Thank you to all that participated!
Click on a name to go to a story:
Ages 8 and 9
- 1st Place! - Kailyn Nickel, 9, CA
It was a dark and stormy night – a long time ago – in Bethlehem. In a large field, shepherds were watching their sheep. Suddenly, one of them yelled and pointed. They looked, and what they saw was the most extraordinary thing they had ever, and would ever, see on Earth! The storm had cleared and the sky lit up so it was brighter than the sun. There was an angel right before them; they rubbed their eyes. The angel seemed to be about fifty feet off the ground! He said in an amazingly kind and gentle voice, for he knew that the shepherds were terrified, “Jesus, your Savior, has been born! You will find Him in a stable, wrapped in cloth. He will save everyone from their sin.”
Then almost as if out of nowhere, more angels came and were singing, “Glory to God in the Highest!”
Then, they vanished! The shepherds started whispering and the leader stood up, and said they must go see this miraculous thing the angel had told them about. They all ran to see this King – in a stable of all places! They came to the inn, and went to the stable. They all stood in awe at the scene – Mary leaning over the baby, and Joseph smiling at her. Jesus, Christ the Lord, had finally been born! The shepherds crowded around the manger happily.
No one knew that this little baby would grow up to be a man, die willingly, and rise from the dead! No one knew except God, what this little child would grow up to be and do. No one knew that this little baby would save us from all of our sins. If we only choose to believe.
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- 2nd Place! - Lydia Swisher, 9, KS
The Bethlehem Times
A Day with Joseph, our Hometown Carpenter
LIZ ADAMSON: Hello, folks of Bethlehem! This is Liz Adamson, and I am interviewing none other than our town’s carpenter, Joseph. And I hear he has quite a story, am I right?
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JOSEPH: Are you ever so right Liz!
LIZ ADAMSON: Well, could you tell us your story? PLEASE?
JOSEPH: Well, it all started when Mary and I were going to be married and…
LIZ: Sounds romantic; is it?
JOSEPH: Not really. Mary and I were going to be married, but then Mary came to tell me some news. I was nervous that the news would be terrible, and it was!
LIZ: What was the news, Joseph?
JOSEPH: That she was pregnant…she was going to have a baby! I felt awful and I knew that I was going to have to divorce her because it wasn’t mine. But when I got to thinking, God (the Lord) sent an angel in a dream to tell me that I shouldn’t be afraid to get married to Mary because God was sending this special baby to save people from things that they did wrong. The angel also said we should name the boy Jesus.
LIZ: (sarcastically) Yeah right…an angel of the Lord in a dream telling you news? That’s just silly; you must be nuts!
JOSEPH: No Liz, God really did send an angel, even if it sounds wacky. God is so amazing!
LIZ: Whoa that is so cool! What happened next?
JOSEPH: When I woke from my dream, I decided to obey and marry her. Then we did what the Lord commanded.
LIZ: And that’s all the time we have for tonight. Next week we’ll hear more about your special visitors…
- Honorable Mention! - Joy Seward, 8, NC
Jesus’ Birth—The Story of Christmas
A long time ago in Nazareth, in a poor house, lived a girl who was a virgin. Her name was Mary. One day, as she was doing some work, all of a sudden a bright light shown down on her. It was an angel. The angel’s name was Gabriel. He said, “Do not be afraid. You will have a son and you will call him, Jesus.”
She said, “How can this be? I am a virgin.” The angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be with child. Joseph will take you as his wife.”
A couple of days later, she told her father and mother and her brothers and sisters. They were scared because she was not married. But she told them that God had sent an angel to share the good news and that everything would be O.K. Then she went to Aunt Elizabeth’s house who was also expecting a baby. When she walked in the door, the baby, who Elizabeth and her husband would later call John, leapt in her tummy with joy. Then she told Elizabeth her story. Elizabeth then told Mary, “When you walked in the door, my baby leapt with joy.
