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Judged by authors Robin Stevens, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Carrie Hope Fletcher, and more!

For budding writers aged 6-18. Win up to £200 of National Book Tokens!

Now more than ever is a time for imagination. While our world changes, every day people are finding new, creative ways to tell stories and spread joy. Now is the time to find comfort and inspiration in unbelievable words, extraordinary adventures and magical encounters with big friendly giants and tiny talking spiders. Now is the time to dream.

In collaboration with the Puffin Festival of Big Dreams, we've teamed up with six of the UK's most exciting children's and YA authors to ask your children to do just that.



How to enter: ask your child to write a story of up to 300 words, using the theme BIG DREAMS. Submit it here by midnight on 28th May. 

They can interpret the theme however they like: an epic fantasy inspired by a dream, an amazing adventure that takes place in another world, or a true-to-life story set in an imaginary school. The winning stories will be chosen by not one, not two, but six amazing Puffin authors: Nathan Bryon and Sam Copeland (6-10), Robin Stevens and Yassmin Abdel-Magied (11-15), and Emma Smith-Barton and Carrie Hope Fletcher (15-18). 

National Book Tokens gift cardsOur esteemed judges will award one winner in each age group the grand prize of a £200 National Book Token, with added prizes of 2 x £100 and 16 x £50 National Book Tokens in each category. The winners will be announced on Sunday 14th June by the authors themselves at the Puffin Festival of Big Dreams on Puffin Books' YouTube and Facebook channels, and the three winning stories will be published on our website. 

We can't wait to read all these big dreams!

This competition was inspired by author John Boyne's extraordinary short story competition, which saw thousands of young Irish writers submit their stories in the early weeks of the pandemic.



How to Enter


Submit your details and your child's story of up to 300 words by midnight Thursday 28th May 2020.

Tip: It's best to type the short story into a document that you can save, and where you can check the word count (e.g. a Microsoft Word document). You can then copy and paste the final story into the entry form when you're ready to submit it.

Submit a short story

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Terms and Conditions

Key Points

  • There are three age ranges: 6-10, 11-14, and 15-18. Please ensure you submit according to the child's age at the time of entry. For children aged 6-15, entries must be submitted by an adult over the age of 18. Entrants aged 16-17 may submit their own story. 
  • If you are submitting on behalf of more than one child, please submit each story separately.  
  • The theme of the short story competition is "Big Dreams". The child can be as creative with this theme as they wish. 
  • Submitted stories should be a maximum of 300 words and a minimum of 50 words. The story's title is not included in the word count.  
  • Closing date for submission is 11:59pm on Thursday 28th May 2020. 
  • Winners will be announced at the online Puffin Festival of Big Dreams on Sunday 14th June 2020, and on the National Book Tokens website. 


  • The total prize fund is £3,600* of National Book Tokens gift cards (*the competition is open to residents of the Republic of Ireland, in which case some of the prizes may be awarded in Euros) 
  • The prizes will be in the form of National Book Tokens gift cards (physical gift cards sent via post) or e-Gift cards (sent via email).
  • Winners x 3 (1 per age group) receive £200 National Book Tokens.
  • Runners up x 6 (2 per age group) – receive £100 National Book Tokens.
  • Highly commended x 48 (16 per age group) receive £50 National Book Tokens. 

Detailed Terms and Conditions

  • No purchase necessary. 
  • Opening date: Monday 18th May 2020.
    Closing date: 11:59pm, Thursday 28th May 2020.  
  • Entries must be submitted according to the child’s age at the time of entry (6-10, 11-14, 15-18). 
  • For children aged 6-15, entries must be submitted by an adult over the age of 18; children aged 16-18 may submit their own entries. 
  • Entrants may submit multiple stories per child (one per form), but may not win more than one prize per child. 
  • Entries must include a story that is a maximum of 300 words (and a minimum of 50 words); stories must be on the theme of "big dreams" and the child can be as creative with this theme as they wish. 
  • The Promoter reserves the right to publish or reproduce the entirety or extracts of any of the submitted entries, either directly or via partners, including but not exclusively social media, digital and printed reproduction. 
  • The competition is open to UK and Republic of Ireland residents except employees of the Booksellers Association, Book Tokens Ltd., Penguin Random House, their families, employees of participating bookshops, and anyone else connected with this promotion.
  • Prizes: 

