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[June 11th 2019]

A new venture for
the Kipling Society

The first object of the Society is to promote the reading and appreciation of Kipling's works, so we are keen to do all possible to encourage an interest in his stories and poems among the younger generation.

Kipling is one of the world's great writers for young people, with the Just So Stories and their accompanying poems for little children, the Jungle Books, which many people have encountered in childhood and never forgotten, and many stories and poems which can be read with profit and pleasure by people of all ages.

We have established the John Slater Memorial prize for Sixth-forms, but we feel it will be well worthwhile to do more to reach younger children, and encourage and support Kipling-related activity in their classrooms and outside them. To help make this happen we are keen to establish a network of interested teachers so that we can be guided by their experience, hence this web-site.

Writing with Kipling


The John Slater Competition


Mary Hamer writes:This has been a creative writing prize for children who will be in Year 5 from September 2018 to July 2019, run by The Kipling Society. Entering continues to give teachers and children enormous pleasure and has provoked some brilliant work: see the examples to the right.


It is for an original story of roughly 500 words inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s stories for children, in particular his Just So Stories for Little Children.

The prizes

The 1st prize is £50 of book tokens for the winning child and £150 or its value in books or book tokens for the child’s school. There are 2nd and 3rd prizes of lower value. A £10 book token is given for the winning entry from each school.


We asked each teacher to sift the entries from a different school, selecting the top 5 from that batch, with choices forwarded to the Society shortly after the Easter Holidays in April.

The top two entries from each school were chosen by members of the Council of the Kipling Society and forwarded to the judge, the writer Laura Freeman. Previous judges have been the children’s authors Ros Asquith and Lee Weatherly, and the novelist David Mitchell.


The stories have been judged according to the way in which the story has engaged with Kipling’s writing in order to produce an original piece of work. Specifically, the stories will be judged for:
  • Plot
  • Character
  • Language
  • Enjoyment
  • Originality


The Hamilton Education Trust (https://www.hamilton-trust.org.uk/) has generously given permission for us to give schools special access to their materials for teaching Kipling to year 5. The material on the Just So Stories features in weeks 2 and 3 of the plan (some of the materials focus on The Jungle Book. {Some of the materials focus on The Jungle Book which is not relevant for this year’s prize)

We hope that our notes on Just So Stories , and the New Readers' Guide more generally, also stimulate ideas.

Angela Eyre writes: When the Society first started thinking about a creative writing prize for primary school children we were delighted to discover that children in Prettygate Junior School in Colchester had already been using the Just So Stories as inspiration to write their own.

Nathan Crame, Deputy Head of Prettygate, writes:
In Year 5 last year (2014), we planned to teach a unit of work, as per the new National Curriculum, to cover Classic Fiction. We found the Trust plans and resources for teaching classic fiction through the work of Rudyard Kipling to be engaging, interesting, challenging and ultimately fulfilling.

We started by looking at excerpts from The Jungle Book and "Rikki-tikki Tavi", quickly moving onto Just So Stories. We had a range of texts, audio files and video clips in order to make the stories appealing to all the pupils. Emphasis was placed on the fun and inventiveness of the stories, not only for the imaginative narrative but the playful use of language as well. Having read several of the Just So tales, the children were so excited to hear that they would be able to choose their own animal to research and write about, and decide how it came by its distinctive feature.

We have two classes of 32 in each year group, but last year we decided to split Year 5 into three sets for English and Maths - I taught the top groups of 18 pupils in each subject, so these stories were written by the most able Year 5s last year. 3 or 4 of these students may gain places at local grammar schools, and approx 10-12 are working above age-related expectations.

The current Year 5s are working in two mixed ability classes this year. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about Kipling last year and I was delighted with the pupils' responses. We were very pleased to be approached by Angela at the Kipling Society to discuss the concept of a writing prize and I look forward to hearing how the profile of Rudyard Kipling is raised amongst other 10 year olds as the year goes on. [N.C.]
Prettygate School have very kindly agreed to let us put some of these stories up on this site. We think they are great and that Kipling would have thoroughly approved.

Just So Stories
for Little Children, September 1902

Prizewinning tale, 2017

Prizewinning Tales, July 2016

  • "How the Baboon Got his Bottom" by Ismael Guissous, Greenleaf Primary School, Walthamstow, London '...extremely funny and inventive, wholly original' (Ros Asquith)

  • "How the frilled-necked got his frill by Seb Jensen, North Primary School, Colchester '..brings Kipling up to date with chilled monkeys and space-stations.' (Ros Asquith)

  • "How the Tiger Got Stripes" by Sude-Poppy Belcher, St Margaret's C. of E. Primary School, Rottingdean

  • "How the Dragon Got his Flame" by Martha Morgan, Greenleaf Primary School

  • Also highly commended: Kameron Mills (Brampton), Finn Rattray (Prettygate), Anisa Ahmed (North), Mary Jane Goodwin (St Margaret's, Poppy Rolfe (Prettygate), Frank Thorpe (Brampton).

Tales from Prettygate Junior School, 2014

More possibilities for this site ?

  • more lists of relevant stories and poems with links to notes and the text
  • interesting work being done in schools
  • ideas for further development
  • materials for downloaing
  • a schools forum
  • international comparisons
  • text of the stories and poems, pictures, music ...
  • possibilities for competitions
  • any ideas from you ???

We will be most interested to have your involvement in a project that we feel will be an important new departure for the Kipling Society.

Angela Eyre (kiplinginschools@gmail.com), Mary Hamer (mhamer@ontel.com), John Walker (jwawalker@gmail.com), and John Radcliffe (johnrad@btinternet.com)

The Just So poems

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