When Mary told these things to Joseph, the one she was to marry, he too was scared and was not sure if he should marry her. But when he went to bed that night, the angel spoke to him saying, “Do not be afraid. What Mary said is true. Take her as your wife. The Lord will be with you. Call your child Jesus, who will be Christ the Lord.” The next morning, Joseph ran to Mary and told her what the angel said to him.
About eight months later, he learned that he would have to travel to the place where he was born for a census. He and Mary packed up and left, even though she was very pregnant and weak. They traveled many miles until they got to the town of Bethlehem. Even though it was a poor place, this is where God wanted them to go for the savior to be born.
The evening the baby was to be born, they looked around the town for a room but could not find one. They finally found an inn where they were allowed to use the stable. Nearby were some shepherds watching their flocks. A bright light shown on them. It was an angel who said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. In this town of Bethlehem you will find a baby who is Christ the Lord. He will be wrapped in swaddling clothes and will be lying in a manger.” Then many more angels appeared in the heavens and sang, “Glory to God in the highest.” The Shepherds went off to seek the baby. When they found Him, they worshiped Him.
Three years later, wise men followed a star and also found the baby who was now a toddler and worshipped Him. They brought Him gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. On the way to seek the Lord, they went to King Herod and asked him where the new king was. The wicked King Herod said, “I do not know, but when you find him, tell me where he is so that I can worship Him myself.” But he was lying. The Lord came upon the wise men when they were leaving and warned them not to tell Herod where the baby was. They went home another way.
After King Herod found out that the wise men had tricked him, he had all baby boys under age four killed. But the angel warned Joseph and he took his family to Egypt until Herod died.
And so now you know the true story of Jesus’ birth. This is the real meaning of Christmas. It’s not about presents. It’s about the Lord Jesus.
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- Honorable Mention! - Austenne Gniadek, 8, PA
A baby was born on Christmas Day and His name is Jesus. No one would let Mary and Joseph stay in their house, but one person let them stay in their barn. And there, He was born. A star shined so bright. Shepherds saw the star and they followed the star and the star led them right to Jesus. Three wise men saw the star also and they followed the star. Two years passed before they got there and the three wise men brought myrrh, frankincense and gold. Some people were happy. Some people were unhappy. The most unhappy person was the king. No one cared if he was unhappy or not. Everyone went about their business. Just a few years later, Jesus died. He got put in a big cave, but the cave did not stop God. He rose from the dead and now He is King of All Kings!
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Ages 10 and 11
- 1st Place! - Sarah Hall, 11, TX
If I were there
that first Christmas night,
I would have seen
a glorious sight!
A man and a woman,
some shepherds and sheep,
and in a little manger,
a baby asleep.
His name would be Jesus,
what a beautiful name!
He came to save us,
from all of our sin!
And if I were not
at Christ's holy feet,
I'd be with some wise men.
coming from the east.
With three costly gifts,
to give to the babe,
whom they would not see,
for many a day.
God put a star in the sky,
so bright was its shine,
it lit up the stable,
and all of the sky!
And our Father above,
the Almighty Great One,
gave us His all,
His very own Son!
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- 2nd Place! - Kassidi Gniadek, 11, PA
ZZZZ… Huh?! What?! Oh, hello. Who are you? I am Samuel and I am a shepherd. Oh, you're on your way to Bethlehem to see the new king. Well, then, I have some advice for you. You see, yesterday an angel came to me. I was scared out of my wits! But then, he said that a new king had been born and He was God's son! He also said I would find Him in a manger dressed in rags! That's no place for a king, I said! Just then, hundreds of angels appeared and started singing praise. I went blind they were so bright! I knew I had to see this “king” for myself. The only problem was I didn't know where to go. Then, I looked up and there was a huge star. I had to follow it! I just had a feeling. After that, it didn't take long to find him. He was in a barn with his mommy, daddy and a whole lot of animals. He looked so humble, yet had a heavenly glow like the angels. It wasn't until that moment that I put all the pieces together. Then I realized…that He was God's son! But, I guess you should see for yourself…remember to follow the star!
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- Honorable Mention! - Mystiana Victorino, 11, HI
“Shhhhh!” brayed Embers, the ash-colored donkey. “Here they come! “
”I can’t see a thing!”
