ICBG Writing Competition – Results

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Date(s) - 10/02/2022 - 30/04/2022
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Ipswich Children’s Book Group are delighted to announce the winners of our recent writing competition and to share their stories with you.

We were very pleased to be able to work with Beverley Birch, a local, highly regarded and experienced author and editor, on a Suffolk-wide writing competition – A Special Place … to celebrate the paperback publication of her latest novel Song Beneath The Tides. In this Beverley used her experiences of a childhood in Africa to create an evocative and a resonant sense of place. Young people were invited to think about their special place and to transport readers there by writing about it.

The competition was open to pupils in two age categories, 8-11 years and 12 years+ attending a Suffolk school. The wonderful prizes included critiques of their writing by Beverley, signed books from Beverley’s publisher Guppy Books and, for the overall winners, a £150 Dial Lane Books voucher for each of their schools.

We would like to thank everyone who entered, plus the teachers who encouraged them to do so. The winning entries can be read below and they can also be seen on display for a short while at Dial Lane Books in Ipswich, along with copies of Beverley’s book, as well as others from the Guppy Books list.

More information about Ipswich Children’s Book Group can be found on our Facebook Book page, Twitter and Instagram.

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12 + AGE GROUP


12+ WINNER
Solitude by Sophie. Age 16
St. Alban’s Catholic High School, Ipswich.

A frown had bored into the moon’s face far before Emmi padded below it, but when he looked up at it for assurance, it’s grimace seemed as if it was personally for him. The white socks decorating the tips of his paws sank into the bitter cold embrace of the snow beneath him as he lowered his nose to sniff at the forest floor, biting back the sensitivity on his whiskers in the name of dinner. Dinner did not come. Dinner would not come. There was no trace of life here either, he couldn’t remember where the other critters that inhabited the area had scurried off to, but nobody had come back for him – let alone even acknowledged that he had been forgotten. Nobody noticed. He knew that. The moon had been his closest friend since everyone left, keeping a close eye on him as he slept exposed to nature’s unforgiving hands, and providing him with a shrub or two to nibble on; not exactly a meal, but it was food in his stomach that hadn’t been there before. Now, it felt as if the moon had too turned its back on him.

Something about tonight was off. The usual sense of isolation and closeness with the moon was tainted somehow, by something or someone. Somewhere, beneath the tree’s looming grasp on the ground and shadow blanket, a pair of eyes were fixed on him. It seemed that the ancient croaks and groans that the stick figures had been echoing out were merely a mask to hide the creature staring back at him: its body obscured by the hues of charcoal that had managed to escape the moonlight. Oh. The moon was on the enemy’s side.

Shielding the silence between the pair, the wind’s whispered secrets swept back and forth, beckoning a naive ear to listen – almost tempting Emmi to tear his gaze away from those eyes that appeared to be getting closer by the second. Almost. He could see it properly now: Its bones and the thin layer of skin that held them together, its sunken eyes and the mats of snow that were laced into its fur. Cuts and scars brandished its meek body, acting as convictions rather than trophies – assuring it was forever ashamed rather than proud. Closer up, its eyes no longer withheld malice, instead entrancing Emmi with the misery within them.

How the thing had even got out here, let alone survived the journey, was truly a mystery. Its black fur against the snow resembled a thorn among roses, and it was certainly in no shape for combat, but Emmi supposed that his red fur wasn’t exactly ideal either. Whatever the case, he guessed that it, too, had been forgotten – abandoned, one may say. This soul was of no harm, and so he felt his own paws guiding him towards the other. Briefly noting the shake in its legs, he watched its ears tip down in question, before it let out a sudden string of yowls and cries that he couldn’t understand. He just couldn’t understand, or maybe he had been alone so long that he had forgotten how to.

Its outburst had chased away the quiet like a rabbit in headlights, and yet it had been for nothing at all. He wished he could call it more than ‘it,’ but he supposed that’s all someone becomes when they are tossed out, just an ‘it’ in a crowd of other ‘its’ trying to find their way. This cat’s name had left when its owner had, and it was back to being nobody again. In some strange way, he wondered if he could be more than just an ‘it’ to this cat, so at least somebody remembered him when he was gone – so that he could die knowing that somebody might be waiting for him. Perhaps it was a foolish thought to have.

