The essay contest program is a branch of the literacy program. As more and more books have been donated to Shin Shin schools, we would like to keep track of the book usage and the program effectiveness. In 2007, we started “book club” project to help students learn how to make the most out of reading books. Students won prizes for their efforts of essay-writing about books that they read.

In 2008, Shin Shin organized the first essay contest, open to all students in Shin Shin schools, including the book club members. The objective was to provide a creative platform for all the Shin Shin students to write and express themselves, presenting their spirit of hardworking and progressive learning, developing a positive and healthy campus atmosphere, so as to cultivate students' characters, improve overall student quality, and prosper school's culture.

In 2009 for the second essay contest, we received essays from 118 Shin Shin schools in 21 provinces, and nearly 100,000 students participated in the contest. Upon schools' recommendation, 1,600 essays entered the first competition in Beijing. Following well-defined guideline, Shin Shin volunteers evaluated essays to select candidates for the final evaluation by the invited experts in education, publication, and journalism. Total of 246 essays were scored as outstanding writings, including 15 first-prizes, 25 second-prizes, 60 third-prizes.

These award-wining essays have been published into books, which were sent to the students and teachers in all Shin Shin schools, as well as to Shin Shin's donors and volunteers. These were completely written by the hands of Shin Shin children, so simple and naturally innocent, no lack of playful childish words that recorded their seemingly simple life, yet not simple inner world, expressing the emotions and feelings between grandpa and grandson, father and son, mother and daughter, teacher and student, and classmates. The true nature of teachers was described in the writings, so were students' life perspectives and values, ​ and the purest love in the world. The language was concise yet sophisticated, simple yet gorgeous, combining the reading, thinking and observing closely, full of both joy and hardships that would touch the heart of every reader.