The winners of the RSPCA’s children’s short story competition

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Saturday 16th March 2013

RSPCA Rebecca Cobb

One of my most enjoyable tasks this year has been helping to judge a children’s short story competition for the RSPCA.

The charity’s Wild About Britain challenge was inspired by children’s classics like Wind in the Willows and The Tale of Peter Rabbit and called on aspiring young writers to create a 500-word wildlife story featuring animals.

It turned out to be huge fun and I whiled away hours reading the shortlisted entries. In fact I was bowled over by the standard of writing, wildlife knowledge and the writers’ stunning imaginations.

But in the end there could only be three winners – so here they are. Charlotte Pearce, 11, won the 11 and under category with A New Neighbour, her sweet story of cheeky squirrels stealing each others’ hazelnuts. Ayasha Kawakita, 14, triumphed in the 12 to 16 category with The Chase, the tale of a little fox cub being chased by hounds, and Louis Baxter Wedderburn won the People’s Choice category, voted for by the public, with a story called Hare’s Birthday.

As part of their prizes, the winners all had their stories illustrated by a clutch of well-known artists. Rebecca Cobb brought Hare’s Birthday to life in her enchanting illustration (above), while David Roberts sketched The Chase and Paul Howard did a sweet portrait of Rusty, the squirrel from Charlotte’s story.

As Chris Packham, the wildlife TV presenter and RSPCA vice president, said at the end of the judging: “It was a pure pleasure to judge this competition – the children really let their imaginations go wild and connect with the hedgehogs, hares and the other creatures they wrote about.

“I loved getting lost in their animal worlds, which were by turns funny, quirky and at times rather moving.”

I agree. Funny, quirky and moving – there are some great young writers out there.

To read the winning stories, go to the Wild About Britain website. Children will love them – and actually, so will their parents…

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