skip to Main Content

We love getting to see the work and artistry of our students! To celebrate their achievements, we host the FINISH LINE contest at the end of the academic year, where we award prizes in several categories. Click on the cover photo to read the magazine. Enjoy!

All magazines shared with permission. Copyright of student authors asserted.

These are not presented in a particular order. Where a student won special recognition, the award is noted.

Outdoor Adventures

By Dallas R.

Age 14, in Michigan

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2019 Finish Line contest. A magazine that evidences obvious effort, and the visual presentation is well done too. There is a lot to love inside—a fantastic ballad, an excellent product review, and a how-to article on trapping that shows real attention to the different needs of his audience. But perhaps most notable is his skill with short stories, especially the crash survival story from the point of view of a tree nearby. His stories successfully use more “story beats” than a short story usually can sustain.

Dallas has listed photo credits in the inside cover.


By Avarie J.

Age 12, in Texas

“Outstanding Work” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. We are especially impressed by Avarie’s great article about Kitty O’Neill, “It Was Fun.” We also want to commend her for an excellent last line in her poem “Timeless Memories” and for her very interesting nonfiction article about building a to-scale race car out of wood!

Avarie would like to credit her two older sisters and her mother as editors of her magazine.


By Samson K.

Age 13, in Illinois

“Outstanding Work” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. The standout element of this over-all excellent magazine is Samson’s review of Mary Poppins Returns; it reads like a professional review, the voice is not forced, and his word choices evoke clear images in the mind! The interview Samson wrote up is also really cool, we enjoyed the short stories, and his monkey ballad is great. Special commendation on visuals, but what we commend more is that the content matches the visual excellence.

Samson would like to credit his older brother for helping to edit, his mom for both editing and help with layout, and his dad for showing him how the software worked.

Pests and Proboscises

By Katie Y.

Age 12, in Florida

“Outstanding Work” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. We love Katie’s article “Protecting Your Monarchs.” There is such a sense of joy in it and of her interest in insects. This one clear and purposeful piece conveys the flavor of the whole magazine. The reader can relax in the confidence that the magazine editor is an expert and enjoy learning something new. What clear, informed writing without being dry! That’s quite an accomplishment!

Katie used and properly credited Creative Commons for several photos in her magazine. She also credits her mother, Kristin, for some graphics and layout assistance. All have been properly attributed/credited.

The Game Cupboard

By Nathan M.

Age 14, in Tennessee

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2018 Finish Line contest. What great integration of theme into every part of the magazine! An all-around great magazine, but especially noteworthy are “Rising From the Dust”—one of the most fascinating and well-written biographical pieces we’ve seen in a student magazine—and “The Game Shop”—a story with a very clever arc!

Nathan would like to credit his mom for the back cover photo.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

The Wonder Wanderer

By Nicole S.

Age 15, in British Columbia, Canada

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Nicole does an amazing job of matching theme and content—what a great example of taking advantage of unique opportunities to write a cool magazine! She also does a good job illustrating her theme with photos. Her end credits made us all laugh!

The Current

By Paige W.

Age 13, in Florida

The Current won “Best in Show” in our 2016 Finish Line contest! Paige impressed us by how much she stays on theme. She really took ownership of the magazine, adding a note from the editor, etc.! And it is also nicely formatted. It’s an all-around good, fun magazine with plenty of personal and humorous touches. If we have a favorite among the articles inside, it would be her “Wish Fish” poem—it made us laugh!

Dogs 339

By Dustin R.

Age 12, in Michigan

Dustin wrote a terrific nonfiction article about Project FIDO. The opening and closing paragraphs are very strong, and he has integrated quotes skillfully. It’s a fine example of how an article doesn’t have to be lengthy to be informative. This isn’t the only part of his magazine that stands out to us. The straight-faced humor of Dustin’s review of the Pampered Pooch Restaurant & Spa is gold. Dustin also imaginatively captures a dog’s point of view in a very fun short story called “Moose’s Adventure,” and the comic strip is hilarious. We would subscribe to this informative but lighthearted magazine!

