To celebrate our annual lecture this year, we ran a story starter competition for children inspired by Joy Cowley's Power of Story, which includes practical advice for helping spark a love of reading and writing. The first of these competitions was so popular, we ran another one! We wish to thank Anja Groth from Whitireia Publishing Course for the concept, Joy Cowley for use of the story starters, and our friends at Gecko Press for providing book prizes to the winners.
The brief: write a story in 250 words or less, sparked by the following 'story starter' by Joy Cowley:
This second iteration of the competition received twice the number of entries.
After much deliberation, we chose the winning story: Earthquake? by Lara Migounoff, age 7. Read her story below. Congratulations, Lara!
The building had an elevator that went down to the centre of the earth. On the face of the building were the letters “CKG”. Below this sign, the sturdy steel doors were chained shut with gleaming gold locks and silver chains. The door was supposed to stay locked for eternity.
The elevator had been used in the 1980s to take crocodiles down to the centre of the earth. The plan was that the crocodiles would die there, and the people of New Zealand would be protected these horrible creatures. It took 10 years to complete the process. It had been a long and difficult job because the elevator could only take 2 crocodiles at once. Somehow it had still been successful. Crocodiles had been removed from the now peaceful land. The Crocodile Killing Group (CKG) scientists were heroes.
However, unbeknown to the scientists, the crocodiles enjoyed swimming in magma. The small fish that lived inside the magma gas bubbles provided food for them.
Suddenly one day, the Earth began to shake. ”Earthquake?”, people questioned. No, it wasn’t an earthquake, it was all the volcanoes in New Zealand erupting and there was no way to escape! The sky was dotted with crocodiles that had exploded out of the volcanoes. Weirdly these crocodiles didn’t sink because they were full of gas…instead they gently floated off in the wind to Australia.
So crocodiles became a problem to the people of Australia, while the people of New Zealand, once again, lived joyfully… without crocodiles.
- Lara Migounoff.