When we launched CLiF’s first Two-Sentence Story Contest back in February 2023, we were realistic about our goals and expectations. “Thirty entries would be great,” we agreed. “That would be a success.” 

The challenge for that inaugural contest was: “Tell us a story about winter.” And, as it turns out, the children of Vermont and New Hampshire have a lot of stories to share about the hibernal season. Over 700 submissions poured into our office from authors ranging in age from 3 to 12 years, far exceeding even the loftiest goals some of us had privately harbored. 

The stories described frozen puffs of breath, and glowing wood stoves; savage snowball fights, and comforting mugs of hot chocolate. There were chilling brushes with fierce wolf packs and thrilling adventures on sleds and skis. Shimmering snowflakes fell gently, and forceful winds howled. Suffice to say, when it comes to winter, Northeast kids know their stuff, and we were both completely floored and absolutely thrilled to be on the receiving end of so many amazing stories. (Click here to view last year’s contest winners.)

When the time came to brainstorm the theme for this year’s contest, we knew we wanted it to resonate just as widely as our inaugural theme of winter. “Friendship?” we wondered. “Maybe dreams? Or magic?” Nothing felt quite right. And then it dawned on us: the sky. 

Back then, we were just a few short months away from the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, and we knew parts of Vermont and New Hampshire would be in the path of totality. But what if we didn’t know? 

Before eclipses were the predictable events they are today, ancient civilizations made up stories to interpret what was happening in the sky as the moon blotted out the sun. Those legends of old were the inspiration for this year’s challenge: “Tell us a story that takes place in the sky.” 

Again, we weren’t sure what to expect. At first, entries only trickled in, and we wondered if perhaps the popularity of last year’s contest had been a fluke. But as the deadline approached, the volume increased dramatically, with submissions arriving from every corner of the Twin States. And when it came time for the final count, we were blown away by the total: 938 entries! There were unicorns and leprechauns; sparkling constellations and ominous storm clouds. Birds swooped through many stories, as did their nighttime counterparts: bats. Though the eclipse was still on the horizon, there were descriptions of what it would look like, and how observers would react. Though limited to just two sentences, our young authors proved highly expressive. 

While it’s nearly impossible to choose just a handful of winners from stacks of creative and imaginative two-sentence stories, our panel of CLiF judges finally reached consensus on the winning stories. Congratulations to our eight winners, each of whom will receive a five-book library curated to their interests: Bodhi, age 5; Ada, age 7; Jayden, age 8; Lucas, age 10; Lyra, age 10; April, age 10; Merrick, age 11; and Jasper, age 11. 

You can read their stories by clicking here

We are so grateful to all the young writers who entered, and to the adults who facilitated their submissions. We can’t wait for our next Two-Sentence Story Contest! Got a good idea for a theme? Please add it to the comments! 

One response to “Two-Sentence Stories: And the Winners Are…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

Subscribe to our Blog