It had taken no offense to Emmi’s silence, and instead gently rubbed its body against him, before nestling amongst the snow beside his feet. This time, when it looked up at him, he could’ve sworn he saw more than just misery in those eyes, maybe it was a hint of trust, or maybe he was just squinting too hard. The truth wasn’t important anymore, and the moon watched as Emmi curled up next to the creature with the delusion that maybe he was right – and though the snow clung to his fur like leeches to skin, he had never felt this warm before.

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12+ RUNNER-UP
My Special Place by Michelle. Age 12
Ipswich School.

In the distance, in the mist, my special place that only I know of lies. Caved in by a myriad of monstrous trees. No man apart from me has set foot in it. In the centre, like a dome, a vast amount of sunlight shines down through. My secret place may be surrounded by trees but inside tells a different story…

Mythical animals trot around, not bothering me or my thoughts. The animals are all wild but soft in nature. My animal friend is Rose, my loyal unicorn. Being embraided with love, her wings soft and sleek, a rich soft, angelic white. Her mane a colour red like velvet blood, shimmering in the sunlight. Her eyes a shiny emerald colour full of passion and her lips a cherry rose. Her fur white like snow, ears so diminutive yet could hear the slightest noise. Her call so unique and as special as every star in the universe put together.

Of course, it is not just the monumental trees scattered around everywhere, plants lay there as well. Elegant flowers rising high, their pollen so strong and natural. They attracted a plethora of bees every day. The flower that stood out the most to me was the dandelion, as I could whisper my wishes and set them free, all by one blow of the seeds. The way how the small white feathers would land softly on my cheeks, the way how in the wind the seeds would flutter around like fairies. The grass was thick and green like a fresh can of green paint. There were umpteen apple trees, the apples big red and juicy. Just one bite could fill your mouth with pleasure and make you desire for more. That one bite could transport you into a whole another Universe of sweet angelic taste. As well as apple trees, there were mango trees. The mangoes were big and fat, mixed with red, green and yellow. They gave out the best scent that attracts all the animals. The let-down was the orange trees, the oranges let out bitter tastes that were so strong. It would burn your lips in an excruciating way, and make your tongue feel swollen with bitterness.

In the Summer, my special place would look as joyful as ever. With numerous butterflies everywhere. The most common, the common Butterfly! The most appealing to my eye was the peacock butterfly, with its beautiful features. The way the colours blend with the bottom being a gloomy grey. At the bottom sides of the butterfly there would be a circle with blue and white swirls; at the top sides there would be a black spot with something like a splatter of red ink in the middle. It had white dashes that looked like new paint and the rest of the feeble body was dark moody red.

In mid-Winter all the trees’ leaves would turn white and the ground would turn into a glowing sapphire colour. The night would come quicker than the day starts. The night sky would be filled with glorious lights and stars, billions of them. The stars would light up the whole place giving everything a small glow. Making some of the simple things have intricate looks.

Far away in the mist, a place mixed with my imagination and reality lays my special place, that only I know of. Full of nothing but perfection. 

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12+ HIGHLY COMMENDED
A Special Place by Beau. Age 12
Ipswich School.

Can you take the time to really stop and think about a special place where everyone is ‘really’ equal. Not where some people are more equal than others but a place where you are not judged by the colour of your skin, your culture, your status, the music you listen to, your hair style, your accent, your religion, where you were born, your profession or how much you earn. Now that would be a really special place.

That would be my special place, a place where people aren’t surprised when I tell them I play violin, where I don’t have to constantly think about being judged differently because of the colour of my skin and my mum doesn’t have to work harder than everyone else and people look at me and my Dad and can see the similarities and not the differences.

A special place would be anywhere that I wasn’t judged or treated differently, it could be a shop where I’m not followed around the aisles or being able to go into an expensive jeweller without being asked lots of questions or not being stared at in a posh fancy restaurant or as I queue in first class to board a plane.

This special place would make me feel valued and loved by everyone and I wouldn’t have to worry about the things I worry about every day.

This special place would look like the most amazing sunset or sunrise, the most beautiful turquoise sea, the lushest green forest, it would smell like the freshest baked bread, the most fragrant red rose, it would feel like bouncing between clouds, the softest rug beneath my feet, the cosiest blanket to snuggle in and it would taste like the most decadent chocolate cake (dairy free of course).