    Winners x 3 (1 per age group) £200 National Book Tokens 
    Runners up x 6 (2 per age group) £100 National Book Tokens  
    Highly commended x 48 (16 per age group) £50 National Book Tokens  

    The prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives. The Promoter reserves the right to amend the specification of the prize or offer an alternative prize. In exceptional circumstances, the Promoter reserves the right to foreclose the competition without notice. 
  • Entrants agree to the Promoter using the child’s name, age and regional area in post-competition publicity. Your details will not be used for any other purpose, or passed onto any third parties, unless specified. Winners’ details may be shared securely with a third-party in order to fulfil the dispatch of competition prizes. 
  • We will contact winners by email. In the event of a winner not responding after 5 days, we reserve the right to allocate the prize to another winner or foreclose the prize. Unfortunately, unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted. 
  • The Promoter accepts no responsibility for entries that are incomplete, illegible, incorrect, corrupted or fail to reach the Promoter by the closing date for any reason. Automatically generated entries or entries via third parties are invalid and shall not be considered. 
  • The Promoter and judging panel's decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into. 
  • The Promoter reserves the right to change the judging panel or add to it.  
  • The Promoter will only use your email address and other personal information as outlined in our privacy policy. 
  • Promoter: Book Tokens Ltd, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR. 
  • Due to the public health crisis (Covid-19), prizes may be delayed in being dispatched to winners; there may be a delay in contacting winners; there may be unavoidable issues that mean the Promoter needs to amend the specification of the prize or offer an alternative prize. 


Have a question?

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About Us


About National Book Tokens

National Book Tokens have been inspiring booklovers since 1932. We work with our charity partners at World Book Day, Book Aid International and Read for Good – and through the thousands of people who give National Book Tokens as gifts and rewards each year – to encourage a lifelong love of reading among children everywhere.

Accepted in thousands of bookshops, online and on eBooks, National Book Tokens are the perfect way to reward and inspire.

Buy a gift card

Where to spend

About the Puffin Festival of Big Dreams

Puffin, the world’s biggest children’s publisher, is celebrating its 80th birthday with the Puffin Festival of Big Dreams. The seven-day online festival, in partnership with Waterstones, will launch on the 8th June and will bring together authors and illustrators including Jacqueline Wilson, Robin Stevens, Nick Sharratt, Dapo Adeola, Nathan Bryon and Nadia Shireen, to inspire children to keep on dreaming. 

Hosted on Puffin’s YouTube and Facebook Live channels, the festival will feature an all-star line up of authors, illustrators, and special guests who will be running writing masterclasses, draw-alongs and setting creative challenges to keep children's imaginations dreaming long after screen-time is over. Every weekday families will be able to enjoy two new videos from Puffin’s star-studded line-up, which will culminate in a live, interactive extravaganza at the weekend. Each event will be themed around dreams, be they bold, brave or wild, and the events will take storytime to the next level.

Authors and illustrators taking part include: Jacqueline Wilson (former Children’s Laureate), Robin Stevens (Murder Most Unladylike), Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola (Look Up!) Carrie Hope Fletcher (Into the Spotlight), Sam Copeland (Charlie Changes into a Chicken), Nadia Shireen (Bumblebear) Stuart Heritage and Nicola Slater (Jonathan’s Magic Pony), Jamie Littler (Frostheart), Rashmi Sirdeshpande (How to be Extraordinary), Yassmin Abdel-Magied (My Name is Layla) and will be hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya. The full line-up and programme will be announced shortly.

Dream big with Puffin.


Win £5,000 for your school

You could win £5,000/€5,000 of National Book Tokens for your school's library, ready to spend when schools reopen – you'll also get £100/€120 of National Book Tokens to spend on yourself!

Enter now



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