Young Authors’ Competition 2020

Young Authors’ Competition 2020

Young Authors' Competition winners announced

Young Authors’ Competition 2020

Thank you thank you thank you from all of us at Fonetti HQ and our judges.

You have blown us away with your amazing talent and incredible stories.

We received nearly 100 entries. And most of these were written during term-time and all the distractions of home-school and lockdown – which made every story even more impressive.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write and share your story.

And here’s a quick message to you from Greg James, one of our judges:

We’re so excited to announce the winners

Not only have we chosen a winner for each of the five illustrations, we’ve also chosen an overall winner too. And the good news doesn’t stop there.

Because the standard of your writing was so high, and as we were so impressed with your creativity, we’re also recognising our runners up and a small number of highly-commended stories.


So, drumroll please…here’s Clare Balding to announce the winners:

Up to 9 years of age 


Emily Compton
“How Elephant met Moon”


Mia Boyd
“Horrifying Hazel”


Guru Kashyap
“Greeny the Caring Tree”


Nitya Sharma
“Magic or Science”


Anna Deatcher
“The Fun Fight”


Avyaya Iyer
“The Watering Cowboys”


Arran Wallace
“Funny Bones”


Seth Traczykowski
“The Darkest Night”


Georgia Taylor
“In Your Hands”


Lucy McGhie
“A Day at My Mum’s Surgery”

In recognition of brilliant writing talent, these phenomenal young authors have all been highly commended for their stories:

Phoebe Allan
Sebastian Browning
Kieron Cuthbertson
Alice Edwards
Amelie Harries
Eve Maisie Mackison
Amelia Thomas

If you’re one of the lucky winners we’ll be in touch with you over the next few days. We’d love to hear your thoughts on winning and to let you know what happens next as your stories are illustrated by the great Angus Bungay and published on Fonetti.

It was incredibly hard for our judges to choose the winners. If you weren’t chosen this time you should still be immensely proud of your work. With such a high standard of writing we’re excited about the future authors amongst you.

So much so, we’re already planning our next competition – so keep an eye on these pages, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information soon.

So, congratulations to Georgia, Anna, Emily, Guru, Arran, Mia, Seth, Lucy, Avyaya, Nitya, Eve, Amelia, Phoebe, Sebastian, Alice, Kieron and Amelie and thank you all once again.

The Judges

Stories were judged by these phenomenal writers:

Clare Balding

Clare Balding

National treasure, broadcaster and author of ‘My Animals and Other Family’

Francesca Simon (author approved)

Francesca Simon

Author of the famous Horrid Henry series

Greg James

Greg James

Radio DJ, TV presenter and co-author of the popular Kid Normal series

Chris Smith - credit Jenny Smith

Chris Smith

Radio presenter and co-author of the popular Kid Normal series

Why Listening Books?

Why Listening Books?

Listening Books

Why Listening Books?

How interactive reading is more than just a trend

They’re fun, mobile and interactive but could Listening Books™ just be a fad? The short answer is no. Listening Books are improving literacy by promoting reading aloud. And they’re here to stay. So much more than the latest app trending, Fonetti is an extension of a home and school library that ignites a love of reading.

It’s only natural that storytelling evolves over time. In one way, ‘Listening Books™’ have always existed as humans have listened to stories since time began. From tales told orally around campfires to books borrowed from libraries and audio books listened to through headphones – it’s not the stories themselves that change, just the way we interact with them.

Printed books are still the number one when it comes to reading but many publishers understand their audience crave more interactive ways of bringing stories to life.

Audiobook downloads via QR code are popular on printed picture books and eBooks have also earned their place in the book market.

But there’s a reading revolution taking the world by storm and redefining storytelling. One that shares stories in an entertaining and educational way.

A new format in the world of books. One where the pages are voice-activated and full of adventure.

Introducing the Listening Book™

What makes Listening Books™ so different to eBooks? There are lots of similarities between the two. Both are digitally based and rely on technology to be opened. But by their nature they’re a convenient commodity.

Children can take eBooks and Listening Books™ with them on journeys, holidays, hospital visits and to school – anywhere there’s power and WIFI. Both are interactive – like a cartoon that kids can read to themselves.

And both save space in your home as you don’t need large bookshelves to store them. Digital books have grown in popularity since Covid. Stories don’t need sterilising or putting in quarantine so favourite characters and tales are still available in abundance.

They both sound ideal, don’t they?

But that’s where the similarities end.

Click on an image above to expand it

Listening Books™ boost literacy

Imagine an eBook that improves pronunciation, develops vocabulary and builds confidence. One that takes reading to a whole new level – the Listening Book™. Listening Books™ provide safe and secure story time via a screen.

They’re voice activated, so the pages are powered by pronunciation, positivity and the practise of reading aloud.

And they’re exclusive to Fonetti – The world’s first Listening Bookshop.

How do they work?

Children choose a story from Fonetti’s shelves and start reading. It’s as simple as that. When they get the words right, they turn green, if they get stuck, they double tap for pronunciation tips. When they complete a story, they earn rewards and gain access to different reading levels as they progress.