My special place can really exist, we just all have to be understanding and accepting of everyone we meet, and everyone needs to stop judging each other and we need to challenge stereotypes. We all need to be able to embrace difference and treat each other with dignity and respect. We need to want to learn about each other’s differences and accept that everyone should be able to have this special place.

My special place lives in my heart and in my head, it lives in my actions and in my thoughts. It drives me every day in everything I do and everything I say. I want to make my special place part of the real world, where every day we can all feel safe and secure wherever we are and with anyone. I would like everyone to want to have a special place like mine and be committed to making a real difference to the world we live in.

When I close my eyes at night and my head rests on my pillow, I go to my special place where all my dreams become reality and the whole world is equal and I’m sittng with my friends who are all very different and we are laughing and having fun together with no worries and no concerns and we really are the same, we are one race, the human race.

Now that really is a special place. 

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12+ HIGHLY COMMENDED
A Special Place by Souparno. Age 12
Ipswich School.

Magic. It’s more than just a word. It’s a gem of unlimited hope. I am Colt Davis. I am your usher to a wonderful place where your imagination is unleashed. Travel with me and be so bold as to look out on this hidden world. And study the inquiry WHAT IF MAGIC STILL EXISTS …?

The place I am talking about is called Tara’s Bazaar because it was created by Tara the Great. It is a town of tiny huts and tall walls, which separate the three different types of magicians – Rammers- who use their magic to increase their physical strength, Rooters- who use their magic to turn into trees from humans to maintain the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen and the Sorcerers- who use magic in its purest form. The town had hidden passageways built anywhere and everywhere, and there were barrels full of magical tarot cards dotted around the streets, magic carpets were the only transport option so they were flying and whizzing around all day long, and the employees of Gene’s Lamporium, a shop where you can buy magical lamps, worked monotonously on and on, like the head of an elephant in a state of sad insanity.

Sorry, bad metaphor. On a normal day it would be dry and sandy due to the desert location, no wind if you don’t count the frequent sandstorms, strong odours of dirty sweaty clothes and blue genie dust would make anyone cover their nose. Smelly camel fur makes people go into a fit of violent coughs and sneezes but the smell of fresh bread from the bakery shop is at the top of it all, seizing the attention of any passers- by, and persuading them to spend precious money, since they didn’t even have enough money to buy some meat and fish, on the golden loaves of bread fresh from the magic- powered oven, since electricity is not used there. As soon as it gets dark the magical lights are turned on using light sensors.

The weather was unpredictable as there were bright hot days in winter and cold snowy days in summer. Snakes were the most common pet. At noon people would desperately try to find shelter from the merciless sun, they would slip inside quickly through the wooden door of the huts, though not quickly enough to prevent a severe sunburn. However, Tara the Great, the founder of Tara’s Bazaar, had caused a whole solar eclipse just because the day was too warm. The people there have adapted to this ability and have passed it down generation after generation. So the next tme you see a solar eclipse, you will know who caused it. Once inside people would use their precognitive third eyes to see when it would be safe to go back outside and if they were really bored, they could even use one of their three wishes from the household genie to pass the time. On the walls you could expect various moving posters of various shops such as The Flying Mattress, where you could buy- well- flying mattresses, to be hung up, the huts’ walls were small and the posters were big so they would cover up most of the wall.

An average, middle aged person there will be about four foot tall, overweight, due to them consuming as much food as they could when food was available, and very hairy but, not to brag, also handsome like me. The richest people there, which there were only five or ten of, might have a terrace but could only get there by conjuring up invisible stairs from out of nowhere. If you’re thinking why they don’t just conjure up a lift or an escalator, that is because most of them don’t even know what those are. There were no schools in the town so they would have to go to the neighbouring one on a flying mattress.

I think this place is so special because you get to meet new people. You meet new people anywhere you go, but the experience is different there because all kinds of people live there with all kinds of different magical powers. If you have lived there for ten years or more, chances are that you still do not know it very well because there are new magical activities to do every day. The transportation system there, flying mattresses, is a good alternative to driving, which is probably the transportation choice for most of you and dealing with the traffic and parking situation. The biggest magic events such as El Primo’s wrestling event, Poco’s guitar concert, Rico’s ball pit festival and Gale’s snow art openings happen there. The main thing that can be very comforting there with such few people from different magical backgrounds is that everyone is sharing the same experience as you and will always be there for you.

