The Essay Challenge


In 2008 the authors and Tricycle Press celebrated Hey, Little Ant‘s 10th Anniversary with The Hey, Little Ant Essay Challenge.

Kindergarten to Third Grade students from the United States and Canada were invited to answer the book’s final question, “What do you think that kid should do?”  Over 2,000 students responded.

“The essays were thrilling to read. Entrants came up with endings I would have thought of. Some came up with solutions that worked for both the Kid and the Ant. A lot of students made up stories of their own, some in verse. And the drawings were fabulous! Their work makes me look at Hey, Little Ant in a totally new way.” Hey, Little Ant‘s Co-Author, Phillip Hoose

As much as the authors would love this to be an annual event, The Hey, Little Ant Essay Challenge is (for now) a once in a book’s lifetime event.




By 1st Grade Winner Sophie Berghmans of Calgary, Alberta

Kindergarten Winner:
Sophie Berghmans of Calgary, Alberta

Sophie’s use of sequential art showed how the Kid’s relationship with the Ant changed over time as the Kid considered the Ant. Look at the position of the Ant in each panel. Simply wonderful.
View Sophie’s Artwork

First Grade Winner:
Marina Sanchez of Wilmington, Delaware

Marina’s illustration is a perfect depiction of contemplation. Look at the knitted brow of the Kid and the thought bubble saying, “Ant, Ant, Ant…” Her essay ends with the great line, “Come out on the right path do not squish the ant.”
View Marina’s Artwork
View Marina’s Essay Page 1
View Marina’s Essay Page 2

Second Grade Winner:
Amos Livers of Oldenburg, Indiana

In the book, the Ant has the ability to talk and reason. Thus, many great essays talked about the Ant and the Kid being friends by hanging out at the Kid’s house, going to the mall or even going to Virginia Beach together. Amos took a different approach, though, and talked about the Kid simply enjoying observing the Ant in his own natural habitat. The judges liked how quiet and contemplative this essay was.
View Amos’ Essay

Third Grade Winner:
Charles (Charlie) Parsons of Lincoln, Nebraska

On the first pass this creative essay made the judges laugh. We loved the concept of a snake that could “only be killed by bears.” On a second reading, the judges realized that Charlie had his character confront the decision not once, but twice. And in doing so, made the Kid to re-access his friendships. Very well imagined and very well written.
View Charlie’s Essay


VIEW Essay Challenge Website & Honorable Mentions

VIEW Photos from the Judging Process