jennifer Bell