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Author and speaker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.  They make one story become the only story.”  

She also said, “The consequence of the single story is that it robs people of dignity.  It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult.  It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.” 

The More to My Story Essay Contest, sponsored by Flywire, is an opportunity for young people to direct the narratives that they would like told about their lives, express what makes them special, and seek understanding of the multi-layered narratives of others through art and writing.

Kids ages 2-10 may submit an art piece and those ages 11-18 may submit an essay to explore these important themes (Keep reading for the prompts).

Winners & Prizes

  • Division 1 – (Ages 2-5) – Two winners will receive a Family Stories Personalized Book and all participants in this Division will have their artwork featured on the Brown Kids Read and Flywire websites
  • Division 2 – (Ages 6-10) – Two winners will be awarded $50
  • Division 3 – (Ages 11-14) – Two winners will be awarded $100
  • Division 4 – (Ages 15-18) – Two winners will be awarded $150


The Contest Deadline is July 2, 2020.

Winners will be notified of the results via email by July 16, 2020.


The contest is open to all children between the ages of 2 and 18.  All participants must be within that age range on the submission date. Children of employees of Flywire are encouraged to participate.


All submissions should be made using this Submission Form. Before they are uploaded, essay and artwork files should be saved using this format “Lastname,FirstNameAge_Flywire.”


Essays should be between 500 to 750 words (2-3 pages double spaced). The essay should be written in English and should be the original work of the submitter. A teacher, parent or adult can provide appropriate review and editing, but the structure, ideas, content, and style should be accurate, truthful and come from the submitter alone.


Original work can be submitted in the following media categories: drawing (line, colored pencils, pastels, crayons, etc.) or painting. Artwork should be scanned and submitted as a jpeg or png. Artwork should not have submitter’s name on it. Submission must also be accompanied by the “Artist’s Statement” which communicates the title of the art piece, what inspired the work, and how it relates to the theme. The Artist’s Statement will be required on the submission form and should be between 10-200 words.   

Evaluation Criteria

Each submission is read by at least 2 reviewers.  Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:


  • Focus – A clear thesis/main message is evident that reflects an understanding of the topic
  • Content– The presence of ideas and evidence of personal reflection developed through examples, anecdotes, details, opinions, reasoning, explanations and/or scripture.
  • Style – The choice, use, and arrangement of words and sentence structures that create tone and voice is effective.
  • Organization & Structure – The essay is organized and well structured.
  • Conventions – Demonstration of command of grammar, mechanics, and spelling.


  • Interpretation of Concept – Artwork shows an understanding of the topic
  • Uniqueness – Artwork possesses unique characteristics
  • Artistry – Artwork is innovative and creative
  • Artist Statement – The statement connects the artwork to the theme

Essay & Artwork Topics

Division 1 (Ages 2-5)

  • Submit one art piece that addresses this question: What is most special about me?

Division 2 (Ages 6-10)

  • Submit one art piece that addresses this question: How can we connect with those who are different than us?

Division 3 (Ages 11-14) & Division 4 (Ages 15-18)

  • Reflect on the quotes above and watch Chimamanda Adiche’s 2009 TED Talk, “The Danger of the Single Story” for context. Then write an essay that addresses the questions: Do you feel that you have been viewed through a single-story perspective? What are the other stories you wish others knew?  How can we build a world where people are not victims of judgement based on a single story?