Book of Blank Essay Contest

2017 “Sarah & Katy and the Book of Blank” Essay Contest

To foster a love of imagination, writing, and reading in elementary school students, Julie Stroebel Barichello is hosting the second annual “Sarah & Katy and the Book of Blank” essay contest.

This essay contest is open to all fourth-grade students in Illinois. To enter, teachers can download and print the entry form. Only one entry form is required per classroom.


In Sarah & Katy and the Book of Blank, sisters Sarah and Katy are pulled into a blank book, where everything they imagine comes to life on the page. Imagine you draw a picture on a blank sheet of paper and it comes to life. Write a story about what you draw and what happens after it comes to life.

Contest rules

  1. No entry fee is required.
  2. Only fourth-grade students are eligible to enter. This contest is not open to additional grade levels at this time.
  3. Entries must be submitted by a teacher or member of school staff. Individual entries submitted by parents are not eligible at this time.
  4. All essays must adhere to the prompt. Essays are judged for content, not grammar and spelling.
  5. Entries must be the original work of the student. Each entry should be produced by an individual student and should not be the product of collaboration among multiple students.
  6. Entries are not required to include a student’s last name. First name and last initial are acceptable.
  7. Stories can be more than one page but should not exceed five pages in length.
  8. Judging is conducted anonymously. All decisions by the panel of judges are final.
  9. All entries must be postmarked Wednesday, February 1, to be eligible. Winners will be announced March 1. Teachers of winning students will be contacted on that date.

To enter, mail entries to:

Book of Blank Essay Contest
ATTN: Julie Stroebel Barichello
105 S. Second Ave.
Streator, IL 61364


  • The first-place winner will receive an author visit to his/her classroom plus personalized signed copies of “Sarah & Katy and the Imagination Blankets” and “Sarah & Katy and the Book of Blank.”
  • The second-place winner will receive personalized signed copies of both books.
  • The third-place winner will receive a personalized signed copy of “Sarah & Katy and the Book of Blank.”
  • All winning entries, including any honorable mention essays, will be featured on the author’s website.