It’s that time of the year again! The BBC 500 Words is in full flow, and the grand final is this Friday. Last year, when Random Melon Reads was still going, I did a few posts where I went through each story and chose my top 3 from each category. Just because RMR is no more doesn’t mean I don’t want to do the same again. And I do what I want. So here we are!
A little background for those new to the competition. Each year the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show hosts the 500 Words competition. The competition is aimed at getting children interested in stories and storytelling. There are two categories, a 5-9 years old, and a 10-13 years old. You can read a little more about the competition and previous years here.
But what about this years stories?! Chill ya bones, we’re gonna look at them now. Tomorrow we will check out the 2019 Top 50 Stories: 10 to 13 Years Old, and on Friday we will have a run down of the grand final. But for today, we will look at the 2019 Top 50 Stories: 5 to 9 Years Old. Each category has 25 stories, and 3 wildcard entrants.
Hey ho! Let’s go!
A Life Sentence by Thea Best – Someone wakes up, covered in thick goo, tired and exhausted. But how did they get there, and what does it all mean?!
The Ball and the Beast by James Craven – An exciting game of the football is happening. The crowd is going wild. The monster that was sleeping peacefully under the pitch is awoken, and grumpy, and remembers the taste of humans.
The Boy Who Ate the Dictionary by Sophia Savkovic – Our MC, Nick, doesn’t think they are very clever and they find school rather boring. But then they discover a way to become smart (by eating a dictionary – spoilers!), and get asked to represent the school in the World’s Brainiest Kids TV show. But, what goes in, must come out. Disaster!
The Colour of Temper by Anna Hendry – Clare sometimes gets angry. She hates homework (don’t we all?!). But anger is a nasty emotion and colours our environment, or in this case, removes all colour.
The Day my Pet Saved the World by Freddie Narcisi – Our first poem! Joe is a pet tortoise, slow but far from unremarkable. He is a super powered tortoise! When the town comes under threat from an attack by King Kong, there is only one super powered pet that can save the day!
The Dream by Zarah Goff – Sometimes we all wake up feeling a bit strange. For our MC here, that strange feeling creates a golden magical door that leads to a magical land of gold. But is it all just a dream?
Dresses by Drizella by Hettie Denton – So ya know when Prince Charming announced the ball in which he goes on to meet Cinderella at? Well, that announcement caused a ruckus in the town, with all the fair maidens wanting the greatest gown to woo the Prince. Two sisters, owners of the town boutique, have a devious plan to ensure they are the prettiest of them all at the ball.
Fragile Freya by Rosa Moody – Freya is fragile. She is scared to try new things, but decides one day to be brave and attend ballet classes. She is so scared she falls apart, into 5000 tiny pieces. Fortunately, Freya has a friend, ready to pick her up and help her come back together. Because, as she will soon learn, we are all a little fragile.
The Great British Marble Run by Gabriela Chimonides – Brexit has the land divided. Mrs May has a plan to bring everyone together, in unity. A Great British Marble Run from one end of the country to the other! But can everyone stop bickering long enough to get it done?
Kindness Never Dies by Julia Bakeeva – A dystopian future where humans have been genetically modified to remove emotions. Yix, a small girl from a poor family, has her dormant emotion genes reignited with the help of her decrepit robot teacher, and the greatest things to have ever existed – books!
The Knight Who Loved to Knit by Siya Kantaria – Challenge those gender norms, my friend! Challenge away! A knight, agency worker, fresh on the job, enjoys knitting. The queen, vain and obsessed with her appearance, is rather angry about the dragon in her bed. Instead of slaying the dragon, the knight takes a different approach, taking the time to listen to the dragon’s needs. Everything is better when we show kindness.
Mind The Gap by Eddie Firman – Most people think the gap in the ‘mind the gap’ announcements at train stations is the bit between the platform and the train. But it ain’t. The Gap are a race of friendly furball creatures that live in the unused spaces at train stations. They think they are the only ones, living alone in isolation. That is, until one Gap meets another, and friendship ensues.
Monopoly by Niamh Kathleen Gorham – Maybe it’s for the best that I just give the opening paragraph here.
From the moment your life is conceived to the second before it ends two allies sit opposite sides of a floating table rolling a dice. How many times does your own life appear in the game?
My Dysgraphic Word Zoo by Freya Siddiqui – Writing can be hard. There are so many rules that MUST be followed. But for some, their words are buffalos or snakes that need to roam free. They don’t care about the rules. And that, is okay. Never let the rules dictate or stifle the creativity of a story. Tell your story your way.
The Old Guitarist by Jasper Tait – Brian used to play guitar in a band. They did well. Until they didn’t. And Brian finds himself out of luck, jobless, homeless, and in need of a warm bath. One day when busking outside the shopping centre, he is joined by an old friend, and their luck takes a drastic turn for the better.
