2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award – The Winners!


And you know what that means … it’s time to announce the winners of the 2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award!



Polar Bear by Daniel Hayes

The judge’s comments: This painting captures the drama of a long, dark arctic winter. Imagine this lonely polar bear waiting months and months for the sun to rise again! Despite being immersed in the freezing gloom, the artist has given the bear and her iceberg a magical inner glow.

Daniel wins $50 from the Book Chook, an art appraisal with James Foley, and a copy of James Foley’s book In the Lion.



It’s night time, thought Jake. I hate night time. Jake was lying on his bed, looking out the dark window. He was 11 years old and had brown hair and eyes.


Jake heard some spray and saw the window cover in water drops.

‘What was that?’ he asked himself. He jumped out of his covers and sneaked towards the window. It wasn’t rain because it was only a quick burst of misty water. Jake opened the window and stuck his head out. He saw a large cloud of mist swirling around his neighbourhood.

Strange … Jake thought. It must be a dream … I’ll pinch myself. Jake pinched himself hard and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he was in his bed and it was morning, yet the window was still covered in misty water.

Jake hopped out of bed and hobbled down the stairs. His breakfast was already waiting for him at the table.

‘I’m not hungry right now,’ Jake said to himself. ‘Something’s not right.’ Jake dressed himself and stumbled out the door. He jogged to the nearby beach and saw that most of the beach parasols had been washed into the ocean, plus mounds of seaweed were piling on the shore.

I knew something was wrong, Jake thought to himself. The beach has been wrecked.

Jake jogged home to tell his parents, but something captured his eyes. His parents’ car was gone! He panicked. Where were his parents? Surely they wouldn’t be gone at this time of the morning. The front lawn of Jake’s house was wet and ruined.

Jake heard a windy sound from behind him. He turned around and saw a massive cloud of misty water! The mist was swirling around at high speed, ripping out plants and pulling pots and cars. One of the cars Jake saw was his parents’ car!

‘No!’ Jake yelled. Jake ran as fast as his legs could carry him, but he was too slow …

The judge’s comments: This story carefully builds suspense, and Jake’s feeling of foreboding pulls the reader through the story. Abandonment is an age-old theme in storytelling and this story leaves us guessing what is to come. We sense that Jake is capable but his fear is real.

Simon wins $50 from the Book Chook, a manuscript appraisal with Dee White, and a copy of the e-book Ten Top Writing Tips for Kids—What to Write About.



Smart and clever,
Cunning and quick,
The raccoon darts,
Weaves and dips
Between the buildings,
In the night,
Guided by
The silver moonlight.
The sun is rising,
Night is away
Hurry my friend
Before the brand new day.

The judge’s comments: Line breaks and well-chosen words reflect the movement of the raccoon at night. The poet conveys a lot of action in this brief poem.

Rose wins $50 courtesy of the Book Chook, a poetry appraisal/mentorship with Lorraine Marwood, and a copy of A Ute Picnic.


Second Place (Artwork)—Caspian by Benjamin Woo, 6, Malaysia.

Second Place (Story)—UFO by Harry Cordingley, 10, WA.

Second Place (Poem)—The Sun, Ellie Rose Fisher, 11, WA.

Benjamin, Harry and Ellie Rose each receive a runner-up medal.

If you’d like to submit writing and/or artwork for Alphabet Soup‘s 2013 issues, check out our submission guidelines.


Art assessment/mentoring with James Foley

James Foley photo
James Foley

James Foley is visiting today to tell us about how he came to be an illustrator—and the details of the fabulous prize he is donating for the winner in the Most Outstanding Artwork category of the Alphabet Soup Creativity Award. (You can read about the prizes for the Most Outstanding Story and the Most Outstanding Poem categories in earlier posts this week.)

Thanks, James!

I write and illustrate children’s books. I’ve recently released my second picture book, In The Lion, through Walker Books. It’s a little like The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly but darkly funny and set in a zoo. My first book, The Last Viking, came out last year. it was written by Picture-Book-of-the-Year winner Norman Jorgensen.