Brothers in Arms

By Isaiah W.

Age 12, in Florida

“Highlight Magazine” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. We are very impressed by the amount of work that went into taking photos to enhance the articles, especially in terms of setting up rather complicated shots! Definitely a lot of passion and attention to detail from this young man!

Isaiah credits his mother for help with the layout design and some photographs. Credits are listed in the magazine.

The Gamer’s Guide to Minecraft

By Jack L.

Age 12, in British Columbia, Canada

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. We particularly love Jack’s haiku “Farewell”! Jack’s magazine has a fun layout and theme, and we enjoyed all the creative variations on Jack’s name in the contributor names.


Brick by Brick

By Kaitlyn K.

Age 14, in Kansas

A lot imagination and care went into this magazine! Kaitlyn worked Lego into every part of the magazine in a natural way, and each piece is polished and easy to follow. We especially like her review of the Lego Tacos restaurant—super clever! Kaitlyn is good at “Story beats.” The stories are detailed and well paced, and the ending of her “Stepping Foot on Sharpness” story is pithy!


Flight to Fantasy

By Cora B.

Age 13, in Ohio

“Highlight Magazine” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. Cora’s “Dear Editors/Dear Reader” section made us laugh out loud! What a great writing voice! We are so delighted by it that we decided to change one of the contests in the 2019–2020 school year to feature letters to the editor! Cora’s great comedic timing is evident in other parts of her magazine as well, especially her short story “A Stop at the BMF” and her advertisement for a Ring of Power, both of which have absolutely stellar last lines!

Photo Credit: Cora’s mother; Clipart Credit: Microsoft Office

Rehabbers Journal

By Jona S.

Age 13, in Virgin Islands

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2018 Finish Line contest. One of the most unusual themes we’ve encountered, and handled so well! The short story “Promise of Tomorrow” is chock-full of fascinating, precise details. We’re guessing Jona has a lot of personal experience with bird rehabilitation. The other short stories are similarly well-executed, and Jona used the “Dear Editor” section to follow up on the stories by bringing them around to real life. Great work!

Jona’s photo credits: Photos downloaded from internet.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

Adventures for Boys

By Tidus P.

Age 14, in California

Adventures for Boys was a “Spotlight Magazine” in our 2018 Finish Line contest! We had such a wonderful time reading “The Metal Mollusk” short story—what a wild ride from start to finish! Our staff enjoyed it so much that we read parts out loud to each other. The article on how to catch a frog and eat its legs is also very clear and informative, although we probably won’t test it for ourselves!

Ballet Student Yearly

By Audra B.

Age 12, in Ohio

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. We particularly love Audra’s outstanding editorial voice, her haiku “The Dance of Autumn,” and her terrific article on Victoria Morgan!

Audra’s photo credits: Photos in article “Victoria Morgan” are from Other photos of dancers, etc., from clip art, google, yahoo, and my family.


By Annalise B.

Age 12, in Arizona

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2018 Finish Line contest. We really like Annalise’s blog piece on ping-pong. It is compelling, informative, and well-written, and the accompanying tutorial about crafting a ping-pong paddle is one of the best how-to articles we’ve ever seen! Overall, a very cohesive magazine!

Press On

By Emily K.

Age 13, in Kansas

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Emily’s interview-based article, “Coming a Long Way” is our special favorite! The prose is beautiful, and it’s a wonderfully executed journalistic piece.

Emily wishes to credit her parents for helping her with layout.

Artistic Expressions

By Abby I.

Age 13, in Georgia

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2018 Finish Line contest! We love Abby’s review of Old South Restaurant. It is truly excellent—and Abby’s mom told us the owners of the restaurant love it, too! We’re not at all surprised! Abby also added lots of fun extras like a crossword puzzle, a comic, and a featured artist.


