Contest Manager Mary-Lane Kamberg

The 2009 KAC Youth Contest had three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Non-fiction.

See also: 2009 Youth Writing Awards Event Photos

Poetry Judge Alberta James Daw writes poetry, essays, articles, short stories and children’s books. Her poems have been published in The Mid-America Poetry Review, The Kansas City Star, and these anthologies: Handprint in the Woods, Season of Light, and Water and Rock.

Message from the Judge:

Thank you for writing poems that let me taste, see, hear and even smell what is happening in them and how it feels. Your poetry reminds me how it is to be a child or teen learning about yourself and the world. By the way, we keep on learning about ourselves and the world our entire lives. Thank you for writing with honesty, humor and even irony.

A good way to make a poem even better is to put it away for a day or so. Then read it out loud to hear how you can make it say and feel more exactly as you wish it to. Now that you are a writer keep a small notebook and a pencil with you at all times. Write down your good ideas, funny things that happen, or what people say that catch your ear. These bits and pieces are the “Legos” with which you can write lively poems. As the Greeks say, 'Excelsior!' or 'Upward and Onward!'

Alberta James Daw

1-2 grade Poetry
1 Jama Gleue   Poetic Thoughts From My Notebook
2 Elijah Neal   The Cat
3 April Ma   If I Were a Kite
HM Rachel Zhang   I Spy a Copy

3-4 grade Poetry
1 Grace McGowan   Two Girls
2 Tom Teeter   The Classroom
3 Taylor Smith   A Girl Named Daisy Maizy

5-6 grade Poetry
1 Mac Walsh   Clocks
2 Jenny Crowther  

A Winter Swimming Pool

3 Christopher Frazier


The Hitter
HM Brandon Joseph   Baseball
HM Hayden Schrag   Walt Disney World
HM Mia Haden   Shadows

7-8 grade Poetry
1 Hannah Wessel   In the End
2 Kayla Marple   Our Good Earth
3 Christine Conway   Eva Braun: Hitler's Wife
HM Kyle Bruggemeyer   Courage
HM Rachel Strohkorb   I Am

9-12 grade
1 Ashley Grant   Brother
2 Aubrey Avonson  

Eyes Open

3 Brooklynn Nicole Williams   Why?
HM Caitlyn Berry   My Dad
HM Cassie Michelle Boland   Life
HM Elizabeth Evans   Passion
HM Haley Martin   Greensburg
HM Erin Rand   Summer Scenes
HM Megan Willard   Reversed

Fiction Judge Brent Crawford’s first young adult novel, Carter Finally Gets It, was just released by Hyperion-Disney. His second book, Carter’s Big Break, is set for release in April 2010. Brent was born in Kansas but moved to Los Angeles and then New York to pursue an acting career. He has worked in theatre, film, television and commercials. (Check him out on He has written numerous plays and scripts and now works as a full-time writer back in Kansas.

Message from the Judge:

Thank you so much for allowing me to participate in the Kansas Authors Club Youth Writing Contest. It was an honor to read such great work by so many talented writers. I found each piece courageous in its own way, and I was truly inspired. I tend to judge my own work very harshly and that will always stifle creativity. I saw very little self-doubt in the pages I was asked to read. I hope you guys are able to keep it up and keep writing.

Brent Crawford

1-2 grade Fiction

1 April Ma   The Gingerbread Family
2 Rachel Zhang   The Chipmunk
3 David Qi   Battl;e Under the Sea
HM Jama Gleue   Deep, Deep Down!

3-4 grade Fiction
1 Haley Grable   Sew What?
2 Kayla Neal   The Dirty Corn
3 Casey Tucker   Bill the Woodcutter
HM Rayn Harra   The Arctic Expedition

5-6 grade Fiction
1 Sarah Smith   Turkey Time
2 Amanda Harra   ISA
3 Mia Haden   Picture Perfect
HM Audrey Phillips   The Turtle
HM Sadie Polson   My Life as an Apricot Tree

7-8 grade Fiction


Chelsey Haden   The Front Page
2 Even Eschliman   Unlocked
3 Alex Gabrielli   A Night at the Beach

9-12 grade Fiction

1 Kayla Justice   Mrs. Charlotte
2 Sam Teeter   Shades
3 Jennifer Garrett   Mischief
HM Laurina Hannan   Samantha

Nonfiction Judge Carolyn Hall authored Prairie Meals and Memories, Living the Golden Rural by Goldminds Publishing, a combination memoir and recipe book that celebrates growing up on a farm in the 1950s and 1960s. Her publications include The Christian Science Monitor, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Kansas City Star, Star Magazine, The Best Times, Echoes of the Ozarks and the Kansaspoets Web site. She is a board member of Whispering Prairie Press, which publishes Kansas City Voices magazine. She belongs to Kansas Authors Club.

Message from the Judge:

WOW! What an honor to read such talented writers. You used good storytelling techniques with a hook to get me into the story, an interesting middle and a satisfying ending. Some of the stories went on to use specific details and great description to make me feel I was right there experiencing the story with the writer. Keep writing and hope to get to read more of your writing in the future – published, of course.

Carolyn Hall

1-2 grade Non-fiction

1 Jama Gleue   In Second Grade
2 Peyton Williams   My Trip to Chicago
3 Cassidy Williams   Chicago
HM Joshn Montgomery   The New Army Plane

3-4 grade Non-fiction
1 Carina N. Smith   Being Saved and Loved
2 Kayla Neal   Day with Mom
3 Ben Whitney   Principal for the Day
HM Casey Tucker   The Great Assassination

5-6 grade Non-fiction
1 Ruth Anthony   Swimming
2 Katie Buhler   Epic Snow Storm
3 Mia Haden   Obsession
HM Saide Polson   The Terrifying Ice Storm

7-8 grade Non-fiction
1 Lizzy Kuhlmann   Remembering Edgar
2 Christine Conway   The Qualities of a Hero
3 Chelsey Haden   Soar

9-12 grade Non-fiction
1 Laurina Hannan   The Dance
2 Erin Rand   Footloose
3 Lindsey Johnston   Only a Building?
HM Tracy Woltemath   Iowa Rockets

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