“Let go of my tail!!”A noise of confusion went up from the stable.
“Quiet!” Bellowed Big Ben, the ox.“Who’s coming, is it the boss coming to feed us?” he said, licking his cow lips.
“No, no, no.” said Embers, stamping her foot impatiently, “It’s a man and a lady, with our boss’ wife, and a strange donkey I’ve never seen before; they’re coming into the stable, “and if you don’t mind,” she said louder, looking back at the other animals, “I’d like to hear what they’re saying.”
The other animals got quiet and peeked out, timidly staring at the new strangers that had just arrived. They listened. This is what they heard: “Oh, I’m so sorry you have to stay in our stable and not the house.” said the boss’ wife.
Meanwhile, the animals had noticed that the man was looking for an empty stall to put their donkey in. The animals looked nervously around. All the stalls were taken. The man asked, “Are there any other stalls than these?”
“No, but- what were your names again?” (“Mary and Joe” came the rushed reply.) “Oh, just put him in the big stall on the left. He can share with our sweet-tempered young donkey. It’s big enough for an ox, and I’m sure they’ll get along.” Said the boss’ wife.
The animals stared in shock at one another at this notion. The donkey she called sweet-tempered was exactly the opposite- she was rude and only cared about herself. Embers, on the other hand, stamped her foot angrily and snorted, “share my stall? With a stranger? I’m of royal blood and I deserve to have this big stall myself! It’s not to be shared with anyone that doesn’t have anything to be the least bit proud of.” She stormed in the newly arrived guest’s face.
“Stop it! Said Big Ben (never make an ox or bull mad!) Enough Embers! If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all, Big Ben finished with a snort and glared at her.
Mean Embers went to the corner farthest away from everyone else. Muttering, “Fine, have it your way. No one should talk to royal blood that way, Hmmf…” and she lay down in the corner muttering and sulking.
Putting down its head, the new donkey said, “Oh, I’m so sorry for being a disturbance to everyone maybe I should just leave. But,” said the donkey proudly, “I have something to be very proud of.”
“What?” asked the other animals.
“I have…” started the donkey, “I’m not trying to boast…” he added quickly.
“Well,” said Embers, a bit confused, “why don’t you tell us after you tell us your name.”
“Okay,” said the donkey, “my name is-“ But suddenly, there was a sound of a baby crying. All the animals were irritated, all except the newcomer. All the animals wanted to do was greet the visitor donkey and then get to sleep.
Just then, there was a sound like a whole flock of sheep bleating outside. There was a knock at the door and the man named Joseph answered it. “This is going to be a long night,” said Embers, as she tried to ignore the noise and get to sleep.
The men outside said, “Greetings! We were told by angels that we were to come here to see the king.” The animals were puzzled.
Joseph stepped back and let them in and said, “Come in, friends.” So the shepherds came in and some sheep too. Some of the sheep went towards the manger, some of them went to the animals with the question-like faces.
“Hello-o-o-o” said the sheep in unison.
A leader of the sheep, a ram, stepped up and said, “Haven’t you hear-r-rd? Angels
appea-r-r-red to us in the fold. They told us to go to a stable in Be-e-e-ethlehem to see our Lord and king.”
The other sheep followed up, bleating, “Our lor-r-rd, our kin-n-ng, our kin-n-ng, kin-n-ng, our kin-n-nng!”
So said the ram, “Our master’s brought us here to se-e-ee him, so hee-e-ere we are.”
The other sheep bleated, “So he-e-ere we are, we are he-e-e-ere.”
Big Ben shook his head and said, “So the rest of the flock is outside? And you came all the way here because an angel told you to? Am I missing something? Are you sure you saw an angel? I can’t believe it, it’s not real.” he said, shaking his head.
“But it is!” said the ram, “and not only that, but after he spoke, a multitude of angels came and sang “Glory to God in the highest!”
“Glo-o-ory to God in the highest!” “Glo-o-ory to God!” “Glo-o-ory to God!” Glory to God in the highest!” bleated the sheep triumphantly.
