In October, The Fostering Network, a national charity who support fostering services across the UK, called on young writers, who live in fostering families, to submit short stories and poems to the competition.
The stories were read and judged by award winning author Jacqueline Wilson, famous for writing the Tracy Beaker book series. Jacqueline said she absolutely loved judging the competition and that all of the writing moved her, and after much deliberation she chose her three favourites and some highly commended pieces from each of the age categories; 5-9, 10-14 and 15+.
Jacqueline Wilson said:
“Each young writer has put their heart and soul into writing someone that represents their involvement in fostering. I think every single entry is very special, and I hope they will all love to see their work in print and continue to enjoy writing for years to come.”
On announcing the competition Jackie Sanders, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at The Fostering Network, said:
“Jacqueline is an icon of children’s literature. Her stories show that she has a real understanding of, and empathy for, children with a wide range of family experiences. Having Jacqueline judge the competition is a great opportunity for children and young people to have their poetry and short stories read by an award-winning author, and we're encouraging as many as possible to enter.”
The Foster Care Co-operative submitted many entries on the children and young people’s behalf, and it is with great pleasure that Amber, aged 15 has been ‘Highly Commended’ by Jacqueline, and has been selected as one of the few to be featured in the e-book published as part of the competition.
Her story ‘The Wild Ones’ talks about her time at home before coming into care; looking after her younger brothers and sisters and being a mother figure to them, and feeling so isolated that running away and sleeping rough was the only way to escape:
“My younger sister, often called me mum. I brought her up as dad was ill and mum had other things to do. She was always tired and sleeping and told me it was my job as I was the oldest. I was 13.”
“My past was full of regrets, my Mum never helped me, I didn’t belong. I felt like this (running away) was finally the right choice and my only regret was leaving my brothers and sisters behind.”
Katrina Rohman, Marketing & Strategy Officer for The Foster Care Co-operative said:
“We are all incredibly proud of Amber, not only has she opened up about a very personal subject, she has demonstrated an exceptional talent and flair for writing. I hope this award will inspire her to continue to develop her gift. All of the entrants, across all of the age categories should be proud of their achievement; there are definitely some very talented young writers out there.”
Amber’s full story, ‘The Wild Ones’ can be read here (page 16):
More information on the Growing Up in our House project, from The Fostering Network here:
Congratulations Amber – we’re very proud of you!