Well, I know that it’s not the most magical of places but it’s the only place with even a little bit of magic left. But now, I hope that you understand the full meaning of the word magic. It might not seem like it at first but the citizens of that place still value magic. My name is Colt Davis and I thank you for letting me usher you through this special place.

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12+ HIGHLY COMMENDED
A Special Place by Vienna. Age 13
Chantry Academy Ipswich.

I had always been jealous of Alice and her Wonderland. Green with envy. 

It’s stupid really, how a real, breathing person can be so covetous of a fictional being that exists purely in the letters and pages of a book. But how could I not be? Alice had a land so mystical, so mysterious, so utterly different from the boring life she led. The world had animals that could speak, cakes and drinks that make you grow smaller or taller and people so unorthodox and enchanting; it made it so very hard not to be jealous. 

How come Alice got to escape from her dreadful life and I got stuck in place with mine?

“Katherine! Get down here now!” What did I do now? Get less than an A* on my schoolwork. 

Slowly, I slunk out of my chair and began to walk the long walk to the living room in which my parents lurked like snakes, ready to sink their venomous fangs into my mind and skin. The golden gleam from the lights only made the winding hallways seem that much more mocking. It emphasised all the paintings and vases and other expensive trinkets my parents bought without leaving a single dent in their bank accounts. All the money in the world and yet they still couldn’t be bothered to converse with their daughter, well unless you count the yelling and the words of disappointment. 

As I neared the entrance to the vast room, I took notice of the fact that my father was sitting down in his velvet chair, wine glass in hand. That was good, when he drank he was more likely to let things slip and I could get away scot-free, but that was when he was alone. 

With a deep breath, I stepped into the room, hands placed behind my back and eyes staring straight ahead, good posture was everything in this household. Upon hearing my footsteps, my mother spun on her heel sharply, eyes blazing furiously. Her dark brown hair was placed perfectly in a bun, not a single stray stand out of order, her pursed lips were painted in a crimson lipstick and her navy blue dress was glorious. 

“Katherine,” She began, gritting her teeth, “Why did I receive a call from your school saying you were suspended because you broke a girl’s nose?” 

“Oh.”

I had forgotten all about that. 

“Oh? OH?” She hissed, “Is that all you have to say!?” I didn’t even attempt to answer her, there was no point, she would just say that I was back chatting her. 

Her amber eyes grew brighter with rage, “You’re not going to say anything? How cowardly.” 

I sighed; I was nearing the end of my patience already.

“You are such a disgrace to this family.”

And with that my patience ran out completely. 

Silently, I turned and began to stride in the direction of my room, ignoring the enraged screams of my mother. I really couldn’t be bothered to deal with her and her tantrums today. As I went past a large window from the corner of my eyes I could see a wave of fog rising from the depths of the forests that surrounded the mansion and I grinned. 

I changed my route and darted out into the cool dusk air and straight into the darkening forest. 

I had always been jealous of Alice and her Wonderland but now I had a land so much better. 

A land full of creatures and ghouls of all monstrous kinds, a land full of tricks of the mind and hallways that go on forever, a land for the insane to thrive. The further I went the more distorted it all became, the trees started to have faces and their branches moved, ominous sounds echoed from every direction. 

Two people with odd masks passed by in the distance I smiled. Watchers watch and Snatchers snatch. 

Tricksters of all kinds lived here, Watchers, Snatchers, Smilers, Frowners, Criers, hell even the monsters under the beds and in the wardrobes. They all lived in the Inbetween, a place hidden between the structures of time and reality. 

Who needs a Wonderland when you have an Inbetween? I certainly don’t.

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8 -11 AGE GROUP

 

8 – 11 WINNER
My Quiet Place: The River by James. Age 11
Thurston Community College, Ipswich.

As I paddle along the beautiful river, the birds sing their symphony that echoes softly through the towering trees. The river entwines all nature: the leaves, the trees and the weeds. Without all this, nature would be like a body without a soul. Pond-skaters and dragonflies make ripples in the murky water. That same ripple in an ocean of waves washes over the small tufts of weeds that emerge out of the water.