“Okay, okay!”shouted Embers, rudely. “I hate this stable full of low, not-anything- to-be-proud-of freaks. I’m leaving!” she said, trying to kick open the door.
“Stop it!” said Big Ben.
“You can’t tell me what to do. I’ll be free in a minute. I’ll never-” Suddenly there came another knock, and as Joseph got to the door, there was a sound of a great many hooves.
As the door opened, three royally dressed men swept in carrying gifts. Bags and things. They said, “we have come to see him, the Son of God, the king.” Joseph stepped aside to let them in. The men were wearing gold crowns, tunics of silk and beautiful colors, and jewelry of gold, silver and brass. They laid gifts at the edge of the manger. Gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But that’s not all, three big camels slowly walked in led by servants and were watered and fed. The other animals peered out of their stalls nervously. The camels ate and drank thirstily.
Now the animals were very nervous, because camels are very noble creatures and respectable ones. It would be very rude not to say a greeting. But on the other hand, it would be very hard to speak to them, because you get very nervous and tongue-tied. Silence. Finally, Big Ben spoke up, “Hello friends from across the desert. Please find shelter in this small but good bedded stable.”
The camels looked up, startled; they looked around until they finally noticed the other animals. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought we were the only ones here. I couldn’t see you in this bad light, he paused, and squinted, trying to get a better look. Oh, yes, you want to know our names, I’m Alabaster, this to my left is Olmar, and here is Solomon.”
Solomon lifted his head and said in a deep voice, “Hello, hello, it is an honor to be in your stable.”
“Yes!” said Olmar, “since you have already seen the king. Isn’t it a great honor for you that he should be born in your stable?”
The animals looked around them and said, “Who is this king everyone keeps talking about?” The camels frowned at their puzzled faces.
Alabaster said in a question-like tone, “You mean you haven’t seen the true king?” The animals shrugged and shook their heads.
“Then why do you stand there?” Olmar said in a shocked voice. “You mean to say he has been born in your stable and you haven’t even seen him or know who he is?!” he finished, shocked.
Then the stranger donkey spoke up, “I know who he is.” The animals’ gazes quickly turned to him. Even the shocked camels turned. “I was the donkey Joseph chose. I was the donkey that carried Mary, the chosen mother of Jesus. The king of everything, the Prince of Peace, the Way the Truth the Life: Jesus Christ!” Then a sound made all of the animals turn, even Embers, who had the whole time, had been sulking and doubting all that the others had been talking about, now turned with a new expression on her face. A look of wonder.
All the animals turned and stretched their necks to see a sight. Five shepherds standing, looking in awe, three wise kings bowing down with gifts in their hands, Joseph standing, looking at something, very stern, but with a look of peace and joy in his eyes, Mary kneeling down, looking in a manger, her face full of great joy, and finally, in a manger with hay, a newborn baby crying. It was Jesus Christ. Then the animals realized all that they had been missing, and their faces, instead of being puzzled, were filled with peace and understanding.
Embers stood there and said in a mellow but sorry tone, “I get it now. All I ever thought was a lie was just a step away. I believe now.” There was silence. She looked very sad. “I’m sorry I never believed and everything,” she said after a few minutes. “I’m sorry I said so many mean things and was so unkind.” she said, turning to the other animals.
Big Ben smiled warmly and said, “That’s okay, Embers, I believe too.”
“I’m starting to get it.” said Embers. “I just don’t understand- why is he the king? He’s just a baby, and he was born in a stable. I thought royalty were born in palaces.”
“Well you see,” said Solomon, I was trying to tell everyone before, but no one was really listening,” he sighed, “our masters study things. And sometimes we camels can hear their talks on the balcony. So we heard about lots of things. Like wars and far off tales.”
“But we never tried to eavesdrop; we couldn’t help it or get away from it.” Olmar added sternly but quickly.
Solomon went on, “And we also heard them talking about a coming king. He would be born somewhere in Bethlehem. He was the promised Savior or king.” The animals looked blank.
“Oh they still don’t get it. Tell them about the star!” said Olmar.
