Art competition aims to put a smile on children's faces

The Children's Bookshow and Tes have teamed up to launch a fun art competition called What Makes You Smile

Dan Worth

The What Makes You Smile art competition is for pupils aged 5 to 11

Pupils from around the UK are being invited to take part in a fun art competition being run by The Children's Bookshow, in association with Tes, called What Makes You Smile.

The idea is for children to create artwork of what makes them smile using any materials they want: pencils, crayons, paints, coloured pencils, felt tips, a collage…anything goes.

These artworks can then be submitted to The Children’s Bookshow, with the best illustrations being displayed on its website and promoted on social media.

Two lucky winners will receive art materials worth £150 as well as a copy of Tell Me A Picture by Quentin Blake. They will also win £200 worth of picture books for their school. (See full entry details below)

Winners will be chosen by children’s books writer and illustrator Jessica Souhami, whose books are published by Frances Lincoln and Otter-Barry Books.

Making art fun for pupils

As part of the project, The Children’s Bookshow has also asked 10 illustrators from all around the world to provide an illustration of what makes them smile to help provide inspiration and a talking point for teachers and pupils.

The first drawing, released today, is by Satoshi Kitamura, which you can see above. A new drawing will be released each day from now until Friday 2 October on The Children's Bookshow website.

Other illustrators taking part include: Victoria Semykina, from Russia; François Place, from France; and Jun Takabatake, from Japan, who said he hoped the project would help to put a smile on children's and adults' faces alike

"Using my imagination makes me smile. Why don't you try it? Using your imagination is fun. Try drawing what comes up or writing it down in words. I'm sure the results will make everyone around you smile, too," he added.

Jo Daley, a primary school teacher and part of The Children's Bookshow team, said the hope was that the illustrations from the artists would help to spark discussions about why the artists have used these ideas for their artworks and get children thinking creatively.

"Teachers can choose whether to use the pictures simply as a positive and heart-warming start to each day, providing opportunities for discussion and reflection, or to incorporate them into lesson planning, using the teaching ideas which will be provided with each picture on our website"

The small print

There are two categories that can be entered:

  • Key stage 1
  • Key stage 2

Entrants must be resident in the UK and aged between 5 and 11 years old.

The closing date of the competition is 23 October 2020 and winners will be announced on 1 December 2020.

Entries should be emailed to

or sent by post to

The Children’s Bookshow
9A Peploe Road

Entries must include: the child's name, age and, most importantly, the name and address of the school. Teachers emailing multiple entries should label each file with the child’s name, key stage and age.

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Dan Worth

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