Institute of Children's Literature presents



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Fall for Children's Poetry!

Ah, fall! Cooler temperatures. Back-to-school. Apple pies. Fall festivals. Pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins! What's not to love about fall?

This contest is for all you poets out there. Your mission is to write a fall-themed poem for kids ages 6-10 years old. It can be funny, lyrical, thoughtful, or entertaining! No matter the tone, it should speak to the elementary set. (Think about a poem you'd find in a children's magazine.)

Write a kid-friendly fall poem for your chance to win! Entries must be no more than 16 lines. Submissions must be previously unpublished and not under contract.

DEADLINE: October 31, 2022

What is poetry? describes poetry as "a type of literature that conveys a thought, describes a scene or tells a story in a concentrated, lyrical arrangement of words. Poems can be structured, with rhyming lines and meter, the rhythm and emphasis of a line based on syllabic beats. Poems can also be freeform, which follows no formal structure."

For this contest, your poem should have a fall theme. It can be any type of poem and the type of poem needs to be included in the header with your name. Is your poem rhyming, free verse, haiku, limerick, or something else? Here are a few resources to help you identify the type of poem you're writing and the rules for writing it:

Why Enter an ICL Writing Contest?

 $1,300 Cash Prizes 

  • 1st prize = $650
  • 2nd prize = $350 
  • 3rd prize = $100
  • 4th prize = $100
  • 5th prize = $100 

Online Workshop

All entrants are invited to a FREE instructional online workshop with our esteemed judge.

Free Critique

Winning entries will be workshopped by our judge to help writers understand what worked and what could be improved to make it submission-ready.

Enter Today!

Here's what you need to know...

  • This contest is to write a fall poem for 6-10 year olds.
  • Entries must be no more than 16 lines. (This is a slight change from our orignal announcement, but this is a more appropriate length for publishers who publish poetry for this age group.)
  • Entries can be in any poetic style. (Include the type of poem in the upper left corner with your name.)
  • Entries must be fall-themed.
  • Entries must be unpublished and not under contract.
  • Do not submit illustrations or photographs with your entry. This contest is for text only.
  • Proofread your entry to ensure it matches the industry standard manuscript format (double spacing, clear contact information, no creative use of fonts).
  • Entries must follow manuscript submission guidelines as stated on our Contest Rules page HERE.
  • Entries must be submitted via our online form by midnight Pacific Time on October 31, 2022.
  • There is a $19 reading fee per manuscript to enter the contest.
  • You may enter more than one manuscript but each entry requires a $19 reading fee.
  • Add our email address ( to your list of contacts and/or safe senders so you can receive the email with the free entry information to our online workshop where we announce the winners. (Non-entrants pay $7.)
  • The minimum age to enter the contest is 18 years of age.

Submissions will be judged on clarity, originality, how well the poem matches the type of poem selected, audience engagement, potential in the market, and appropriateness for the age range.

The winning entries in the ICL Fall Poetry Contest will be announced at a live online workshop within 90 days after the contest closes. All contest entrants will be notified of the event details by email and be invited free of charge. (Non-entrants may attend for a nominal fee of $7.)

This is a great opportunity to build your writing and submitting skills!

© 2022 Institute of Children's Literature

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