In the Lion (cover)"The Last Viking (cover)"


Most illustrators will tell you they’ve been drawing for as long as they can remember. I started my career in primary school, drawing cartoons for the school newspaper. The paper only lasted one issue, probably because my class faked a fire in the school hall using a smoke machine to get our front page story. In year 7, I won third prize in a state-wide ‘Make Your Own Storybook’ Competition. I later worked on a regular comic strip for my high school paper; political cartoons for a Curtin University paper; and a full-page comic for Notre Dame University’s Quasimodo magazine.

But my professional career really began in 2003, when I drew my first covers for Western Australia’s weekly Quokka newspaper. By the time I finished in 2010 I’d drawn nearly 300 full-colour cartoons.

I like working in pen and ink, pencil, charcoal and watercolour. I also use digital tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter and a Wacom graphics tablet.

I have a website and you can also visit The Last Viking blog which goes behind-the-scenes of the picture book.


My assessment/mentoring will contain feedback on your illustration, suggestions for drawing activities, advice on books to look at and artists to look up, and general tips for illustrating books. The winner will need to email me a scan of their artwork for appraisal. I will email back my feedback and tips.

I will also provide a signed copy of my latest book In the Lion.

I remember being encouraged at a young age to follow this dream, so hopefully I can do the same here.

We can hardly wait to announce the winners on Friday. While you’re waiting, you can check out the book trailer for In the Lion. It’s really cool.


Poetry Appraisal with Lorraine Marwood

Lorraine Marwood
Lorraine Marwood

Today we are so pleased to have Lorraine Marwood here to tell us a bit about her poetry writing, and the prize she is donating for the winner in the Most Outstanding Poem category of the Alphabet Soup Creativity Award. (We’ll be announcing the winner on Friday, so stay tuned!)

Over to you, Lorraine!
I have written many, many poems and had them published in places like The School Magazine in New South Wales (and Alphabet Soup of course) and USA magazine Cricket.  I love the way a poem can become a little image of a snapshot of  a moment in a day.
I have two collections of poems published with Walker Books:  A Ute Picnic and Other Australian Poems and Note on the Door and Other Poems About Family Life.  I have just completed a third collection of poems with Walker—Guinea Pig Town and Other Poems About Animals and this will come out in 2013.
note on the door (cover)
Stary Jumps (cover)

I also like to write verse novels.  Star Jumps won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award (children’s category) in 2010, and Ratwhiskers and Me is set on the Victorian goldfields.  Imagining what it would have been like to live in times gone by is another way of writing that I enjoy.  I love researching and reading all about those times too.  I never know when an idea will suddenly take hold and grow into a poem or a book.
Look out for my Aussie Nibbles titles too—The Girl Who Turned into Treacle and Chantelle’s Cloak.
I have a website all about my books, and a blog where I often write about projects and inspiration and travels.
Chantelle's Cloak (cover)
 The Girl Who Turned Into Treacle
Walker Books also has notes on my books and each time I write a poetry technique so it’s often a good idea to look here also.
My poetry appraisal/mentoring will contain feedback on what makes a poem stand out from the crowd, how to continue writing, where ideas for poems come from, tools that poets use, how to make a few words sparkle and dance, and suggestions for reading poetry, too.
The winner will email me their poem of up to 15 lines (non rhyming and double spaced) for comment.
I will also provide a copy of one of my poetry collections A Ute Picnic and Other Australian Poems, and I’ll include some suggestions on how to pattern a poem from some of mine in the book.
A Ute Picnic (cover)
Children who have had poetry published in the Write On! section of a 2012 issue of Alphabet Soup are in the running for this fantastic prize. These children will be entered automatically. We will announce the winner on Friday and will contact the winner directly.
If you’d like to submit your story or poem for possible publication in a 2013 issue of the magazine, read the submission guidelines on our website.
authors, info

What to Write About (Dee White)

Dee White (photo)Yesterday we announced the Alphabet Soup Creativity Award—for outstanding work published in Alphabet Soup magazine in 2012. Today we welcome Dee White to share some ideas for what to write about, and to tell us about the prize she has donated for the winner in the Most Outstanding Story category.

Over to Dee!

A House Can Tell A Story

There are so many potential stories hidden inside your home.

You just have to use your imagination and look for them.