The benefits of Fonetti Listening Books™

With Fonetti, children develop key communication skills for life. Not only do they develop a love of reading but they build their confidence reading aloud. They learn how much power their voice has, not just to communicate but to make things happen.

Developed with linguists at the University of Edinburgh, Fonetti recognises every UK accent and dialect. It also identifies children reading English as a second language or those with SEND needs. For children with dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, a speech impediment or those who are painfully shy, reading aloud in the classroom can incite fear and put unnecessary pressure on young shoulders that should be enjoying reading.

Fonetti makes reading fun.

Children can read independently and enjoy the luxury of taking their own time to pronounce a word. To practise reading over and over again and boost their confidence at the same time.

Unlike eBooks, Listening Books™ provide:

  • Fun and interaction through gamification – all the fun of a tablet game with an educational foundation
  • Feedback – parents and teachers receive updates on which stories a child has read, how often, which words they’ve found tricky, how many times a book has been chosen and what level the reader has progressed to
  • Rewards – kids receive incentives and praise for their efforts to encourage them to keep reading and reach the next level of stories
  • Practise – of pronunciation without an audience, peers or parents
  • Confidence-building technology and independent reading for children aged 4+
  • New stories from well-loved authors as well as those making their debut
  • Classic fairy tales and contemporary favourites

Accredited by the Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds Campaign as an approved platform for children to practise their reading, Fonetti is a valuable resource in school and at home.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RSSLT) supports the Hungry Little Minds campaign as it celebrates apps that focus on harnessing language and communication.

Fonetti is dedicated to improving children’s literacy – but by giving children the ability to read aloud – independently, the Fonetti Listening Books nurture vital communication skills for life.

Open a Fonetti Listening Book™ today and experience the future of reading first-hand.

Halloween Hunt

Halloween Hunt

Halloween Hunt

There’s something in the air…cooler weather, darker nights and crackling branches. Halloween is coming. If you look closely you might see the orange glow shining from pumpkin patches – lanterns waiting to be picked.

You might spot bats darting in the night sky. And if you open Fonetti you’ll see trick or treat is still very much happening this Halloween.

Hidden inside six of our stories are some petrifying pumpkins…

the question is which ones?

For the chance to win a Android tablet, simply search our stories for six pumpkins and drop us a message to, stating in which book and on what page they appeared.

But hurry, the competition closes at midnight on 31st October.

Sadsville is available for FREE on the Fonetti app

Sadsville is available for FREE on the Fonetti app

Sadsville is available for FREE on the Fonetti app

Author and TV Presenter Martin Roberts is launching a new initiative for schools with the ‘Sadsville‘ story from ‘The Villes’ series, from October 5th.  Not only will every UK primary school and 4,000 libraries receive a copy, Sadsville will also be available as an interactive listening book exclusively on Fonetti for children to read at home.

Covid has impacted children considerably and the extent of this may not be realised for some time. Child depression, anxiety and sadness is on the increase as a result and Martin hopes his story can support children and encourage them to ask for help.

Sadsville tackles the theme of child sadness through a story, written to raise awareness of the fantastic work of Childline and the NSPCC. Aimed particularly at children in Year 4 (8 and 9 year olds), Sadsville opens a discussion about emotional issues and reassures children that help is always at hand. Together with Fonetti, Sadsville will support schools as they gently welcome pupils back into class. The launch also coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10th.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC explains:

“Sadsville introduces children to problem solving and explains that you can be sad for a number of different reasons and encourages them to have the confidence to seek help. The number of additional children using the Childline service as a direct result of this initiative could be highly significant.”

Teachers will also receive additional lesson plan resources to support their school. Over 70% of children who’ve already read Sadsville, when surveyed, revealed that they felt ‘better able to cope with sadness’ as a result of reading the book.

We are delighted to be able to support The Martin Roberts Foundation by providing Sadsville on the Fonetti App, totally free of charge.

It is our aim to help founder Martin Roberts achieve his personal vision, to provide a copy of Sadsville into the hands of as many children as practically possible, and our digital technology provides the perfect platform, especially in the current climate.

There has never been a more critical time to support our children and their mental wellbeing. We are proud to have been given the opportunity to partner in the project and to play a small part in this grand ambition.

Fonetti is coming to Android very soon

Fonetti is coming to Android very soon

Fonetti is coming to Android very soon

Something exciting is coming – and you can be the first to experience it. Fonetti is launching on Android – so every tablet will be able to access our wonderful world of words.

Not only does this mean you can enjoy Fonetti at home but we’re also supporting schools across the country that use non-Apple devices in their classrooms.

Shelves overflowing with stories – all yours to choose from – with just one swipe of the screen. Listening books™ that build confidence, boost literacy and transform young imaginations in minutes.

Find out first

Right now we’re busy testing our titles and screening our software for bugs before we go live.

To be the first to use Fonetti on Android, simply fill in the form below. We’ll email you first when the app’s live so you, or your school, can access a library overflowing with adventures.

Sign up to be one of the first to hear when we launch on Android

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