If you’re a parent looking for inspiring short stories to share with your children or an adult who would simply like to hear these poignant stories, just ask “Alexa, read me a 500 Words story’. The stories are available for free through the Audible Stories Alexa Skill, courtesy of this year’s 500 Words: Black Lives Matter competition.

An illustration by Charlie Mackesy for the 500 words story competion. There is a drawing of two small children surrounded by the words "500 Words, Black lives Matter."

500 Words is the world’s largest story-writing competition for children, with more than one million stories submitted since it began in 2011. For the latest edition, thousands of children have written entries of no more than 500 words with the theme of Black Lives Matter.

This year’s winner in the ten to 13-year-old age group was Lucy, whose story, Kristofer Was Quiet in School Today, was read by Nicole Kidman. The winner in the five to nine-year-old age group was Sara, and Mark Strong read their short story, titled I Feel Out Of Control.

The winners were announced by Chris Evans this week on his Virgin Radio breakfast show.

The 500 Words competition demonstrates the power and benefit of storytelling, with children encouraged to be as imaginative as possible in bringing a story to life in just 500 words or fewer.

Here’s the full list of finalists, whose stories can be heard on the Audible Stories Alexa Skill simply by saying: “Alexa, read me a 500 Words story”:

  • I Feel Out Of Control written by Sara and read by David Tennant
  • Martin Luther King Had A Dream written by Lani and read by Shobna Gulati
  • Love is Colourblind written by Evie and read by Gugu Mbatha-Raw
  • Computer Says No written by Eleanor and read by Jim Broadbent
  • Something You’re Not written by Katherine and read by Amanda Abbington
  • Kristofer Was Quiet in School Today written by Lucy and read by Rob Brydon
  • Grandpa Is written by Emerson and read by Stephen Graham
  • Bapa written by Samuel and read by Sanjeev Bhaskar

The 500 Words competition is supported by Virgin Radio and publishers including Atlantic, Bonnier, Canongate, Faber, Hachette, HarperCollins, Oxford University Press, Pan Macmillan, Profile, Puffin, and Simon and Schuster.