During these unprecedented times when families are hunkered down at home together due to the Covid-19 virus, Barnes & Noble is giving aspiring young authors a chance to showcase their creativity—and become published. Between April 27 and May 29, contestants can submit written or graphic short stories to be considered for inclusion in an anthology that the company will release in time for this year’s holiday season.

From the entries, an in-house panel of jurors will select 15 stories to appear in the volume, which will be sold exclusively at select B&N stores while supplies last, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. Winning contestants, as well as 15 runners-up, will also receive a signed copy of a book by Gail Carson Levine (who is contributing a foreword to the short story collection) and will have the chance to be featured on B&N’s social channels.

“We believe in the power of stories to inspire and bring joy, particularly in challenging times such as the one we’re living in now,” said Jackie De Leo, v-p and general merchandise manager, bookstore at Barnes & Noble, of the genesis of the short story competition. “We decided to launch this contest now to provide an outlet for the many children and families who are doing remote schooling and looking for virtual outlets for creativity and expression.”

According to contest guidelines, parents or legal guardians of children between the ages of six and 12 can submit stories online on behalf of fledgling authors (who should be identified only by first name and age), along with the adult’s name, address, and email. The suggested length for entries is 300–800 words for written stories and four pages for graphic stories, which should be created in black and white.

Barnes & Noble is “thrilled to partnering with Gail Carson Levine on this project,” De Leo said, “as she is an author and writing teacher who shows kids, and all of us, the magic of stories and storytelling. We hope this will be a fun and motivating contest for children to share their short stories and have the chance to become published writers.”