Whitby Grade 8 student wins national kids writing contest


Published June 18, 2021 at 4:27 pm


A poetry collection written by a Grade 8 student from Whitby’s Julie Payette Public School is one of two winners of a national children’s writing competition.

The Wonder of Words, written by Sumal Ashfaq, shared the top prize in the annual Kids Write 4 Kids Creative Challenge with Aurora’s Olivia Hashem (also a Grade 8 student), who submitted the short story, Learning to Fly.

Both books will be published in paperback and digitally, and will be available on Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBookstore, and Overdrive. Proceeds from the sales in 2021 will be donated to Sumal and Olivia’s charity of choice – Operational Smile Canada.

The contest is run by the Ripple Foundation, a charitable organization that fosters creativity in youth across Canada and is open to children in grades 4-8. The foundation aims to empower the next generation of leaders by “cultivating a passion for reading and writing in youth while fostering creativity.”

The judging panel – made up of authors, editors, publishers, and winners from last year’s contest – picked the two winners from ten finalists, who were rated on creativity, originality, story structure, and writing quality. There were 685 entries from across the country in all.

The runners-up included Kayla Splitt of St. Catharines (Grade 6); Jeanne Lee of Oakville (Grade 7); Nidhi Hedge of Brampton (Grade 6); Sebastien Beckett of Dundas (Grade 6); Bailey Richardson of Kanata (Grade 7); Keena Gheyara of Montreal (Grade 5); Makenna Eisses of Calgary (Grade 7); and Milana Baybulatova, a Grade 4 student from Toronto.

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