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Every week we’ll post five new challenges here.

One will always involve reading; the others will let you show off your creative side through drawing, writing, making, or doing. Choose one, or tackle all five, and don't worry if you miss a week - you can go back and finish challenges any time over the summer. Every challenge you complete gets you an entry in the weekly prize draws AND the grand prize draw!

The Challenges!

There's Still Time...

by Carrie - 3 Comment(s)


It's been a crazy and terrific summer and you guys have really wowed us with your creativity and talent! Thanks to each and every one of you for taking part and making this so much fun.

Remember, you have until 11:59 p.m. August 31st to finish the Week 10 bonus challenge (for the John Green box set) and any other challenges (for the grand prizes). Every challenge you complete gets you an entry in the draw, so now is the perfect time to go back and do any challenges that you missed.

Challenge 1 (and only): Feedback Loop

There's only one challenge this week: take this survey to tell us what you thought about Youth Read this year, and help us make it better for next year. To complete the challenge, just choose "text" on the Submit a Challenge form and tell us that you did the survey.

We're going to miss you, but even when Youth Read is over, the fun doesn't have to end - you can still show us your creative side with Teens Create, tell us what you're reading for our Teen Picks list, and keep an eye on the Teen Zone Blog for future challenges and contests.

Week 10: The Fault in Our Summer...

by Carrie - 2 Comment(s)

reading john green… is that it must come to an end, and sadly, so must Youth Read. To celebrate John Green’s birthday on August 24th, we’re devoting our final week of Youth Read challenges to him. Some infinities are smaller than others, but let’s enjoy the numbered days of summer while they last!

You have until the end of August 31st to finish this week's bonus challenge, and to complete challenges from this or any previous week for the grand prize draw.

Challenge 1: Famous Last Words

In Looking for Alaska, Miles is obsessed with the last words of famous people; his favourite is Rabelais’ “I go to seek a Great Perhaps”. If you could choose your last words, what would they be?

Challenge 2: My Thoughts are Stars

“My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.” – Augustus Waters, The Fault in Our Stars

Your challenge: make a constellation, real or imaginary. You can use mini marshmallows and toothpicks, or glow stars, or any other method you come up with. Just make sure you tell us which constellation it is (if real) or the story behind it (if imaginary).

bonus prize challengeChallenge 3: It’s a Circle

Bonus Prize Challenge! Complete this challenge for a chance to win a box set of John Green’s books with a signed copy of TFIOS!

One of our (many) favourite scenes in TFIOS is Gus waking up to the Venn diagram Hazel drew him in Amsterdam, and it’s not the first time John has used one to illustrate an important concept. For this challenge, create a Venn diagram (or any other kind of chart) to explain something that’s important to you.

Challenge 4: DFTBA!

As every nerdfighter knows, that means Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. Your challenge is simple: be awesome, and do something this week to decrease worldsuck. Then tell us what you did.

Challenge 5: Happy Dance!

Do you know the truly great thing about a good happy dance? It's that it makes everyone who sees it a little bit happier too. John & Hank both have pretty amazing happy dances, and for this challenge, we want to see yours!

Challenge 6: Read

I’m going to assume you have already read every John Green book (or can find them on your own), so instead let me recommend some books I think he’d like you to read (if five isn’t enough, check out this list of books he actually recommended last summer):

this star won catcher in the rye gus is a bug famous last words infinite jest

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 9: Collect Yourself

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

dragonball collection

Challenge 1: Collective

Have you read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs? The idea for that book came from the author’s personal collection of creepy vintage photographs. You probably don’t have a pile of scary pictures lying around, but most of us have some kind of collection, so give us a picture or description of whatever it is that you just can’t get enough of.

Challenge 2: It’s Your Turn

Ok, you’ve had a whole summer of completing Youth Read challenges, and now it’s your turn to create one. If we like it, we might even use it next year! All you need to do for this one is post an idea for a challenge that you think would be fun to complete.

bonus prize challengeChallenge 3: My YYC

Bonus Prize Challenge! One talented photographer will win a Photojojo phoneography starter kit and a Gorillapod Mobile for completing this challenge.

