Maggie and the Fish Toy is a children’s story I wrote for the Story Share $50K Writing Contest, a competition organized by Benetech, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), and Orca Book Publishing. In their own words, the contest was "created to support millions of teen and adult beginning readers who have been limited by not having access to stories written for them.” It encourages participants to create stories that are “high interest/low literacy” so that they can engage and inspire young teens who struggle with reading. In order to ensure that submissions could be comprehended by novice readers, the contest implemented particular requirements on structure and vocabulary, such as a three-sentence maximum per page, a six-word maximum per sentence, and a limited number of specific words from which to construct each sentence. The result is a story that I'm very proud of, about a young teen who adopts a fish and discovers both the fragility and resilience of the ecosystem.

The following can be read on its original platform at: 

Illustrations by Christopher Leykam

Written by Jesse Mallin