What It's Like to Win the Bedtime Story Competition

We have been running the Bedtime Story Competition for four years now and that means we have awarded three young writers the grand prize of seeing their story turned into a real published book! We spoke to our latest winner 7-year-old Tom Burlison, author of the fun and creative story, The Incredible Journey, to see just how amazing this experience has been for him. 

Why did you enter?

I entered because my mum told me about the competition and she said the prize would be to become an author and I thought that would be good.

How did you write your story?

It took a few days to plan and a week to write over half term. We used the activity sheets from the website because I hadn't written a story before. I used the opposites activity and that made me think up Elliot who has no imagination and Ruby who has a big imagination and helps Elliot's imagination grow. Every time I travel to school I see a tree that looks like a dinosaur egg so that gave me the idea to write about things on the way to school. Every day of the half term I picked one object to write about and made something up. The stick which turns into a witch's broom was the first one.

What's your favourite part of your story?

The bit where the elephant sneezes out the bottle out of his trunk! It makes me laugh.

How does it feel to know you're one of the UK's youngest authors?

It's really exciting!

How did you find out you had won?

When Alex Gregory came into my school and read my story. I didn't know he was there to do it. I thought he was there to read his book. When he started reading I thought it was a coincidence that his story was similar to mine! Then when I realised I was pretty shocked and freaked out because I realised I was going to be an author!

What It's Like to Win the Bedtime Story Competition

What was it like working with the publishers, Little Tiger and the illustrator, Sara Sanchez?

I'd seen some of the drawings before I went into their offices and thought they were really cool. I had to write some new bits to add to the story, like the bit with the elephant. I looked at the other books they had on their bookshelves for some inspiration. I read about Nibbles the book monster and that helped me think up some new things. I also wanted to add details to the drawings so asked for the cat in the window and a bobble hat not a cap. I got to sign off everything which was really cool.

How have your friends and classmates reacted?

They were really happy and proud of me. They got lots of books as part of my prize so they liked that! They're all going to enter the next round of the competition!

How do you feel about other children reading your bedtime story?

I'm nervous and excited. I think they're going to enjoy it!

Do you think you'll have a writing career now you're a published author?

I've got some more ideas for spy stories and underwater adventures!

How do you feel about your book raising lots of money for Save The Children?

It makes me proud because it will raise money for children who need help. I didn't think a 7-year-old could help raise so much money and make a difference.


Don't forget to get your copy of The Incredible Journey when the book goes on sale on the 16th June. At least 35% of the proceeds from each book sold will be going to our partner charity, Save the Children. If you know a young writer aged between 5 and 11 who would love to see their story transformed into a published book, make sure they enter our Bedtime Story Competition 2019.

  • BSIJ 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £4.99
    We are so excited to be sharing Tom Burlison's The Incredible Journey - the winner of The Book People's Bedtime Story Competition 2018.

    Seven-year-old Tom's tale is a fun and inspiring bedtime story about the power of imagination and friendship. The two main characters, Elliot and Ruby, have many adventures: they travel through puddle portals to pirate lands, find parts of an alien spacecraft, and get chased by dinosaurs - all on their walk to school as their imaginations unlock a world of possibilities!

    Tom's story was selected as the winner of our Bedtime Story Competition 2018 out of over 1000 entries from children aged between 5 and 11. A panel of judges that included Olympic Gold medallist and Dadventures author Alex Gregory and Sara Sanchez, the illustrator of the winning book chose Tom's story because it is funny, clever and it shows how imagination can transform the way a child looks at the world.

    At least 35% of the price of the book will be donated to Save the Children, a charity that fights every single day for children's futures. Sold exclusively through us at theBookPeople.co.uk, Tom's book features illustrations from top children's book illustrator Sara Sanchez and is published by Little Tiger.

    Please note that this book is exempt from all promotions due to its charitable donation.

    If you think you know a child who could be our next published author then head to our competition page to encourage your children to enter their stories about feelings.