WeyMedia Books for Young People Prize

Short stories or poems written by adults for Children, Middle Grade or Young Adult Readers

  • Up to 4,500 words
  • First Prize $200, Second Prize $100, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

2024 Judge: Lorna Schultz Nicholson

Lorna Schultz Nicholson is an award-winning author and has published children’s picture books, middle grade fiction, YA fiction and hockey non-fiction. Her books have also been nominated for many different awards and are often on the CCBC’s Best Books for Kids and Teens list. Lorna loves travelling and presents at libraries and schools all over North America to inspire children, teens and adults to love reading and writing as much as she does.  Lorna lives in Edmonton with her husband and dog she rescued from Mexico. 


First Place Winner - Marven Morton’s Marvellous Notions – Author, Cheryl Thomas, Lower Coverdale, NB 

Judge's Comments: This is a fun, cleverly written story about Marven the inventor and his sister Claire. The voice of the story, right from the beginning, has energy and humour. The creation of Marven- the- inventor will make children, and adults, laugh out loud. His creations are silly but also realistic - steak knives on a remote-control car to make a weeder, which ends up making salad. The author plays around with language to make the story witty, and visual. A sentence like “Claire was too busy slicing, dicing, and spicing to notice the noise or her wet socks” was so well written. And there were many more of those. The playful use of language made the story shine. Kudos to a fun, entertaining, laugh-out-loud story. What is Marven going to invent next!

Author Bio: I have submitted stories to WFNB’s writing contest in the Books for Young People category a couple of times.  Thank you to all those who make this contest possible, it encourages me to write.

Second Place: A Bridge to the Past – Author, Mary Mesheau, Fredericton, NB 

Judge's Comments: The tension and mysterious element of this middle grade story is apparent from the opening paragraph and will keep young readers wanting more. Mae is a strong character with strong opinions, and Ellis is mysterious, but there are hints of an extremely likable character. The author did a fantastic job of developing realistic tension between the two pre-teen characters through back-and-forth dialogue and simple actions. There is also an intriguing combination of contemporary and historical fiction in the story which gives it depth. The mystery of the story is strategically sprinkled in through the narrative, keeping the reader guessing as to – where are these two going to end up and how will they get along?

Author Bio: My first career was in education where I spent my time teaching and administrating in schools from K-9 in Oromocto, New Brunswick. I enjoyed my time with the students, sharing books and stories, as well as history. I’ve self published an adult crime fiction series under the name Mary Sawyer.  A Bridge to the Past is my first book for young people.

Third Place: Dirt Angels – Author, Kelly Alcorn, Rollingdam, NB 

Judge's Comments: A lovely story about a little girl discovering the beauty of nature, especially turtles. The simple sentence structure packs a big punch, and the outdoors is shown in vivid wording. The repetition of Amy asking, “What’s that?” worked well for a children’s picture book. Short sentences make the story move along and will allow for some beautiful illustrations. There is also mystery in the story, that was revealed a little at a time, and that is commendable for such a short word count. The ending is sweet, as Amy’s kindness is heartwarming and sincere. The title is brilliant.

Author Bio: grew up in Saskatchewan but married into a life in rural New Brunswick. I have two undergraduate degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. I started writing five years ago and though I have published nothing, I have an extensive collection of rejections from both editors and agents. I recently joined the Writers Federation of New Brunswick and this is my second time entering the group’s annual writing competition. 

Honourable mention:  Call Me Captain Molly Kool: First female Master Mariner in North America– Author, Gail Collette, Miramichi 

Judge's Comments: This is a wonderful story to empower young girls. Molly has a dream to be a Captain of a ship, and there is no doubt in the readers mind she will be successful. The author creates up and down moments by having Molly make mistakes, but then allows Molly to have a wonderful moment where she is the one to save the day. Molly’s energy is infectious.

Author Bio: I published a novel of eco-fiction in 2022 and won an award for a children’s short story of the same genre in 2023. I have had short stories and poetry published in anthologies. I was a judge for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour and have written articles for a local newspaper and magazine.

Honourable Mention: The Wishing Broom – Author, Jennifer Houle, Hanwell, NB 

Judge's Comments: A fun, lively story that has action, adventure, and intrigue. The author kept Aurora’s wish a secret to the end and this gives the story its mystery. When the two siblings fly on the broom the author creates a story with local flair, by showing parts of Fredericton. The broom ride is vividly written.

Author Bio: Jennifer Houle began publishing in Canadian literary journals in 2005, and is the author of two award-winning poetry collections, The Back Channels and Virga (Signature Editions). Her first children’s book, Un logis pour Molly/A Home for Molly was published by Éditions Bouton d’Or Acadie in summer of 2022 in both French and English. In 2017, The Back Channels won the J.M. Abraham East Coast Literary Award for best collection of poetry and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. In 2020, Virga received the Fiddlehead Poetry Prize from the New Brunswick Book Awards.  A life long Maritimer, she lives in Hanwell, NB, where she sits on the board of Word Feast, Fredericton’s Literary Festival and is actively involved in the arts community.

2022 - 2023 Judge: Kristin Butcher


First place: Kelly Alcorn (Rollingdam, NB) - Randy the Race Coon

Second place: Leo LaFleur (Saint John, NB) - The Black Branch

Third place, Gail Collette (Miramichi, NB) -  The Climate Changes Terr

Honourable Mention: Odette Barr (Petit Cap, NB) - Arrivals and Departures

2021 - 2022 Judge: Orysia Dawydiak


First place: Betty Sleep - The Caterpillar That Roared

Second place: Brandi Estey-Burtt - The Art of Repetition

Third place: Odette Barr - Becoming Canadian

Honourable Mention: Nola Hicks - Reach for the Rain

Prize Sponsors

The opportunity to enter your work in a competition offered by a reputable group or body, is one that every writer should take advantage of. It offers all the participants a chance to have what they have written judged alongside others who may also be new writers, or trying a different area of writing for the first time.  I am delighted to have won the children’s fiction category for 2022 and pleased to add that my children’s novel “Magic in the African Bush” was published in October.

Betty Sleep, First Place in the Quantiphi Books for Young People prize 2022, for The Caterpillar that Roared

You don’t know until you try! Winning 3rd place in a new genre to me provided the motivation and confidence to continue writing in that particular genre—I now have a 51,000 word YA manuscript almost ready for querying. Go for it!

Odette Barr, 3rd place winner, Accreon Prize 2022 (now the Quantiphi Books for Young People Prize) for Becoming Canadian.

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