BJ - Assuming the easier/younger reader stories they currently publish are what they're looking for in the contest, then I'm thinking contractions are okay (they wouldn't be in true beginning readers). What do you think? Any other characteristics, besides subject matter that's appropriate for 6-8 year-olds, make you think "beginning reader?" Maybe a kindergarten/first grade teacher could weigh in (though an 8 year-old might be in second grade!).
Sue KC - WELCOME TO THE BLUEBOARDS!