Redefining the Norm

By Kelly V.

Age 14, in Alberta, Canada

Kelly had two pieces recognized in the “Highlight Piece” category in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Her “Serum” advertisement is a great example of an ad based on a felt need—Mr. S. says he will be the first customer if Kelly ever invents this!—and her movie review is beautifully-worded.

Movie poster photo credit, click here. Soccer photo and sunset photo credit: Kelly’s mom

Outdoor Survival

By Kaleb M.

Age 14, in Oregon

Kaleb’s review of The MRE (“meal ready to eat”) was a “Highlight Piece” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Wonderfully vivid language and a fun idea of something to review!

Kaleb wishes to credit his mom for helping him.

Big Cats Today

By Sarah M.

Age 12, in Kansas

Sarah’s limerick, “Ryan,” was a “Highlight Piece” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. We all thought it wonderful! This magazine theme is a great example of a theme that is specific but not too narrow. Nice work, Sarah!

All photos of real animals taken from the Encyclopedia of Mammals, A Comprehensive Illustrated Guide by Animal Experts, 2nd edition, Copyright 1998.

Barking Mad About Dogs

By Esther L.

Age 13, in British Columbia, Canada

That Esther is indeed barking mad about dogs is without a doubt! This is definitely a magazine for anyone who loves to admire pictures of cute dogs. We like how Esther made her recipe article work with her theme, but our favorite part of her magazine is the “Exclusive Story,” which demonstrates a great writing voice. The dog main character, who also tells the story, is very believable and relatable.

Esther’s photo credits: Google and Unsplash

Fight and Flight Magazine

By Uriah L.

Age 15, in Alaska

We really enjoyed reading the interview Uriah wrote up. His short story has an impressive degree of detail and context, and he did well with creating suspense. We expected to find out at the end that it was based on a true story, but it wasn’t! One of our favorite aspects of Uriah’s magazine is the way he explained his chosen theme. The themes of many Cover Story magazines are self-explanatory, but Uriah has gone for a more metaphorical approach.

Uriah wants to credit his parents and his sister, Jordan Rose, for help with editing and layout of the magazine. All photos are from within his family, except the one showing Uriah in front of a red, hot knife blade, which was taken by Master Bladesmith Haley DesRosier.


By Tristan P.

Age 12, in California

Tristan has penned some very clever poems for his magazine, and although a wonderful front cover is not a course assignment, we LOVE this dynamic and colorful cover! In his “Alfan, an All-Star?” short story, Tristan has achieved a good arc of character change as well!


A Pet’s Life

By Danielle H.

Age 13, in Illinois

Danielle’s clever, shaped cinquain, “Christmas Morning,” was a “Highlight Piece” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. And who can resist the dog on the cover?

For Service Dog Photo (licensed under Creative Commons), click here. All other pictures are CCO Public Domain, no attribution required for Danielle’s own pictures.

The Contemporary Christian

By Caleb N.

Age 12, in Alabama

Caleb’s magazine showcases not just enthusiasm for his topic but some fine writing as well. The cover story, which is based on an interview, is especially good handling of material. The way he organizes ideas and facts in his nonfiction articles works very well, and the creativity is a good fit for his theme too. Pacing in his stories, whether they are fiction or nonfiction is very strong! Well done, Caleb!

Ballet Magazine

By Chiara D.

Age 12, in Arizona

Chiara did a great job laying out her magazine in a way that was relaxing to read. We especially enjoy the “Ballerina Fuel” how-to article and her “Dr. Coppelius’ Mistake” poem.

Photo Credit: Student’s friend, Student’s mother; Ballet Studio: Ballet Etudes, Gilbert, AZ

Nature Through a Lens

By Annalies H.

Age 13, in Ontario, Canada

Annelies’s Advice Column is one of the strongest examples we have read since Cover Story released. She hit on a great question for her theme and then did a wonderful job going the extra mile in answering it. Clever magazine title as well!

