Illustrated Story Contest

The Chicago Children’s Theatre is sponsoring an Illustrated Story Contest that is open to entrants 15 years old or younger who can create an original story and illustration…

I just caught wind of this contest from an art educators group.
The deadline is Feb. 17, 2012
but that’s still enough time to use it as a short-term homeschool assignment.

“The Houdini Box,” is a brand-new musical adapted from Brian Selznick’s first book, the story of a boy who receives a mysterious box that may unlock the secrets of Harry Houdini.  The new musical is written by Hannah Kohl and directed at Chicago Children’s Theatre by the formidable visual storyteller Blair Thomas.

So here’s a chance to win some great prizes by entering a story writing contest — and the prizes are really nice!

Tell your “writers” about this story contest through the Chicago Children’s Theatre.  Brian Selznick, who wrote the children’s book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which is the source for “Hugo,” one of the more prominent holiday movies,  and also wrote “The Houdini Box,” will be judging.

The actual entry area is here. (Or scroll down for more info.)

The Houdini Box: Chicago

January 24-March 4, 2012
Recommended for ages 5 and up

The Mercury Theatre, 773.325.1700, 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago

Directed by Blair Thomas. Book and Lyrics by Hannah Kohl, Music by Mark Messing. Based on the book THE HOUDINI BOX written and illustrated by Brian Selznick, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Brought to life right before your eyes by actors, musicians, and puppets, sure to thrill and surprise. As famed escape artist Harry Houdini circles the globe performing one incredible stunt after another, Victor, a young devotee goes through his own rigorous magician’s training – locking himself in closets, holding his breath under water and walking into walls.  After a chance encounter with his hero, Victor receives a special box that just might contain the secrets of Houdini’s great success.  BUY TICKETS

This is what the Contest entry page says:

In The Houdini Box, Victor has the good fortune to meet his hero, the
magician Harry Houdini. They meet entirely by accident, and because
of this accidental meeting, Victor learns a secret that changes his life.

Who is your hero? What do you think you could learn from him or her?


Part 1: Write a fictional story in which you meet your real-life hero.
Make sure you answer the following questions in your story:

Why is this person your hero?
Where do you meet?
What does your hero say or give to you?
How does this change your life?
Part 2: Create an illustration that shows the most important moment in
your story.

Draw, color, sketch, paint, collage —-– create the picture however you
want!  Both physical and digital artwork is welcomed.

Contest Rules:

Entrants must be 15 years old or younger as of February 17, 2012.
Stories must be no more than 500 words, and an original work created
solely by the entrant.
Illustration must an original work created solely by the entrant
Entries may be submitted on a separate piece of paper, or online (see
Stories must be postmarked no later than February 17, 2012, and/or
received at Chicago Children’s Theatre’s administrative office by 5 pm
CST, Monday, February, 17, 2012.
Limit one (1) entry per person.
Entries may be submitted in one of three ways:
Online – submit your entry via the Chicago Children’s Theatre website:
Via email – either embedded (preferred) or as an attachment. Send
Via mail or delivery to: Chicago Children’s Theatre, Administrative
Offices, 1464 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60622
Note: receipt of entries will not be acknowledged.



Chicago Children’s Theatre’s education staff will review all entries
and select 20 finalists.

Brian Selznick, author of the book The Houdini Box, will review the
top 20 finalists and select five winners.

Five winners (only) will be personally notified and announced on Chicago
Children’s Theatre’s website February 24, 2012.


One Grand Prize Winner will be awarded:

1 Copy of each The Houdini Box, The Invention of Hugo Cabret,
and Wonderstruck, all signed by author Brian Selznick

1 Party Package of 10 tickets to the Houdini Birthday Bash at North
Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie on March 17th at 2:00pm

1 $250.00 ‘Box of Magic’ from Magic Inc. (5082 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago)

Four First Prize Winners will be awarded:

1 Copy of the book The Houdini Box, autographed by author Brian Selznick

1 Party Package of 4 tickets to the Houdini Birthday Bash at North Shore
Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie on March 17th at 2:00pm

So get your young writer/illustrators started.
If nothing else, it’s a cool little assignment!


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