We paddleboard on the river, me and my family, pointing things out. In the windy weather the trees sway violently, as if in a night club. The river expands and shrinks the further we go. Be careful not to be stung by the stinging nettles!! Wildflowers bloom next to the riverbed. Lilies grow and wildlife numbers blossom. The park warden makes sure of this. Many waterfalls, incuts and weirs can be seen along our voyage.

Swirling clouds, which are white and fluffy tumble overhead as if in a contest with one another. Pick of all shapes, sizes and species swim swiftly through the weedy, murky water. Pausing for a moment I hear the sweet, soft call of the birds, the gentle, low croaks from the frogs and the grasshoppers’ buzzing. Little streams come and join the river through little cracks in the rocks and steppingstones lie over them for the walkers to go on a lovely stroll. The tide moves in and out with the flow of the sea. So, here we are now, coming back from our adventure into the warm. The wind is on our backs as if we are the sail, pushing us along.

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8 – 11 RUNNER-UP
The Winter Woods by Joshua. Age 8
Gorseland Primary School, Ipswich.

I could make out howling around me, I turn to look every few moments expecting
to see a pack of wolves hungry for blood, but it’s just the whistling wind. The branches creak in the breeze brushing snowflakes to the ground. The freezing snow tickles my frozen face as I write down on a soggy piece of paper. The smell was like bitter snow and dank cloth that has been left out all Christmas. As I lean back on my numb hands, I dream of being in front of a toasty fire on a crimson-coloured warm rug, until I finally hear a light rustle as the last shrivelled leaf falls to the ground. “It’s winter now” I mutter to myself sadly. Frost covers my ears as it gets colder by the second. The trees were hidden in snow except for the bottom of the great oaks trunks which has damp moss on instead. The undersides of the branches were growing icicles drooping down. There were two branches in particular which looked like arms, they were overhanging the snow below casting an eerie shadow of gloom on the ground. A full moon appears as the black clouds drift away, it shines a ghastly, ominous glow on the floor of snow as I look up to see what to write about next. The ground was laden with forked trees acting like snake tongues sticking out taking in its surrounding details. The snow hurtled down covering tiny animal footprints trailing off into the unknown. There was an opening not far off with what used to be a stagnant swampy lake but is now just a dip with a rock-solid block of ice. Its reflection off the moon was so bright I would be able to see it on even the darkest night. The murky clouds were closing in further, the snow stopped having the twinkling sparkle as it did before. As I looked up again (because I had now finished my poem) I then realised that I forgot which way I came. I thought to myself that in here North could be South and East could be West. Now I was starting to panic, what if I could never get out. Then all of a sudden, I noticed a vile smell, as I looked up to see what it was, it flabbergasted me to see bones leading up to the smell there where: leg bones, ankle bones, a cracked skull and lots more gory things. When I saw what it was, I froze, it was a rotted skeleton laid up against a tree with rats crawling through its eye sockets. I couldn’t bare it anymore; it was then that I did what all people would do…

SCREAM!!!

The Winter woods a dead, abandoned place.

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8 – 11 RUNNER-UP
A Special Place by Lucy. Age 11
Ipswich School.

I have a special place.  It is my portal from a world of chaos into my own personal space, where I can reflect and be peaceful.  Only my family can see the beauty, joy and many happy moments that are shared with them in my special place.  No one can tarnish the happiness it brings.  My journey to my special place is not far to travel, I do not need to take a plane or a boat…. it is my own garden.

In the Summer, the ground is luscious green, the sun turns the tips of the grass emerald, every blade a precious jewel. I bask in dappled sunlight without a care in the world. The rhubarb stands proud and tall, and the birds softly sing, darting in and out of nesting boxes. Plump strawberries are picked and devoured with only the pink juice staining my fingers remaining.  I gorge myself on the garden bounty.

In the Autumn, toadstools form a fairy ring and the crimson and golden leaves are crisp under my feet. The blackberries and raspberries are ripe and the juicy flavours explode in my mouth. The apples are sweet. Even sweeter when I make toffee apples or the most delicious apple crumble, smothered in a generous dollop of creamy custard! Spider’s webs are embedded with beads of dew that glisten in the breeze and sparkle like diamonds.