Annelies took most of the nature pictures herself. The rest of the pictures are free-use ones from and Her mom helped with the layout.

The Technology of Computers

By Dominic L.

Age 15, in Minnesota

Our favorite part of Dominic’s magazine is the fantastic first line of his interview-based article! We are always thrilled when a student conducts a live interview with someone outside of their immediate family for this assignment.

Dominic wishes to credit his mom for helping him.

National Gymnastics Magazine

By Jake S.

Age 14, in Texas

Jake really impressed us with the unexpected nuance in his short story. Very nice! We also loved his theme!


Food and Fun

By Amber W.

Age 14, in Minnesota

Amber’s poem, “The Vultures,” is hilarious and clever! Her haiku, “Elegance; Disaster” is also very well done.

Alas, all three hundred Magic Plates were sold by the time we clicked on her advertisement.

Mystery Magazine

By Summer B.

Age 14, in Oklahoma

Summer has a knack for intriguing, creative story openers. Her short stories also demonstrate wonderful pacing. Very nice work, Summer! Her haiku “Hidden bones shiver” won 1st Place in the 2016 Snapshots contest.

For all the photos used, Summer and her family attempted to make sure they were public domain images.

Sweet Treats

By Elizabeth C.

Age 13, in Michigan

Elizabeth makes a great effort to develop her theme. She understands that a magazine about baking needs more recipes than anything else—and she includes some good ones, each with a personal comment or anecdote. Her short story about baking cookies shows great use of dramatic irony.

By the time we invited Elizabeth to be included on this Showcase, she couldn’t remember where she got some of the artwork in her magazine. She wishes to communicate all due respect to the artists and would gladly attribute where appropriate.

Middle School Magazine

By Clayton P.

Age 11, in Washington

Clayton’s “The Evils of Baby Shows” is a superb humor piece! We also really enjoyed his review of the Infinity Ring series. Clayton’s mom wrote to tell us that “He had absolutely no help.” What you see in his magazine is 100 percent his own effort.
Way to go, Clayton!

There are no images or other items that need to be credited.

Our Universe

By Justin S.

Age 10, in Cayman Islands

Really enjoyable theme! Justin created his Cover Story magazine while he was still under the minimum age recommendation of eleven. We’re impressed!

Photo credits are listed in the magazine. Justin wrote all content himself, and arranged all the layout of the magazine with a little bit of guidance from his mother.


By Rachel E.

Age 14, in Kansas

Do magazines about food have an unfair advantage in the judging process? Maybe so! It’s hard not to like a magazine full of such delicious food! Rachel did a wonderful job with her “Dear Editor” section. It’s very realistic! The stew meat recipe was creative and clearly written, and Rachel used an interesting theme for her “Grandma’s Kitchen” short story.

Photo credits: Laura E. (Rachel’s mom)

Fantasy World Monthly

By Onycha S.

Age 11, in Wisconsin

Onycha’s delightful found poem, “BB-8,” really brought a smile to our faces. We also want to compliment her on the beautiful prose in “Amazing but True: A Portal Near You.” Comparing a library and its books to portals is a clever idea!

Onycha does a great job carrying out her theme through the whole magazine.

The Gamer’s Guide to Terraria

By Daniel L.

Age 13, in British Columbia, Canada

Daniel has created a solid hobby magazine! His own familiarity with the game’s mechanics is evident and lends weight to his insights. We enjoyed the visuals, which clearly took a lot of work, but we think the highlight of this magazine is the ballad. His mother may have helped with the meter, but it’s the clever ideas in the ballad that especially stood out to us!

Daniel would like to give credit to his older brother, Jack, for help with research and for layout suggestions, and his mother for help with the meter for his ballad.

The Nature Lover Magazine

By Emily N.

