My First Book - A Competition for children to write their own story and Illustrate it
This yearly national contest called “My First Book” started in 2004 in Croatia. Children ages 7 to 15 are invited to participate to write and illustrate their own original stories under any of the following themes:
- “Love and Care for Nature”
- “Children’s Rights”
- “The power of friendship”
- “Life in peace”
- And any other story of their creative imagination and fantasy.
Writing and illustrating their own stories is a way to empower children. They will engage in a meaningful end-product of their own making that goes along the school objectives of basic communication skills such as: reading, spelling, grammar, listening, speaking and illustrating. It encourages students to exercise critical thinking and judgment, which is extremely important in the context of education.
By creating an end product, the process of a contest for writing and illustrating a book does for language arts what a science fair does for science curriculum. It combines the practice of countless skills into a tangible outcome, which can be proudly examined, discussed, displayed and retained.
A professional team of evaluators judges the work and choose the best books to be published and awards other recognitions.
The final books are of inspiration and benefit not only to the participants but also to other children who can read the published books at exhibitions, in schools and libraries.
Posters and flyers inform the schools and libraries about the contest which runs generally from September to March. Over the summer the books are printed and at the beginning of the school year the Prize giving ceremony and exhibition of all books is held.
Volunteers are invited to a short training to give workshops in children’s clubs, centres, libraries and schools to encourage the children to participate.
This project is welcomed under the patronage of the Ministry of Education of Croatia and sponsored by local businesses and funding agencies.
Similar contests have been organized in Cyprus, Bali and presently (2012) in Lebanon.