The Communication Agency

Celebrating 10 years of publishing young authors

A group of young writers aged 9 to 13 have published a new book, joining a team of accomplished authors and illustrators who have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Starship Foundation over the past decade.

Triumphs, Twists and Tasty Treats’, the 10th annual children’s book from Barfoot & Thompson’s Young Authors Challenge, was launched last night at a special red-carpet celebration in Auckland.

The book can now be bought for $20 at and from Barfoot & Thompson branches.

Written for children by children, all proceeds from book sales will benefit the Starship Foundation through Barfoot & Thompson’s Magic of Reading programme, which provides books for children who stay overnight in Starship hospital, to read there and also take home.

This year’s competition attracted a record 2,240 entries from students across Auckland and Northland, each vying for an opportunity that many adults can only dream of – to become published authors.

Only 10 stories could be chosen for the book, with judging based on their plot development, positive messaging and the use of a theme. The winning writers were then mentored through their final edits by accomplished children’s authors Maria Gill and John Parker, before the final drafts were handed over to Kiwi artists to bring them to life.

The result was 10 positive and inspiring stories for young readers, including cautionary environmental tales, and stories of strength and self-belief.

Supreme winner Juliet Curwood, from Somerville Intermediate School in Howick, collected top honours for her story about cookies so delectably described that you can almost smell them as you read. Coming first means illustrations of her story, by rugby star Keven Mealamu, will feature on the front cover.

Other winning stories include:

  • Roaring Lion by Michelle Kenyon, Oratia District School, illustrated by Sophie Findlay
  • Speak Up – Soccer Star by Charlotte Muir, Patumahoe School, illustrated by Tracey van Lent
  • William and his Notepad by Braeden Fisher, Birkdale Intermediate, illustrated by Max Thompson
  • Careful What You Wish For! by Emily Gibb, Kohimarama School, illustrated by Jun Arita
  • A Kindness Returned by Serisha Palmer, Elim Christian College, illustrated by Erika Pearce
  • A New Beginning by Aimee McConnell, Royal Oak Primary School, illustrated by Hannah Jensen
  • All in a Day’s Work for a Shark by Theo RobbMarkham, Te Atatu Intermediate, illustrated by Otis Frizzell
  • Flight Lesson by Hayley Fergusson, Rosehill Intermediate School, illustrated by Kiri Nathan
  • Adventure Kids by Charlotte Jones, who is home educated, illustrated by Dean Proudfoot

“The Young Authors Challenge is an extremely rewarding experience for everyone involved,” says Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson. “It’s always lots of fun to watch our winners flick through the pages of their new book and rediscover their stories.”

“We are incredibly proud of this group, and all the authors, illustrators, teachers and staff who have helped make these wonderful books possible every year since 2008.”

Over the last 10 years, Barfoot & Thompson’s Young Authors Challenge has captured the imaginations of aspiring authors and generated huge sums of funding, including:

  • Over 10,000 entries received
  • More than $250,000 raised for the Starship Foundation
  • Books given to 166,000 young hospital patients
  • 57 stories published by students from 41 different schools
  • 15 illustrators involved

“This 10th anniversary edition continues a proud legacy and holds many new favourite characters and tales for children and parents to enjoy.”



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