Even covered with a thick blanket of snow, the garden is a wonderful place to be. A Winter wonderland brings fun such as snowball fights and building a family of quirky snowmen. We dare not use anything edible to decorate our snow creations as my dog once demolished the entire snowman to devour a tasty treat! The trees – though bare- have icicles on their gnarled branches and a coat of frost on their trunk.  Sometimes, an inquisitive robin curiously hops towards the house and peers through the window before swiftly flying away.

My favourite time in the garden is Spring, as the cherry tree is covered in pale and delicate candy floss blossoms, its beauty frail and temporary. The sun begins to emerge, cautiously rising with the cover of a cloud. The flowers are buds, desperately trying to bloom. We tiptoe out from the depths of Winter to once again sit outside and share meals together as the weather is less treacherous. I sit by the glow of a fire and watch the dancing flames. My garden is my special, favourite place.

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8 – 11 HIGHLY COMMENDED
Crystal Cave: My Story by Ellen. Age 11
St. Benedict’s Catholic School, Ipswich.

All was quiet.

All was pitch black.

All surrounded me, as if there was nothing else to fill the empty nothingness. I wandered through it, the vast walls catapulting back the echo of my tapping footsteps, making them sound so much scarier than normal. The humid air formed pinpricks of sweat on my pale cheeks; they ended up trickling down my face into my quivering lips, filling my insides with a salty bitterness, reminding me of the ocean.

However airless it was, something foreboding sent a shock of shivers down my spine, like a zap of electricity, like a warning signal- it was only later when I dwelled on the thought that I realised it must have been the fear of the unknown. The craggy stone floor lead only onwards and let off the smell of puddles after a heavy rain.

As my eyes very gradually started to adjust to the little light, I started to see the jagged, intimidating stalagmites and stalactites growing either side of me, like a monster’s jaws protruding out of the roots of its mouth. I think it was this thought that willed me to scamper off away from them, the thought that the cave would swallow me up…

Then I stopped.

And stared.

And gazed.

I’d run into the deepest section of the hole-like cave. But to me, it wasn’t hole-like anymore. I could finally see fully again, the humidity had gone, and there was a faint smell of some sort of beautiful, flowery honey. And the jaws had gone too. Because in front of me, was a maze of wonderfully glistening crystals. They all seemed to be in different clusters but nevertheless, they were not all the same. They ranged through a wide variety of sizes and shapes for sure: some looked as if they were too fragile to be touched while others must have been at least 5 feet tall and 6 inches thick! And, oh joy, the colours! There must have been over 30 rainbows worth of vibrant magentas and sky blues and scarlet reds and deep violets!

I don’t know whether it was because my heart had certainly leapt rather a few beats or whether it was the utter shock of finding a hidden labyrinth in a hole of inky emptiness, but my brain started whirring and buzzing in a deep sort of confusion, making me fatigued and oddly faint. I ended up perching on one of the largest crystallography (crystals) only to find that it was unusually warm, which sent homely kind of vibration up my spine and into my veins.

And yet, I hadn’t spotted the most beautiful spectre in the cave.

Then I did.

Amongst the fairy-tale-like crystallography, almost hidden, were tiny

glow-worms attached to the walls, letting off fireworks of golden light.

Only then did I realise that deep beyond darkness was a light of hope in

everything. Especially in such a special place.

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8 – 11 HIGHLY COMMENDED
The Overgrown by Esme. Age 10
St. Helen’s Primary School, Ipswich.

You can only visit this place with one key.
You close your eyes, just like drawing curtains in the sunset’s half-light.
You see moles’ breath rocks. Emerald vines twist over forgotten crystal
caves. Dreamily, the lake’s surface bounces and dances like a fair maiden.
Sounds dance into your ears and birds soar, unbound and untied.  The
smell of moss and dew mingles with the forgotten smell of mysterious
fruits.

“Hello?” That is you calling. Can you hear that slight echo?
Take two steps into this heaven. Can you hear your feet crunching on the
gravel? If you lay on your back, the gravel doesn’t hurt. Swans’ wings flap
delicately, as a warm breeze you in a summer cloak. Dancing particles
float around the flaming orb. The sun. Can you see it? It’s beautifully
majestic. I can hear the gentle flap of a ladybird taking flight. Be free!