Take your best photo of your Calgary – whatever that means to you. Is it a landmark like the Calgary Tower, or a secret spot that only you know? Is it a white cowboy hat, or a great restaurant, or floating down the Bow? A great city can be many things to many people, so be creative and show us your YYC.

Challenge 4: Lonely George

George (our unicorn mascot) is awesome, but we think he could use a little company. For this challenge, draw a human or animal companion for George – bonus points if you give us the back story. Hand drawn or digital art are both fine.

Challenge 5: Read

Collectively, Youth Read teens have read for 18,413 hours so far this summer (as of Aug. 7th)- that's 368 hours per day! Keep up the good work and read for at least five hours this week - here are some suggestions. If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

unnatural creaturesphotojojomiss peregrine's home for peculiar childrenbeginning of everythingrags & bones

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 8: Like, Totally '80s!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

all things 80sChallenge 1: Tubular '80s Fashion

Show us your most righteous eighties outfit – and don’t forget the hair!

Challenge 2: Amazing '80s movies

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Princess Bride, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – the list of totally radical eighties movies is nearly endless. Your not-very-challenging challenge is to watch a choice movie from the '80s and give us your review.

Challenge 3: Awesome To The Max

Are you a fan of My Little Pony, Super Mario, Transformers, Reading Rainbow, or TMNT? Wondering what they have in common? They’re all awesome, and all originally from the '80s. For this challenge, write or draw a tribute to your favourite eighties-inspired awesomeness.

bonus prize challengeChallenge 4: Where Gaming Began

Bonus Prize Challenge! Complete this challenge for a chance to win a wicked cool stackable Tetris lamp.
Dude, you can thank the eighties for today’s gamer culture, so if you get stoked about video games, go back to the source and play something awesome from the era of NES. If your parents have an old console in the basement, dust it off and give it a try. Otherwise, use an online emulator & show us a screenshot or photo (we like or

Challenge 5: 8-Bit Art

Eighties game designers did great things with very limited technology – just think of iconic characters like Link or Mario and you’ll see what you can accomplish with only 8 bits. Design your own 8-bit sprite or scene, or transform a favourite character into 8-bit art and show us what you came up with (here’s a template to help you get started).

Challenge 6: Like, Read!

Read whatever you want for at least five hours - but just to stick with the theme, we recommend these ace titles that were published in - no duh - the '80s. If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

alanna the first adventure weetzie bat howl's moving castle calvin and hobbes

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 7: Hidden Treasures

by Carrie - 8 Comment(s)

just relaxChallenge 1: Noteworthy

This one is simple: just write a kind note to a stranger, and hide it in a library book. Tell us what your note said or upload a photo to complete this challenge. Do NOT put your name or any contact info on the note - it should be completely anonymous.

Challenge 2: Hidden Talents

Everyone’s good at something, so show us your hidden talent, whatever it may be.

Challenge 3: Conspiracy Theories

If you’ve ever wondered why there were SO MANY vampire romances published a few years ago, the answer is simple: it’s a conspiracy. Obviously, the real vampires (who are evil and terrifying) are spreading misinformation to make you trust them, so that you’ll be too busy swooning to realize that you’re in mortal danger. Doesn’t that just make sense? Your challenge is to invent a conspiracy theory to explain something that drives you nuts. The more convoluted, the better.

bonus prize challengescared sinkChallenge 4: Found Faces

Bonus Prize Challenge! We’re giving away a Fujifilm Instax 8 camera to one lucky photographer this week.

The human brain is great at finding patterns! So good, in fact, that we often see patterns that aren’t really there – like faces in inanimate objects. Your challenge is to find a face somewhere unexpected, and take a photo. There are two rules for this challenge - it must be your own original photo, and you are not allowed to create the face. Here's another link to give you some ideas where to look.

