SINCE 2016

Sower & Harvest
Short Story Prizes

for private homeschoolers

Contest Rules


  • There is no entry fee.
  • Parental permission to enter is required.
  • The competition is open to current homeschool students residing in the US.
  • Participants must be in the 3rd through 8th grades.
  • Independent, private homeschoolers are eligible. Home-based charter school students are NOT eligible.
  • Past winners are NOT eligible.
  • All stories must be fiction.
  • Parents may not copy children’s stories for them.
  • Parents or guardians may check their children’s stories for grammatical errors and other line edits, but they may NOT co-write stories with their children.
  • All stories must be original work of the student. All students must craft and type their own stories.
  • Each entry should be original in concept, execution, and may not violate U.S. copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing work that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the contest rules and will not be accepted.
  • Any work created using AI tools and/or that incorporates content generated by AI tools will not be accepted as original work.
  • Relatives or individuals having a personal or professional relationship with any of our sponsors are ineligible.



  • Level A (grades 3 & 4)
  • Level B (grades 5 & 6)
  • Level C (grades 7 & 8)



Each level has two options to pick from that should be interpreted in the story. Stories that do not contain the theme will be disqualified.


LEVEL A (Grades 3-4) choose one of the following:

  • The Moral Dilemma: Two friends find themselves on opposite sides of a heated ethical debate. Can they maintain their friendship while holding conflicting beliefs, or will their values drive them apart?
  • The Time Loop: A person relives the same day repeatedly, unable to break the loop until they make a critical moral decision. What choice will they make, and what will it reveal about their true values?


LEVEL B (Grades 5-6) choose one of the following:

  • The Sacrifice: A group of people must make a difficult choice: sacrifice one of their own to save the rest. Who will they choose, and how will this decision test their individual and collective moral values?
  • The Legacy: A person discovers a hidden family secret that throws their understanding of their lineage and values into question. How will they reconcile their past with their present, and what will this revelation mean for their future?


LEVEL C (Grades 7-8) choose one of the following:

  • The Artificial Conscience: In a world where advanced AI governs daily life, a young engineer discovers a flaw in the system: the AI lacks a sense of morality. Can they teach the AI right from wrong, or will it become a rogue entity with its own warped sense of ethics?
  • The Forbidden Knowledge: A scientist unearths a groundbreaking discovery with the potential to revolutionize the world, but its application raises ethical dilemmas. Do they release the knowledge, knowing it could be misused, or bury it for the sake of safety?



We’re looking for well-written stories that are vivid—rich with scene, imagination, character, detail, and a distinctive voice—and that possess a unique interpretation of the theme (see above). Tell us something new about the world through your eyes and through your voice.



We are NOT seeking the following-

  • fantasy
  • fable
  • supernatural
  • fairytale
  • legend
  • science-fiction
  • mythology
  • fanfiction
  • speculative fiction
  • romance



Stories must be written in English and should be between 800 – 900 words.

  • Stories must include the designated theme according to grade level (see above).
  • For tips on how to write captivating dialogue, look here (basic version) or here (detailed version).
  • For a how-to on formatting your document, check this link.
  • Fill out the form below.
  • Upload your story file in PDF format only.
  • Please name your PDF file as such: Last name-story title (example: Dalgliesh-The Courage of Sarah Noble.pdf).
  • An auto-responder email will confirm receipt of your submission.
  • All stories will be read by the founders of Burning Bush Press and a group of volunteer judges.



May 17, 2024



Awards are generous donations from our sponsors. All winning stories will be published on the Burning Bush Press website. Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each level as follows:









In May 2024, winners will be notified by email. We will publicly announce the winners in our newsletter. All winning stories will be published on the Burning Bush Press website.

Burning Bush Press retains the right to republish winning stories in future print or online issues of the magazine, including the Burning Bush Press website. Should your work be published elsewhere at some later date, we’d appreciate the standard acknowledgment.

Special Thanks

To Our Generous Sponsors

Classical Academic Press
Lamplighter Ministries
Memoria Press





    I confirm that my child is the author and copyright holder of this submission. As her/his legal guardian, I agree without restriction or limitation to all the following terms:

    I hereby submit my child's original work to the Sower and Harvest Short Story Prizes contest, managed by Burning Bush Press, free of charge and without any present or future financial obligation.

    I hereby allow Burning Bush Press to edit, publish, or use my child's original work for any purpose deemed appropriate at the discretion of Burning Bush Press without liability, and I hold Burning Bush Press harmless. I understand Burning Bush Press retains the right to republish winning stories in future print or online issues of the magazine, including the Burning Bush Press website.

    I affirm that my child is a resident of the United States and is a student of an independent private home school. I affirm that my child is not a student of a home-based charter school.

    I grant permission to Burning Bush Press to add my email to their newsletter list. I understand they will never sell my email address to anyone.

    I grant permission to Burning Bush Press to list only my child's name, age, and grade level for any and all present or future purposes as determined appropriate at the discretion of Burning Bush Press.

    STEP 3: INTERESTS for future topics on our site (check all that apply):

    STEP 4: SUBMIT STORY (PDF files only.)