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Babe To Teens, Past
A YOuth Column
By Beverly Rowe

    Chapter Book Contest by Teens

    Last year I was privileged to be a judge in a Chapter Book contest by Teens, for middle grade kids or Tweens.  I was truly amazed at the quality of writing that I was asked to judge for this contest, and excited about the possibilities and the opportunity available for high school students in the creative writing field.  The prizes were worth many thousands of dollars, along with publishing contracts and prestige.

    Here is the cover of the 2007 contest winner:

    I asked  Marvin Baker to tell us about the contest and what's happening for this year.  Here is what he had to say:

    Bev:  In 2007, you were instrumental in organizing a chapter book contest for teen writers worldwide. We would like to learn about the contest... 

    Marvin: Thanks for the privilege. I truly hope people like yourself will help promoted the competition and the sale of the books. You know what it means to be published, so I want the winners to be encouraged.


    Bev: What kind of response did you have from kids and teachers? 

    Marvin: The first news release went out in mid-January. A news release in the region and a limited mailing to high schools in Indiana and the four contiguous states was augmented with the addition of the 2000 ACSI high schools around the world.  With only slightly more than five months from the public announcement and the deadline, students from 11 foreign countries and 20 states responded. The winners: 2 are homeschoolers, 1 one from public school, and 2 from international Christian schools, and 1 from a Christian high school in the U.S.  It is doubtful that any high school had heard of Tweener Ministries. A new competition sponsored by an unknown organization and a small Christian college gave reason to be skeptical. But there was a college professor from Oklahoma who told me, "I've been praying for 12 years that someone would do exactly what you are doing." 

    I was excited by the response, especially considering the limited time. Since then as word has spread, the excitement and anticipation has increased.  The response from students would be enough to make it worth while. But comments from teachers and family members are added rewards. A mother offered this anecdote. "My son has always said 'why bother to write?' No one ever reads it except you and the teacher.'  This gave him a reason to write, and he is so proud of his accomplishment."     

    Books by Teens for Tweens tells the story. Elementary teachers have expressed the opinion that kids will look forward to reading what their 'role models' have written. High school English teachers have indicated that they might use the winning book for a text in their creative writing class. "This is what your peers are doing, and they are getting royalties for their efforts. Go and do likewise."


    Bev: How did you choose judges for this contest and  what was the judging process like? 

    Marvin:    A committee was appointed to select judges for the Tweener Time International Chapter Book and Cover Art Competition. PeggySue Wells served as Chair of that committee. It was their responsibility to select individuals qualified to serve as a judge of the chapter books:
    First Round judges were elementary teachers and administrators and librarians. They know the audience.
    Second Round judges were published authors and a few college professors and book reviewers. They know the craft.
    Third Round judges were editors and publishers from Christian publishing houses. They know the market.    

    The judges for the Cover Art competition were professional artists and college and university faculty members and graphic artists.


    Bev: How many categories of prizes were there and what were the prizes to the winners. 

     Marvin: Bethel College, Mishawaka, IN provides $58,000 in scholarships to the high school authors
     $20,000 for first place
     $10,000 each for second and third
     $6,000 each for fourth, fifth, and sixth.
    The winner receives a $1,000 cash price for the Gaither Charitable Foundation.
    Each of the top six winners will have their books published by Baker Trittin Press and distributed through their    national distributor, Baker and Taylor. Each author will receive royalties on each of their books sold.
    The teacher of the winning student receives a 7 day trip to Paris to study the rise of Western culture from a Christian      perspective.
    There are three scholarships awarded for the Tweener Time International Cover Art Competition winners;
     Anderson University provides a $44,000 for first place
     Bethel College provides $10,000 each for second and third place.


    Bev: Tell us about the publication and marketing of the winning chapter books. 

    Marvin:   Originally we had expected to publish only the book by the first place winner. The authors and editors serving as judges were astonished at the quality of the writing by these high school students who ranged in age from 15 to 18. One senior editor of a major Christian publishing house sent his card with a note regarding the publication of that manuscript, and it was not the first place winner. At that point we made the decision that the top six authors would be offered contracts.

    So far two individuals, a small rural church, the Gaither Charitable Foundation, and Baker Trittin Press have made contributions toward launching the Championship Series. We believe the sale of the 2007 series will pay for the publication of the 2008 Championship Series and that can perpetuate the series.

    This is a demonstration of faith in the ability of high school authors and artists.  2007 books will be available through Baker Trittin Press and their national distributor, Baker and Taylor.

    I sincerely hope that students, writers, reviewers, parents, teachers, and librarians will subscribe for the 2007 Championship Series. They will be released every other month beginning in March, 2008. The 2007 Series is available for $75.00 including shipping and handling. Each book may be purchased separately at $10.95 plus $3.50 for shipping and handling.


    Bev:  Is there anyplace online where sample chapters are available? 

    Marvin: At the present time the first chapter of the first place winner, Journey to the Homeland, is posted at  You may obtain a free copy of the first chapter of each of the 2007 Championship books by emailing and ask for the 2007 Championship Sampler.

    Bev: Tell us about the teen chapter book contest for 2008...the requirements to enter, the deadlines and the prizes.
    Marvin:  Students in grades nine through 12 or international equivalent are eligible. A complete list of rules are posted at  The deadline for the second annual Tweener Time Chapter Book Chapter Book Competition is May 15, 2008.

    The prizes are the same as listed above.


    Bev: Is there anything else you would like to share with us. 

    Marvin:   The competition is sponsored by Tweener Ministries, a non-profit organization created for the purpose of serving tweeners and those who love them by promoting literacy and positive moral values among tweeners (8-12). It is not a religious organization. Developing Creative Potential is the phrase that describes the purpose of this competition. Our desire is to encourage high school authors and artists to share their creative talents with tweeners.

     Books by Teens for Tweens can serve as a  motivation for students in middle schools and elementary schools to hone their own creative talents. They may be used in high school creative writing classes as examples of peer writing with financial rewards for the best. 

    Inquiries about serving as a judge may be sent to and they will be forwarded to the appropriate committee.

    Contributions to Tweener Ministries to support this competition are tax deductible and should be sent to Tweener Ministries, Inc. 701 E. Main Street, Warsaw, IN  46580.

    "This is an incredible opportunity for high school students to hone and present  their writing skills with the possibility of winning a scholarship to boot!" Bill Myers, co-creator of Focus on the Family's McGee and Me, writer/director of Adventures in Odyssey, author of the award winning books series, My Life as... and the Forbidden Doors series

    Thanks so much for sharing with us.  OK, kids, sharpen those pencils, turn on the computer and get to writing that story you have been thinking can do it!


    14 books...Debra Le from Texas

2008 Past Columns

Chapter Book Contest by teens

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