Challenge 5: Read

Pssst….try one of these secretive novels.
If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

art of secretswe were liarsready player onesecrets of tree taylorlife by committee

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 6: Rock On!

by Carrie - 11 Comment(s)

sex bob-ombbonus prize challengeChallenge 1: I’m With the Band

Bonus Prize Challenge! We’re giving away a $50 Ticketmaster gift card to someone who completes this challenge.
Seeing musicians live is amazing, but no tour is complete without a great t-shirt, so design the perfect concert tee for your favourite band (real or imaginary).

Challenge 2: Play Something

By “something” we mean a game – a board game, app, computer game, or real-life. Play solo or with friends, and then tell us how it went. Make a Tabletop-style video if you’re feeling ambitious!

Challenge 3: Play Something Else

This time we mean play an instrument – guitar, piano, kazoo – whatever suits your talents. Rock out with your band or perform a solo piece. If you don’t have an instrument, there are plenty of easy tutorials online, so make your own! Video and audio recordings are definitely encouraged.

Challenge 4: Comical

Write a 3-panel comic strip. You can draw it yourself, or try an online generator like If you need an idea, try showing your most embarrassing moment or a scene from your favourite book.

Challenge 5: Read

You know the drill – read for at least five hours, anything you like. Can we suggest some books with great bands? If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

this song will save your lifeamplifiedaudrey waitexilescott pilgrim

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 5: Hairy Potter

by Carrie - 14 Comment(s)

Challenge 1: Moustachifymoustache frog

Anything looks more dapper with a moustache, so add some dignity to the world by adding some facial fur to yourself or anything else - like a book cover, a sibling, or an inanimate object. Alter a photo online, draw a picture, or go old school with a paper cutout and some tape. (A piece of advice from Moustache Frog – Photoshop is definitely your friend if you plan to moustachify wild animals.)

bonus prize challengeChallenge 2: Hairy Potter?

Bonus Prize Challenge! I solemnly swear that we have an amazing replica of the Marauder’s Map for someone who completes this challenge.

We would ask you to moustachify Harry Potter, but it’s been done. Instead, choose a character from HP and put him or her in a completely different fandom – will it be Hermione as the Doctor’s next companion? Ron replacing Watson in Sherlock? Neville as a hobbit? Be creative and submit your answer as either fanfic or fanart.

Challenge 3: Write Something

Prose or poetry, fact or fiction; it’s all up to you.

Challenge 4: Read

Things you could read for five hours this week: novels - short stories - comic books – comic strips - newspapers - magazines –manga - cereal boxes – webcomics – blogs - your sister’s journal - your old diary - a letter you found in the attic - street signs – song lyrics - takeout menus – tumblr - game rules – tweets – movie reviews – whisper – texts from friends… If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

Challenge 5: Gamemaker

Show us something epic you made in a game, whether it’s a building in Minecraft, a tutorial video, a funny GIF, or a costume you designed in your favourite MMORPG. Some examples:

konata in minecraft dust raven bio minecraft simpsons

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 4: Frankenfood!

by Carrie - 17 Comment(s)

twilight princessesbonus prize challengeChallenge 1: Fanart

Bonus Prize Challenge! One lucky artist will win a Wacom CTL480 Intuos Pen Tablet for completing this challenge.

Could it be any easier? Create a piece of original fanart based on a show, book, or game you love. Just make sure you tell us what inspired it!
(Twilight Princess fanart by Guindofish, Youth Read 2013)

Challenge 2: Frankenfood

All the strange food combos at Stampede (like fried pickle pizza) got us thinking about how sometimes, the sum of two foods is greater than the whole. For this challenge, combine two or more foods in a weird and wonderful way, and tell us about your creation. There’s one catch though – you absolutely HAVE to taste test it and give us a review.

Challenge 3: Too Much Drama!

This is a video challenge – record yourself (solo or with friends) performing a dramatic reading of something - the more dramatic, the better (here's an example). It could be a scene from a book, a news article, a selection from a webcomic – any text at all. We highly recommend Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie books.