  1. What if you opened a drawer and found a secret letter hidden there?
  2. What if something in your house came to life and started chasing you or wanted to be your friend?
  3. What if your house could talk and told you a story about the people who used to live there before you did?
  4. What if your house got blown away like Dorothy’s in The Wizard of Oz and you ended up somewhere completely different?
  5. What if there was a treasure chest hidden in your garden?
  6. What if there was a secret compartment in the wall of your bedroom and it led to another world?

One of my favourite things to do when I can’t think what to write about is to look around a room in my house and pick an object. It could be a wall, a door, a light switch, anything.

Next I imagine what it would be like to be that object sitting there day after day. I think about what that object can see and do and how it might feel. Then I write a piece about it.

It’s fun to do this with a writing friend and see if they can guess which object in the room you are writing about.

This excerpt is from Dee’s new e-book, 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids: What to Write About.

Dee is donating a free copy of this book and one hour’s mentoring (a manuscript appraisal) to the winner of the Most Outstanding Story category of the 2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award.

Here’s how it works.

The winner will send a 500-word piece of writing to Dee. If it’s part of a longer story they’ll need to also send in a plot summary or information about what happens in the rest of the story. Dee will give tips on how to improve the piece of writing and the winner’s skills in general. She’ll also answer questions they might have about the piece or writing in general.


10 Top Writing Tips for kids
10 Top Writing Tips For Kids by Dee White

Dee has written this series to encourage and inspire kids who love to write. 10 Top Writing Tips for Kids: What to Write About was released in November 2012.

Other books in the series coming in 2013 are:

  • 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids – Heroes and Villains
  • 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids – Want to Be a Writer?
  • 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids – Make Your Writing Sparkle

More about the 10 Top Writing Tips books can be found at


Letters to Leonardo (cover)
Letters to Leonardo (Dee’s Young Adult book)


Dee White has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist, but wanted to be an author from the time she was seven. Her first book for young adults, Letters to Leonardo, took more than ten years to research and write. Dee’s other titles include Hope for Hanna, A Duel of Words and Harry’s Goldfield  Adventure.

Hope for Hanna (cover)Harry's Goldfield Adventure

A duel of words (cover)Dee is passionate about encouraging young readers and writers, and her blogs Writing Classes for Kids and DeeScribe Writing are full of career and writing tips for students and new and emerging writers.

She runs writing workshops for primary and secondary students across Australia with sessions focusing on story ideas, plotting and character development. She also runs them online at Writing Classes for Kids.

She is honoured to be providing the prize for the inaugural Alphabet Soup Creativity Award, and hopes that it will help encourage young writers.

For more information on the 2012 Alphabet Soup Creativity Award, visit the Award page (there’s a tab at the top of this blog).

Excerpt from 10 Top Writing Tips for Kids: What to Write About © Dee White 2012.
info, poetry

Alphabet Soup Creativity Award

We love reading all the work you send us and we really love publishing it, too. Sometimes we’re blown away by the amazing stuff we find in our inbox and our post office box. And that’s why we are thrilled to be announcing the inaugural ALPHABET SOUP CREATIVITY AWARD.

Prizes will be awarded in three categories:

Most outstanding story

Most outstanding poem

Most outstanding artwork

If you are a child who had work published in the magazine this year, you are automatically in the running for this Award. (This excludes the winning pieces in the writing or design-a-cover-competitions).

The prizes:

Most outstanding story—the winner will receive $50.00*, an ebook by Dee White, and a manuscript appraisal (professional feedback) from Dee White on a 500-word story they have written (not necessarily the story that was published in Alphabet Soup).

Most outstanding poem—the winner will receive $50.00*, a book of poetry by Lorraine Marwood, and a poetry appraisal (professional feedback) from Lorraine Marwood on an unrhymed poem up to 15 lines written by the winner (not necessarily the poem that was published in Alphabet Soup).

Most outstanding artwork—the winner will receive $50.00*, a book by James Foley, and an illustration appraisal (professional feedback) from James Foley on a piece of artwork (not necessarily the artwork published in Alphabet Soup).

You’ll hear more about these people and the prizes this week, starting on Monday. And on Friday we’ll announce the winners here on the blog. (If you are a winner, we will also notify you personally.)

Read more about the award (including some fine print) on the Alphabet Soup Creativity Award page.

*$50.00 cash for each category is courtesy of The Book Chook. (Thank you!)