Yo nerds. Yesterday I went through the 5-9 years old category for this years BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition. Today I will be going through the 10-13 years old category. You can visit the website here to read them.
Hey Ho! Lets Go!
‘Hey Botty, STOP!’ by Edward Holt – A granny has a robot drone delivered to the house. But she doesn’t know how to use it. So it gets bored and starts to order itself some new friends. This continues for a while until the house is overrun with smart tech. If only the granny could remember the voice command to stop this madness.
“The Forgotten Soldiers” by Amanjoyt Kaur Bhakar – Wow. Captain Daleep Singh, leader of the Punjab Sikh regiment is in the trenches during WW1. He takes a moment reflecting on his situation before heading out onto no man’s land. ‘We serve the British Army with pride and honour, but we desire our own freedom. The thought of an independent India fills me with hope.’
A God Vacancy by Aoife Maddock – God gets a little fed up of us humans warring, blaming Him for everything wrong, and not listening. Therefore he resigns as Lead Deity of Area 25541 (Earth) at Gods & Deities Inc. He tries to write a polite, formal letter, but just can’t stop himself from ranting. Have you heard the song Letter from God to Man by dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip? This reminded me of that.
A Weather Coder’s Journal by Parul Sinha – Highly creative. A world where the weather is controlled by coding commands into a computer. Each country appears to have their own person. Spain is pretty good, he can create proper seasons and a proper summertime. The British coder… not so good. He can pretty much code wet and grey and that’s about it. So one day, he decides to cheat, and download a ___-SUMMER_IN_THE_SUN54747 code. But do cheaters really prosper?
Alone by Alexander Tonkin – One war. One war that decimates London with a biological bomb. Humans have fled to Pacific Islands or Mars. Except one man, who is particularly immune to the virus. But this is not a superpower. It’s a curse. One men left in ruins, because of one war.
Dancing on the Streets by Sadhbh Inman – A 7yr old girl from the slums of Ahmedabad, India, sells tissues on the street for her uncle. But she wants a new dress. She has been saving her money for over a year until she finally has enough. But her uncle has other plans. She doesn’t work for her own treasures, she works to make him a rich man. My heart!
Empty Space by Alastair Preston – What would it take to have people start showing peace and love instead of selfishness and hatred? Maybe a world where the darkness of humankind allows Dark Matter to infiltrate and remove people from existence. Maybe for person to discover this and to write it in a story. There is so much more being said between the lines here.
Everyone deserves a home by Katie Jennings – Katie Jennings what are you doing to my poor fragile heart?! Amy is sat at Battersea Dogs Home waiting to collect her new rescued pet. But, sometimes, pets are not the only ones that need saving.
Just Another by Nathan Bull – Nathan, you been doing drugs, bud? A surreal story of interdimensional space spaghetti and resetting timelines. Just… go with it.
Memories by Edie Behr – We all have memories. It’s not how caring and kind Yara is that makes her who she is. It’s fear that makes her. The memory of the atrocities she witnessed back in Syria, before the rescue. ’My friends will never understand what I’ve been through. I don’t know if I will either.’
Of a Mouse and a Man by Holly Brooks – Mice are filthy rodents right? Well, not Malcolm. Malcolm is meticulously clean. In the winter he has to move home into the comfort of the warmth underneath the floorboards of Alfred’s kitchen. Conflict ensues between the sloth ridden Alfred and his overly clean mouse squatter.
Partners In Grime by Lily Millward – An unnamed narrator gets a call from their long time friend, Bill. Bill has just got out of prison and is calling to set up a late night clean up of a jewellers. But is all as it first appears?
Pluto by Ellen Morton – Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And those that are planets shouldn’t throw asteroids at dwarf planets for fun. Because you never know when the people of the earth will suddenly reclassify you. I’m looking at you, Pluto. But with a little bit of compassion and kindness, we can see that those who are unseen are not hiding away, instead, they are gazing on beauty that others may never know of.
Polaris by Iris Rawsthorne – A heartbreaking meditation on the aftermath of war. Another story highlighting the atrocities of the war torn middle east and the resulting trauma and loss that prevails.
Rose by Olivia Sellars – A sombre and macabre story of an old man living after the death of his wife. He is weak and his body is failing, but he has a rose on the windowsill that he must continue to feed and speak with. As it’s petals start to wilt and fall, the rose’s time is coming to an end, as is his.