Challenge 4: Haiku Review

Review or summarize a book/movie/game in haiku form – 5/7/5 syllables. Here’s an example for The Fault in Our Stars:

Feeling all the things,
Love in small infinities
Is okay? Okay.

Challenge 5: Read

After all, the program isn’t called “Youth sit around and stare at the walls”…so read, for at least five hours. If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

As usual, we have some suggestions:

steelheartscorpio racestunestolen songbird

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 3: StampEAT!

by Carrie - 16 Comment(s)

teen reading outside

Challenge 1: Read

Do you have a great outdoor reading spot? Mine was on top of the fence at the side of our house; hidden from prying eyes by a big blue spruce and too high for my little brother. Perfection! Spend five hours reading – whatever you want, wherever you want – but we definitely recommend getting outside. If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

Challenge 2: Page One Poem

Write a poem using ONLY the words on the first page of a book. You don’t have to use all of them, and you can change the order. Want a harder challenge? Use a graphic novel or a children’s book. Make sure you tell us what book you used.

Challenge 3: You Are What You Eat

Stampede starts this Friday, and as usual, there’s a ton of weird and (possibly) delicious new food – crocodile sliders ordeep fried cheesies, anyone? Your challenge is to try a dish you’ve never eaten before (and probably never imagined you would) – at Stampede if you’re going, or anywhere at all if you’re not. Then tell us what you ate, and what you thought.

Challenge 4: Make Something

Make something amazing, then show us what you made. If you need some inspiration, how about mini piñatas or dollar store taxidermy?

bonus prize challengeChallenge 5: Just Listen

Bonus prize challenge! Complete this challenge for a chance to win a set of Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 headphones.

Listen to an entire album you have never listened to before, then tell us what you thought. If you aren’t sure what to choose, ask your parents or your friends, or pick something random from the library’s collection. It can be a classic album that everyone reveres, or something new and strange that no one has ever heard of.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Plan ahead – you will need at least an hour.
  2. Set it up – find a cool, dark space; wait until everyone else is gone, or get a good set of headphones; put away your phone, tablet, computer, siblings, and anything else that can lead to interruptions.
  3. Now put the album on – vinyl if you can find it, CD if you can’t, digital if all else fails – and just LISTEN. Do nothing else. Just listen to the entire album, in order, the way the artist intended. Once it’s done, take a deep breath. Listen to it again if you need to.
  4. Tell us what you thought.

Some recommendations:

arcade fire funeral led zeppelin 2 bnl snacktime sgt pepper london calling

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

Week 2: A Random Assortment of Challenges!

by Carrie - 22 Comment(s)

deadpieChallenge 1: Geek Eats

A Dalek cake? Super Mario star cookies? A Nyan Cat made with actual poptarts? Whether it’s a tribute to a favourite character or an imaginary food you always wished you could taste, get creative and show us your best edible fanart. Note: We want to see something YOU make, not just a photo you find online!

Challenge 2: Draw Something

Yes, it’s that simple – just draw something, in any medium you like, and show us the results.

Challenge 3: To Be Continued…

If you’re still waiting for the next book in that trilogy you love, or the last movie you saw ended in a cliffhanger, here’s your chance to find a happy ending (or unhappy – that’s up to you). Write us a short fanfic that picks up where the official story left off.

bonus prize challengeChallenge 4: Supermovies

Bonus prize challenge! Complete this challenge for a chance to win a $50 Cineplex Odeon gift card.
There have been so many great superhero movies lately, but the comic book universe is still vast and untapped. What unsung superhero, villain, or team do you think deserves a solo movie? Design a movie poster and dream of the day that YOUR heroes (or villains) get the recognition they deserve.

Challenge 5: Read

As always, the challenge is to read whatever you like for at least five hours. If you choose this as your challenge, just select “Read” on the “submit a challenge” form.

Canada Day is almost here so why not wave that maple leaf and read something by a great Canadian author? Our suggestions:

a spy in the housegraffiti knightscott pilgrimplain katesea of shadows

When you're ready, submit your challenges using the link at the side or click here.

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