The curved edges of leaves hide a forgotten temple that reminds
me of Ancient Greece – a conundrum and a puzzle. Tentatively,
I creep over the trapped tiles, and sweep past crushing pillars,
which are begging for liberty. Upon observation, the roof is
crafted from the finest Greek imagery, cemented by memories.
I wonder: ‘Is there anyone alarmed enough to hide here?’
The sky bleeds colours and statues whine under the pressure.
Onwards, I move – onwards…

Can you feel the heartbeat of the evolving stars, which are the colour of flaxen? Can you taste the thickness of the twisting air? Celestial visions circle in the warm atmosphere, while I observe, patiently and silently. I am thinking about the word ‘overgrown‘…  a forgotten growth mindset. Or a growth of character.   I have grown, grasping this forgotten dream – becoming tangled with topaz vines and amethyst berries, and using them to pull me back to a standing level in life.

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8 – 11 HIGHLY COMMENDED
A Special Place by Daniel. Age 10
Causton Junior School, Felixstowe.

Icy, quiet, damp, the roofed, cold forest wailed in the strong, sickening wind and footprints marked the rough landscape like a stampede of angry wolves. He picked up his speed as the snow got harder and the thunder got louder. Great gushes of blinding wind pushed him into the freezing lake as if the boy got kicked by someone. Rain poured down so sharply that his hands began to bleed as he crawled out of the icy liquid. In the distance, you could see the ruins of the burnt, crumbled houses and the shadows of the cursed, screaming ghosts.

Ice rained down like hard, painful rocks then landed like a crash. The boy would soon stop running as his legs were tired enough, but something told him to keep on running. The thunder roared with anger and the lightning struck the defenseless trees with ease. He was now filled with absolute fear that his legs got slower and slower, and the wind howled constantly.

The sun began to rise and every single sound disappeared as the brutal storm stopped into nothing like swing of a finger. Suddenly flowers began to bloom. In amazement the boy stopped running as the very thing that was chasing him was no more and all that was left was peace. Snow melted and you could smell the damp, wet grass scatted everywhere across the forest ground. Creatures dug out of their burrows and birds began to sing happy songs for winter was now over! And those burnt down ruins of destruction was now filled with happy, cheerful spirits, for spring had come now and you could feel the warmth of the sun and the beautiful breeze of the wind, as this was a new beginning… 

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8 – 11 HIGHLY COMMENDED
A Special Place by Lillie. Age 10
Causton Junior School, Felixstowe.

Icy. Bright. Soundless. The world around her seemed almost invisible. It felt like a never-ending sea to Grace, a never-ending sleep. The moon shone like a lightbulb fizzing with electricity. Snow carefully lay on top of the soft, shiny balloon. Everything turned dark purples, blues and pinks. You could feel the clouds. As Grace went up and up, the wind got more furious and fiercer. The warm, fluffy clouds gave Grace butterflies in her stomach. As the wind picked up, she felt her throat get tighter and tighter. The sky was like an angel drifting into different colours. Almost pitch black, she stumbled to her feet. Curiosity, fright and tiredness filled her mind

As the bridge got further and further away, she felt her heartbeat faster and faster every second. Grace reached her hand out to feel the fluffy clouds but instead she only felt rain. Up above the balloon, thunder, lightning crashed down like boulders. Sun was nowhere. Clouds gone. Nothing. Just her and her thoughts.

Suddenly hail came raining down. It felt like grace had been put in her worst nightmare. Fear and fright began to rise up in her throat. Snow fell down like feathers falling from a great distance. Finally, Grace fell into a deep, sweet dream. When she woke up, the sunlight beamed into her eyes. The sky mixed with rainbows (again). She felt safe. Everything that she had remembered, here, she was here again. The sound of cars zooming across the bridge, the fluffy clouds, everything was just like before. As she flew up and down, she felt relaxed for the first time in forever.

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Beverley Birch and two winners of the Ipswich children's Book group writing competition

Author Beverley Birch with two of the entrants from the ICBG Writing Competition.


Winner of ipswich childrens book group writing competition

Winner of the 12+ age group, Sophie.

Competition supported by Dial Lane Books, Ipswich and publisher Guppy Books