I think it’s time for a break and a cup of tea. These stories are much more intense and deep than I was ready for. What surprises me is the number of stories highlighting loss, heartbreak and the results of war. The stories so far in this category are much less light hearted than those of the 5-9 years old.
OK, I’ve had tea. On to the rest.
The Arrival by Cerys McGrath – The city of Onom is about to be invaded by aliens. Creatures that normally inhabit the mountains run through the streets, families scream and shout in panic. Local officials do all they can to protect the land from the invaders. But it is futile as an odd being dressed in a war suit of white plastic steps out onto the uninhabited planet.
The Dance of the Trees by Alex Edwards – Ever wonder why the trees dance? It isn’t the wind. Instead, it is to fight off the evil jealousy driven plan of the bushes and the ivy. Our only poem in this category. Reminiscent of an old folktale.
The Lost Heart by Mahriya Zahid – A powerful queen. She has all the materialistic goods she could ever wish for. But the power has corrupted her. She has lost her way. She has lost her heart. She is a queen hated by the people. She rules with fear instead of joy. She misses the time before she was queen. So she heads into the woods, to relinquish her crown of roses back to nature and to refind her lost heart.
The Messenger of the Gods by Maya Stoll – New, modern, technology is taking over. And Hermes, the God of Communication is grumpy. Telecos is the new God of modern communications. Hermes must prove that sometimes, nothing can beat old fashioned winged sandals.
The Pianist by Sidarth Bansal – An old pianist sits on stage ready to perform. But his life has felt empty since the loss of his wife. His song doesn’t sound complete anymore. That is, until his wife miraculously appears on stage with him and they play his melancholy tune better than ever before.
The Realignment by Harriet Alsop – An ‘incident’ on the 35th November 2055 causes chaos in the streets. Fast forward one year and civilisation has decided they must realign the planets – presumably to prevent another incident. A farmer looks tends to his chickens and contemplates the panic of the people. He meditates on how a chicken appears to be happy being a chicken and has no need to worry about the realignment. Well, all is not as it may seem.
The Teeth Exchange by Rivie Bates – An old person’s home. The granny’s sit around and chatter amongst themselves. At nap time, one granny decides she doesn’t want to nap and instead spends the time swapping the false teeth of her housemates as they sleep, hoping to cause a bit of mischief and entertainment. But, as the grannies wake and discover the usefulness of sharing, she accidentally stumbles upon a business opportunity.
The Trouble With Mondays by Isobel Morrow – Monday is taken to court and put on trial for being the worst day. We all hate Mondays. But is it really right to blame Monday for our grumpy ways. Monday is needed. Monday is necessary. “Sure, you call me the worst day, but can’t that be any of us? It’s not what day it is, but how you spend it…”
Toxin on the Tube by Poppy Brown – A mysterious figure enters a busy train. An older gentleman gives up his seat for them. But this mystery person has a secret. They are about to release a toxin that will bring misery to everyone in the carriage. That, is there job. That’s what they are here for.
Who Am I? by Rosie Hunt – A reflexion on living with anxiety, and the battle that people face each day. But a story of hope and showing that it can be beaten.
I’m A Boy by Daisy Moody **wildcard entry** – ’Hi, I’m Adam and I want to be a girl.’ A reflection on gender dysphoria and the struggles a child experiences when their gender identity does not align with that of their biological sex. A wonderful story with an important message.
AI by Arthur Edmonds **wildcard entry** – AI has taken over the world. Our narrator hides under his floorboards with his family as the robots sweep his home. More than 50% of the population eradicated. Can our narrator stay quiet long enough for them to pass, or will their hiding spot be found?
The Mystery Of The Loch Ness Scarf **wildcard entry** – A laugh out loud story highlighting the importance of stories and myths. Also featuring a scarf stealing, hat wearing, moonlighting Loch Ness monster… maybe.
My winning picks for this category are:
And that brings us to the end of the 50 finalists and 6 wildcards. The final will be broadcast tomorrow at 7am UK time on BBC Radio 2. You can listen to it live anywhere in the world by going here. I think the show will also be available on the iPlayer Radio (which is available anywhere in the world) afterwards. Join me tomorrow when I will do a quick round up of the winners and show. (Or click here and go to that post now – We are in the future.) Until then, Peace and Love!