Polar Expressions Poetry (Nov 14) & Short Story (Dec 5) Contests


Student Contests

Now announcing our 11th annual student contests for Canadian students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

2016/2017 National Student Contests

Poetry Deadline: November 14, 2016
Short-Story Deadline: December 5, 2016

Each year we hold two contests, which are open to Canadian students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Over $9,000 is awarded in cash prizes to schools and students who participate!

There is no entry fee and no obligation to purchase anything.

Educators may wish to use one or both of these contests as a project in coordination with their English curriculum or students may enter on their own (though school information must be provided so we can verify they are a student and keep the contest fair).

Information packages, including entry forms are sent to schools across the country in September. Educators may directly request a copy of this information package or a complimentary copy of one of our collections from a previous contest by sending us an information request.

The top group of entrants in each contest (approx. 25-45%) will receive the opportunity to be published in a soft-cover, keepsake collection to be released in early June of each year. Schools that send in at least five complete entries per contest will automatically receive one free copy of any collection containing their student(s) work. We gave away more than $10,000 worth of these books to schools in our last contests!


  • All work must be original and will be checked for plagiarism.
  • Entries should not have been previously published (online postings should be removed prior to submission).
  • Please do not submit work already sent to other contests or publishers for consideration (aka no simultaneous submissions).
  • Students may submit one entry to each contest (one poem and one story).
  • Peer editing is allowed (in the same grade or younger).
  • Parents/teachers/older siblings are welcome to type out the work of younger writers, but should not make corrections other than spelling necessary for comprehension as they do so.
  • Poems must be 32 lines or less.
  • Short stories must be 450 words or less. They should be fiction or fictionalized (change the names of real characters). No essays, reports, or fan fiction please.
  • At this time entries should be in English or accompanied by an English translation.
  • All entries should be accompanied by an entry form, or reasonable facimile with the required information.
  • Please retain a copy of all work submitted as we are not able to return anything.
  • Any style or subject is welcome, though we remind students the audience should always be considered and the books will be found in elementary school libraries.
  • Home-schooled students are welcome to participate and are eligible for any student awards; however, home schools will not receive the educator portion of any award.

Topic Ideas

If you are having trouble thinking of something to write about, here are someshort-story topics you may wish to explore:

  • Think about life as someone or something else. Try writing from that person’s or thing’s point of view and what you imagine life may be like for them.
  • Give life to a mysterious person. You see a man/woman/child across the street. Why are they there? What is their secret? . . .
  • You see a scratch on the floor, the broken window across the street, the dent in your dad’s car—how did it get there? Is there a logical explanation or something more fantastic?
  • Think about a close friend or family member. Take them on an adventure.
  • Think about fables and fairy tales. Try to create one of your own.
  • Look at a photograph in a newspaper or magazine. Invent a completely new story to go with it.
  • Write about funny things that happen when you least expect them.

Here are some poetry topics you may wish to consider:

  • The seasons.
  • Family members and their adventures.
  • Favourite sports or hobbies.
  • School: homework, subjects, teachers, peers, etc.
  • Emotions: describe a sad day, a happy day, etc.
  • Animals: your pets or wild beasts!
  • An inanimate object’s perspective.
  • Holidays and other special events.

There are a lot of great websites out there containing tips on writing, further information on different types of poems, as well as rhyming dictionaries. Below are a few links we recommend to get you started:

Children’s author Corey Green—great advice for writing stories

Poetry Foundation—poetry education for older students

Scholastic—types of poems

Rhymezone—rhyming dictionary

Write Express—rhyming dictionary

Ways to Enter

Send entries
email using web form: SUBMIT ENTRY ONLINE
Acceptable file attachments: .doc/.docx, .pdf, or .txt (please do not send .pages files or links)
by mail: Polar Expressions Publishing
PO Box 500 Stn Main
Maple Ridge BC V2X 3P2
by fax: 604-465-0756 (up to 5 entries per fax please)
by email: polarexpressions@shaw.ca or

We look forward to reading your work!


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