Age 12, in Nova Scotia, Canada

Emily added some extra features to her magazine, really going the extra mile! We found it both fun to read and informative! We want to particularly comment on her beautiful poem, “The River,” and the wonderful letter she wrote to author Pamela Hickman—what a lovely response she got! A hand-written letter is a great way to encourage someone to respond!

The PDF changed some of her photo and design details, but overall Emily is happy with how it turned out. All literature, photography, and art are her own creative works (except for a few public images found on the Internet, which are all non-copyrighted).

Beavers 101

By Eve M.

Age 12, in Alberta, Canada

What a really creative theme! Eve did such a great job carrying her theme through the whole magazine. This is an example of a theme that could have been a bit too narrow, but Eve’s evident personal passion for beavers gave her plenty of ideas—goes to show how important passion and curiosity are!

Eve’s credits: Clip art from computer.

Horse Crazy Illustrated

By Lauren G.

Age 13, in Pennsylvania

Each time we receive a magazine submission with a horse theme, we know we are in for a treat because so much love for horses comes through. There’s nothing like getting to see someone thoroughly enjoy something! Lauren’s interview with Ellen Heckert was a special highlight in Horse Crazy Illustrated. We’re really impressed by the way she focused on a specific and compelling incident.

Lauren’s photo credits: Student’s mother. Permission to take photos: Student’s riding instructor.

Travel Right

By McKenna F.

Age 14, in Michigan

McKenna’s review “Must See Attraction: The Shedd Aquarium,” is one of the best pieces of writing to have come out of a Cover Story student! Its writing is vivid and the review really makes us want to go! “Christmas in Chicago” is also a very evocative poem. Very nice work, McKenna! Please send us an ExclusiPen, if there are any still in stock.

Fantastic Food

By Madeleine W.

Age 12, in Virginia

We absolutely loved Madeleine’s short story about the unlikely friendship between a dog and cat. Her haiku is also excellent!

Everything by Madeleine herself, without help!


Food Magazine Centennially

By Layne V.

Age 13, in Indiana

This magazine is a good example of the fact that magazines don’t need a decorative layout to be in the contest—or this Magazine Showcase! Layne decided to add some graphics to her restaurant review and adverts, but otherwise sent the articles to speak for themselves. The ads are absolutely hilarious, but the whole magazine demonstrates a great sense of humor and a good writing voice. Too bad none of us will be alive to read the next issue!

Layne wishes to credit for mother for the photo on page 3. The ad graphics were created by Layne using and/or Photoshop.

Household Pets

By Jael D.

Age 12, in British Columbia, Canada

Jael’s story “Jhett,” which seems to be based on an interview, demonstrates very good use of a story starter, zooming right in on the emotions. Her memory-based poem “Little Old Me” is poignant as well!

All of the photos in it are her own with the exception of a clip-art image.

Fun in the Fifties

By Meghann F.

Age 13, in Michigan

We commend Meghann for the lovely use of repetition in her poem “Classic Car”—especially appropriate considering the nostalgia in her magazine theme. It is fun to see a student use a theme as a theme, so to speak.

Her enticing review of Portillo’s restaurant is also great marketing!

Horse Lovers Only

By Annie M.

Age 13, in Kurdistan, Iraq

Annie’s story “The Road to a Blue Sky,” placed in our Disastrous Directions contest. Her magazine also offers two gorgeous haiku poems, a great feel for advertising language, and some fun extras that really show much effort Annie put into her project! Annie, the speech bubble comment on your Letter to the Editor page is hilarious!

A note from Annie’s mom: “We used the website Blurb* to publish this. It’s a great and easy website to use and we feel the design has turned out great! Annie did 95% of the work herself. [Their] website was really user friendly.”

*A 20-page glossy magazine costs between $4 and $6, plus another $4 for (economy) shipping with tracking. They have free software, along with starter templates, to help you with design and layout. We do not have any affiliation with the Blub company; we are simply linking to their service as one possible solution for both layout help and end-product printing.