Alabaster cleared his throat, then began, “One day, we heard our masters talking loud in excited tones. They said things like, come let us go and follow His star. Yes, let us go now-- wait! We don’t want to arrive empty-handed. We shall bring him gifts. Then before we knew what was happening, someone was saddling us. Before we left, my master told me that we were going on a long journey. And we were going to follow his star. He kept going on about this, excitedly saying things like that, until he finally managed to calm down. Then we were traveling by day and night. We traveled for a very long time and I puzzled over what he said to me, until,” he paused, “until we got here and we saw him. The prophecy and everything fit together. Then here we are.”
The animals said things like, “Oh, how could we not know?” and, “What gifts do we have to give?”
“No, no, no.” said Solomon, “it’s not what you have to give, it’s what he can give you. Just believe that he is the son of God and believe he came to save us. Believe that he loves you and one day he will save you. And you will have eternal life” he finished, trying to persuade them.
So the animals looked at the baby, tried to believe that he was God’s only son. “It’s up to you now.” said Olmar.
Then turning to the other animals, Embers said, “I always had something inside me that wanted to believe.
Then smiles broke out among the animals. Even is you didn’t want to smile, you couldn’t resist it. The joy and happiness spread like water poured on a dry surface.
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- Honorable Mention! - Reuben Lacy, 10, PA
“Hey, William,” shouted the boss for the Top of the Bible magazine. “We need you here, you need to uncover the mystery of, Jesus's birth.” “I hope you will study the scriptures and learn as much as you can, good luck.”
William pondered some things, he decided to go to the bible for more proof. He looked at quite a few verses to clear up his mind.
William thought about these things, and then decided to go to his professor friend down the block.
When he arrived, he didn't see the professor. He fumbled for the keys that the professor had given him, and he unlocked the door. There was a machine in the door, William walked into it. He closed the door. Then, he heard wires. Then, he heard whizzing. Then, he SAW nothing. It was completely black. He felt like he was turning, and then, all was quiet.
When William hopped out of the machine, with his notebook and pen, he felt crazy. It was like he went through a tornado. There was loud voices, and drunken men, and all kind of people. William raised his eyes and watched in astonishment as people bustled around. He slowly walked forward, unsure of if he was safe or not.
William was walking past a building, and he heard a strange noise. He looked, and he saw all these men crowded around a cave. He took a closer look. “Why is everyone here?” Asked William. The man answered. “Rumor has it that a little baby was born in here.” “In a cave?” Asked William. “What do you mean a cave, it’s a stable.” Answered the man impatiently. “I thought stables were in something like a barn,” William thought to himself. He fought through the crowd, and got a little closer. He saw three men kneeling next to Jesus, each one had a gift. One was Frankincense, one was Gold, and one was Myrrh. He opened his mouth in awe as he saw shepherds, smelly and all, all over the baby. And then, he saw humble Mary and Joseph. Smiling, kneeling over the baby, Jesus. William would have stayed longer but he heard a very loud voice. “MOVE IT!” The crowd slowly moved out. William just stood there. “Hey you two!” “Get a move on!” William realized that it was a Roman guard speaking, and that he was talking to William and another young man, about 19. William moved out of the stable, and jotted down a few things for the magazine. But the 19 year old man, didn't move. “I will not be silenced by a Roman soldier.” “Taking over our land, stick to YOUR land.” The man shouted. The Roman guard answered back. “Do you know I am going to put you in prison for LIFE for talking back to me. The man shouted. “NEVER!” The man drew his sword. The Roman drew his sword. They charged together, attacking. The Roman was a much better sword fighter and quickly had the man down. The Roman had him tied and carried off as a heretic. William watched in amazement, but soon recovered. William got back in the machine, and it started up.
William hopped out, happy to be back in his time, but his phone rang, it was his boss. “William, do you have a good story for us?” William answered. “YOU BET I DO!”
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Ages 12 and 13
- 1st Place! - Melanie Hall, 13, TX
Now, in the sixth month,
Gabriel by name,
an Angel of God,
to Nazareth came,
A town in Galilee,
to a virgin pledged,
to be married to,
(that means to be wed),
A man named Joseph,
who was just and good,
and righteous in
the sight of God
The Angel said, “Greetings!
