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50 Short Stories of Hope

The Hopeful Voices of Tomorrow

Recently, I've been concerned that creative writing has taken a back seat in education. As a teacher, I know how difficult it is to fit everything in when the school day is so short and the curriculum is so demanding. Is there still time for stories?

My recent creative writing competition for children aged 8-13 generated some truly wonderful short stories by very talented young writers, restoring my hope for the voices of tomorrow. In fact, the result is so inspiring that I have decided to repeat the competition for 2025.

On 8th June, I published the book, "50 Short Stories of Hope" and it hurtled straight up the Amazon charts to a staggering position of 2,445! Considering there are 32.8 million books for sale on Amazon, that's no mean feat. I worked out that the book is, in fact, in the top 0.0075% of all books.

Creative writing should certainly be part of the curriculum. I actually can't quite understand why everyone doesn't want to spend all their free time writing, but fortunately we're not all the same or there would be even more books on Amazon!

The Benefits of Creative Writing:

  1. Boosts Imagination

  2. Enhances Communication Skills

  3. Boosts self-esteem

  4. Encourages Empathy

  5. Improves Mental Health

  6. Strengthens Academic Skills

  7. Fosters Resilience

  8. Creates a Sense of Accomplishment

To give you a taste of the talent to be discovered in "50 Short Stories of Hope", I've decided to include a remarkable story written by 13-year-old Annabel Radburn from The Royal Masonic School - a school dear to my heart as my four daughters went there. In fact, they racked up a total of 50 years at RMS - but that's another story!

Your Heart with Mine - by Annabel Radburn

Walking home with Abby made everything disappear; when it was just us, I mean, not all her popular friends. Abby was perfect; beautiful, talented and kind. She was going to win Prom Queen for sure. I was happy for her, my best friend after all. Sometimes, I just couldn't help the envy. But it would be enough to stand next to her and her prom crown, I supposed. 

We reached my house, just up the road from hers. ‘Bye Bec, your heart with mine!’ Abby’s little catchphrase, as if to make me feel important. I never understood it. But her sweet voice made it special. 

‘Hey Rebecca!’ Mum shouted, slightly manic, as I walked in.

‘Hey’, I replied flatly. Something was wrong. Her voice only did that masked enthusiasm when involving Inez. Inez, my sister, younger by one year. Cardiomyopathy ruined her. Ruined me as well. She was diagnosed at the age of fourteen and is on the list for a heart transplant. I love her, but it’s taken everything. If I left, would my parents even notice? The one fun thing I’d arranged with Mum was prom dress shopping, cancelled because Inez found a possible donor. Didn’t work out though. ‘What’s wrong mum?’ I asked, trying to be understanding. ‘She’s worse again today.’ I knew how bad it was, of course. If Inez didn't find a donor soon, she wouldn't make it. 

My safety blanket was Abby. When we talked, the problems faded. But when we chatted about prom walking to school the next morning, a shameful part of me hoped that flawless Abby wouldn’t go. Walking along, she was looking at dresses online. She’d found a stunning red satin one. That’s when I got what I had hoped for so selfishly. Red Fiat car, the same colour as her prom dress. The same colour as her blood. She stepped out. I remember a scream, squealing car brakes, and the sound of the ambulance. My safety blanket, so unsafe, so dead. 

Not immediately. Somehow she hung on for three excruciating days, strung up like a puppet in intensive care. Heart still beating, yet no longer with mine. 

But the puppeteer's hopes were nothing but dreams. Under my disgusting blanket, I watched Grey's Anatomy like it would bring Abby back every time Meredith saved someone. Suddenly Mum was there, insensitively ecstatic. ‘Inez found a donor!’

No one told me, but I wasn't surprised by that. ‘I know you're upset Rebecca’ Mum said gently. ‘Maybe you’d like to take Inez to the prom? I’ll take you both dress shopping. ‘Okay,’ I said, each syllable hurting my throat. 

I picked a pale yellow dress with flowers around the hem. Inez chose a red satin one.

‘Are you ready?’ she asked, as I steadied her into the car. ‘Come on,' Inez coaxed and hugged me tight. 'As long as we're together we’ll be fine.' She grabbed my hand, beautiful in her blood-red satin dress.

‘Let’s do this Bec. Your heart with mine.’

Many congratulations to Annabel and all the other superb young writers who are now published authors.

If you would like to buy "50 Short Stories of Hope", or my own books, you can click on the covers:

Find out more about the competition here:

Find out more about my author visits here:


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