It's no Pulitzer Prize, but for aspiring authors between five and twelve years old, the 11th Annual Young Writers Contest is a strong start. The competition invites fresh talent to submit works of fiction, poetry and biography to the Reading Reptile (328 West 63rd Street) or any Johnson County Library Children's Desk by January 15. A panel of judges -- including Kansas City's nationally published children's book authors and illustrators, such as Lisa Campbell Ernst, Brad Sneed, Jenny Whitehead, Eric Brace, Dan and Dana Regan, Bob Kolar and Laura Huliska-Beith -- will select the winning entries on February 6. The eight winners will receive certificates of recognition and pieces of original artwork illustrating their winning stories. Visit readingreptile.com for complete rules and an entry form. For more information, call 816-753-0441.-- Michael Vennard
We don't know anything about Scottish dancing except that it's not the kind of dancing seen in Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. That's Irish dancing. What's the difference? Find out at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Lackman Branch of the Johnson County Public Library (15345 West 87th Street in Lenexa). As far as we can tell, the Irish dancers bend and lift their knees more, whereas the Scots tend to keep their knees straight when they kick. Join the Lackman staff as they delve into the history of Scottish dancing and the origins of its centuries-old steps. To register, call 913-495-7540.-- Vennard
Get your kids some culture.
Some kids like playing on playgrounds. Others prefer to draw. Hell, some kids enjoy sitting down for tea with imaginary friends named Fanny and Louise. It takes all kinds. So even though you love football all day every day, it's possible that your kid would rather attend a class called Fun With Clay than get tackled ... again.
Kids' classes at Carnegie Arts Center (601 South Fifth Street in Leavenworth, 913-651-0765) begin this week. Fun With Clay for five- to seven-year-olds would be our top pick -- it involves a big mess. The first session is at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Second choice: Beginning Hand Puppets, for ages four through kindergarten, beginning at 11:15 a.m. Thursday. With a tutorial from your youngster, you could do some hilarious, Comedy Central-inspired puppet shows. And then there's Tot Dance, because what could be funnier than watching a bunch of eighteen-month-old to three-year-old kids trying to shake it?-- Gina Kaufmann