Highly favored are you!
The Lord will forever
be with you!”
Now Mary was frightened,
and wondered in awe,
at the strange greeting,
that upon her did fall!
But the angel said
“Do not be afraid!
you’ll deliver God’s Son
you’re the chosen maid!”
“You shall call Him Jesus,
not Ben or Hanniah,
for He will be great,
He’ll be called the Messiah!”
Then Mary asked,
“But how can this be?
I am a virgin.”
But He answered she,
“The Holy Spirit
will come upon you,
and God’s great power
will overshadow you!”
“I am the Lord’s servant,”
Mary answered humbly,
“May it happen the way
God wants it to be.”
Now in those days,
issued a decree to,
take a census.
They went unto
the city of David.
What a relief, whey they
finally made it!
But there was no room
for them in the inn,
so in a manger
was the baby lain!
In fields nearby
where shepherds lay,
an Angel of the Lord
came by that way.
And said unto them,
“Do not be afraid!
I bring good tidings,
to you this day!”
“A Savior which is
Christ the Lord,
is born to you,
the Son of God!”
“Lying in the manger,
of a cow,
in swaddled clothes!
Go find Him now!”
Then whole host,
appeared in the sky,
singing “Glory to God
in heaven on high!”
And when they had left,
the shepherds ran,
to find the babe,
Now go tell others,
the wonderful news!
Jesus is born,
just for you!
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- 2nd Place! - Benjamin Layman, 12, WA
Mary and Joseph were pledged to be married. Mary was approached by the angel of
the Lord, Gabriel. The angel told her that she was going to bear the son of
God. They had to travel to Bethlehem, Joseph’s home town, because there was an
official census being conducted by the emperor of Rome. When they finally got
there, it was late and they needed a place to stay. Everywhere they went they
were rejected because the inns were all full with people arriving for the
census. One innkeeper showed some sympathy for them and told them that they
could stay in the stable.
Along the countryside, shepherds were watching their flocks. A glorious
appearing occurred and the same angel Gabriel told them that he had come to
bear good news and then he told them about the baby being born in Bethlehem,
the son of God. Suddenly the night sky was filled with lights and an entire
multitude of angels surrounded them and sang an anthem giving glory to God.
The shepherds were terrified but they decided to go and worship this baby from
Elsewhere, wise men saw the star from the east and desired to follow it. King
Herod, the ruler of that region in Bethlehem, stopped them. Herod was an evil
king and when he found out that there was a king in Bethlehem he wanted to
destroy him. He told the wise men to find the baby and when they did, report
back to him so he could worship him. By the time they got to the baby he was
about two years old. They brought gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. The wise
men were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod so they returned home
through another route.
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- Honorable Mention! - Bryson Victorino, 13, HI
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).
God sent his son to reconcile man to Him
And to save us so we can go to heaven.
There was a woman named Mary who was a virgin,
To a man named Joseph, she was betrothed to him.
Mary was told she would have a babe,
Told by an angel by the name of Gabe.
The baby's name was to be Jesus,
He would be king and die to save us.
At that time Roman Emperor Augustus
Decided that he should take a census.
So Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem
With God's holy hand protecting them.
But there was no room left at the inn,
So they stayed in the stable, the only place open.
So born in a stable and laid in a manger,
Was the Son of God, Jesus our Savior.
Some shepherds in the fields watching the flocks
Saw a bright light and had a great shock,
An angel had appeared, and told them not to fear.
He told them of Jesus in Bethlehem,
So the shepherds went and worshipped Him.
Wise men found Him by following a star,
They brought Him gold, frankincense and myrrh from afar.
That night they all saw that wonder,
But Mary gathered these things in her heart to ponder.
He is the Prince of Peace, the King of kings,
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But of this story, it is just the beginning.
Jesus did many wonderful things,
But most importantly He died for our sins
And came back to life again!
The stories were judged in 3 age categories: 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Each category was awarded a 1st place, 2nd place, and 1 or 2 honorable mentions (where applicable).