To celebrate our 2017 Girl of the Year, Gabriela McBride—a creative girl who uses spoken word poetry to make a difference in her community—American Girl partnered with Scholastic on the Express Yourself Poetry Contest for elementary students in grades 3-5. The goal was to write an original poem describing how you express yourself for the chance to win a $400 Scholastic gift card or a Gabriela product collection. More than 4,000 entries were submitted for the contest, which ended on May 8, 2017. Here are the 3 Grand Prize Winners and their winning poems.

Grand Prize Winners:
Moriah G., age 11
Moriah G., age 11

What do you like about writing poetry? 

It is cool that you can put your feelings on paper instead of holding them in, and I like how you can use simple words and then rhyme them with different, more interesting words.

What advice would you give to others who want to learn how to express themselves creatively?

Sometimes we go through hard times, so just find a hobby you like, and when you are feeling down or upset, go do it!

Even if you don't win something, it's cool to try new things. We just learned how to write poetry in class this year, and it is a fun thing to try.

Moriah's poem
Wyatt S., age 11
Wyatt S., age 11

What do you like about writing poetry? 

I like writing poetry because it gets me away from other stuff, and it’s creative.

What advice would you give to others who want to learn how to express themselves creatively?

Don't think too much about it. Just write down how you feel.  Try doing it when you're tired. That way you are not really thinking too much.

Wyatt's poem
Zinnia L., age 10
Zinnia L., age 10

What do you like about writing poetry? 

Poetry is a way to just break away for me. It helps that you can just write anything you want on paper that expresses your feelings.

What advice would you give to others who want to learn how to express themselves creatively?

My advice is just to do what feels right for you. There's so many things you can choose from, so make sure to find one that fits for you.

Zinnia's poem