My Magazine

By Anna K.

In Ohio

Anna’s haiku “Touch of Autumn” is a perfect example of a snapshot image with an implied future! Anna has a great handle on style. “The Zeldee Prank War” demonstrates great character, dialogue, and pacing; “Travel Log” won a prize in the 2016 Finish Line contest as a Highlight Piece for its superb pacing and creative style.

Anna’s mother helped her format the magazine in so far as to make sure it had an even number of pages and that she planned what articles would fit where according to the space available. She did not help her plan photos, fonts, or text.

Cats ‘n Things

By Alexander N.

Age 12, in Washington

Alexander is good at humor writing! His story “Real Men Don’t Eat Pringles,” a finalist in our 2016 Disastrous Directions contest, is one of the funniest stories we have read from a Cover Story student. We love it! We are also quite entertained by the sketches of cats and goats he included in his magazine; and his poem about the teeny tiny kitten had us in stitches of laughter.

World of Writing

By Melangell F.

Age 10, in Michigan

Melangell’s “Dinosaur Digging” short story has great pacing!


The Galaxy NewsCover_Sarah_A_The_Galaxy_News_2017

By Sarah A.

Age 13, in California

Well done, Sarah, writing a letter that got a reply! Sarah does a great job being creative with her theme. We love her idea of reviewing the experience of riding an X-Wing for passenger transport.

Credit to older brother Kenneth for layout and front cover; credit to mom for editing, and copyright credit to Disney, LucasFilm, for all the content related to their work.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

The Lego NewsCover_Samuel_L_Killer_Plants_2017

By Ethan S.

Age 12, in Cayman Islands

Ethan’s magazine had an especially standout Letters to the Editor section—really nice to see!

All content is written by Ethan. Layout of the magazine was done by Ethan with some help from mom.


Killer PlantsCover_Samuel_L_Killer_Plants_2017

By Samuel L.

Age 13, in Missouri

Great unusual topic for a magazine! Samuel’s own fascination with dangerous plants comes through clearly. And what a terrifying short story idea built on the real-life dangers of some plants! Reads like an episode in a comic!

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

Horses, Horses and More Horses!Cover_Lysa_B_Horses_Horses_and_More_Horses_2014

By Lysa B.

Age 13, in California

Lysa has a wonderful feel for marketing. Each advertisement really makes a solid offer that feels urgent. She also shows strong story pacing in “The Horse and Her Boy.” Her story, “Killer Horse,” has great dialogue from a surprising point of view.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

The Brick-Built Marvel TARDIS!Cover_Kenneth_A_Brick_Built_Marvel_Tardis_2017

By Kenneth A.

Age 14, in California

Kenneth clearly put a lot of thought into the details of his magazine—down to the meticulous copyright text. Our favorite feature of this issue is the humor piece, “The Power of a Villain,” but “Building a Business” is excellent as well, and we’re fans of the humorous twist at the end of “To Be a Good Friend…”! Very nice work, Kenneth.

Student wants to credit mom for helping editing. Doctor Who and the TARDIS, the Doctor Who logo, and all such things are copyright of the BBC worldwide, all rights reserved. Marvel, Avengers, and the Marvel logo are trademark of Marvel Comics, all rights reserved. LEGO, the LEGO minifigure, the brick and stud, and the LEGO lego are all trademarks of LEGO international, all rights reserved. The KASE logo, KASE network, and KASE productions are trademark of KASE Productions Inc, all rights reserved.

NOTE: This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the same quality as the original!

Heroes of War

By Joshua T.

Age 13, in Indiana

Joshua stayed very much on target with his theme while also offering variety with war heroes both factual and fictional, and from more than one conflict. His respect for his great-grandfather is very clear in the thoughtful interview he wrote up, and much care has also gone into the short stories, which have detailed plots. His enthusiasm for his topic is clear, especially in the how-to article!

Back To Top