Orion Goes On Holiday by Joshua Wightman – Orion is a guardian angel, living in a parallel universe that runs one second ahead of our time, and protecting Joe from harm. That is until Orion gets bored and decides to leave his post, having a day of visiting earth. But who will now protect Joe?
PANTS! by Mya Dainty – Cheeky! Pants have a bit of a rubbish job. They are underwear. Rarely being seen and treated differently than other that get to show of their frills and uses. So one day, Frills, forms the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pants. Soon the RSPCP has members of all forms, and they start to hatch a plan to be taken serious.
Pumping Princess Pumpletoot by Rowan Golon – There’s always one. Princess Pumpletoot recently started school. She’s managed to get through the first day without anyone knowing her secret – she pumps. But then the class teacher informs everyone that it’s time for PE, and that they will be doing yoga! Oh no! Can Princess Pumpletoot get through without pumping in front of everyone?!
The Pure Shore Retirement Home by Amelia Johnson – Joe is about to start work experience at the Pure Shore retirement home. Joe hates old people and everything else. That is until one day he is tasked with taking Bob, a resident of the home, out fishing. Encountering bullies, Bob helps Joe grow in confidence, and learns that kindness is the world’s greatest super power.
Sedwick and the Unicorns by Tabatha Izzard – Sedwick is a dragon. He lives in a cave. A DISCO CAVE! He lives in a land of unicorns and sometimes feels a little sad that he is the only dragon in Unicorn land. But with a little help from his friends, he can learn to accept his dragonly ways.
Snow Blood Window Frame by Eve Molloy – Hilarious! A retelling of Snow White, set in the modern age with Instagram, killer stepmothers, and spare rooms found on the internet. Oh, and creepy men that try and kiss dead women!
The Three Little Pigs and the What Wolf by Isla McDonald Murray – The Three Little Pigs are visited by a WhatWolf who wants to sneak his way into their home. The pigs must answer his questions correctly, for if they don’t he gets to come into their home, and that would end badly. Luckily, one of the pigs is called Alexa, and we all know that Alexa knows everything.
Thought by Arthur Lee – Thoughts are little bubbles, and sometimes they get sucked up into the brain, where if lucky enough, they can become ideas. But sometimes ideas get stuck in a box and they need to be let free. How else would we have stories?
Trouble in Hufflefluffle by Jessica Molloy – Things are afoot in the magical land of Hufflefluffle. The magic is under the weather and at this rate the whole land will become visible to all, not just newborn babies. Luckily, Florence Flufflehuffle has just the right idea to bring joy back to the land.
When the Soldiers Came by Benjamin Chikola – Wow oh wow. Japanese occupied Singapore during WW2 and a child’s life is thrown into turmoil. He is forced to sing the Japanese national anthem at school, and worries about his culture being erased. Worst yet, his father is in hiding, after being injured during the war, and the Japanese soldiers are here to search for him.
Ego or Eco? by Anoushka Chopra *wildcard entry* – Pun-errific! Fridges have a strict hierarchy that must be adhered to, with the best products at the top, and the forgotten ones at the bottom. That is until a bohemian, peace loving, eco friendly hippie of an organic onion arrives and spreads a message of harmony and alternate living.
Hollywood’s End by Sam Arnold *wildcard entry* – Never trust a person with a chinstrap beard! In a world where everyone is desperate for the next scary Hollywood movie, Baron Von Misburg, director extraordinaire, makes a deal with a robotics company. Little does he know that his request for the most horrific movie monster ever may just be a little scarier than he expected.
The Rainbow Alien by Archie Jack Stubbs *wildcard entry* – In the land of the Moonlings everything is grey. Gwarlo is bored one day and decides to rocket off to other worlds in search of excitement. He happens to land on a world full of colour. Not only does he learn what colour is, he learns a lot about himself, and how to spread colour back to his world.
And those are the stories! Just how bloody fantastic are they?! Each year the creativity shown by children aged between 5-9 years old never fails to amaze me. If only I could come up with ideas as fresh and groundbreaking as these. So I now have to choose my top three.
My bronze goes to Fragile Freya by Rosa Moody
Deeply emotive. I cried. A story of friendship, and peace, and caring for one another. We all need someone to be there for us when we break, because at times we’re all a little fragile and scared.
My silver goes to My Dysgraphic Word Zoo by Freya Siddiqui
The idea of breaking the rules because the rules stop stories from being told is my bag. Communicate your message in your way, with your voice and with your rules. There’s a quiet revolution taking place through this story. A rebellion on the education system that spreads the false message that language must have rules and boundaries. Break the wheel! Down with the state!
My gold goes to Monopoly by Niamh Kathleen Gorham
I love the imagery in this. It feels rather Pratchett or Gaiman-esque in its style. I like the twists and turns that Niamh manages to weave into such a short piece. It’s gothic in its atmosphere and uses mythology fantastically. Wonderful!
Join me tomorrow for a look through the 10-13 years old category. Until then, Peace and love!