Author Archives: Jane Woodall

Meet Milo, this year’s Doodle for Google winner!

A few weeks ago we announced our five national Doodle for Google finalists. They all beautifully showed us their answers to this year’s contest prompt, “I am strong because…”. One young artist stood out to us with his words, symbolism and art. We’re excited to announce our 2021 winner is 11th grader, Milo Golding from Lexington, Kentucky! Milo’s Doodle titled “Finding Hope” spoke to the resilience and hope that lives in all of us. Let’s get to know this year’s  Doodle for Google winner: 

Has art always been a part of your life? 

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been drawing and creating — to the point where my parents had to apologize to my relatives because I used to draw on their walls when we would visit their homes! From that point on they always carried sketchbooks and pencils for me.

Photo of a young man looking into the camera and smiling.

What message do you want people to take away from your Doodle?

Regardless of life’s hardships and uncertainties, hope is always there. It’s our job to find that hope in order to move forward.  

Tell us a little bit about your family and your community.

Both of my parents are immigrants. My father immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica and my mother from China. I grew up in a rural community in eastern Kentucky, and after my dad passed away my purpose in life really shifted. It’s important to me to help other children in need in my community who might have gone through something similar.  

I started a charity a few years ago called Sanguine Path. We serve children 18 and under who have lost loved ones or  been affected by  challenging experiences by providing them with Christmas and birthday gifts, care packages and back-to-school kits. Family members, school staff, grief counselors or parents and guardians can refer children to the program.

What has it felt like being this year’s Doodle for Google winner been like? 

It’s been a really fun experience so far! The other day my mom was telling me how happy and proud she was. She told me I’m becoming the person my dad would have definitely wanted me to become. I often use art to advocate for things  I find important and this competition showed me that I can keep using art to spread the message of hope and love.

I’m so happy  my message of hope came through in my art, that’s what’s most important to me.

I’m also very grateful for this opportunity. It really allowed me to not only reflect upon my life but also reaffirm what I want to do – which is help people. And I truly appreciate that. 

Congratulations to Milo. We are thrilled to have you as our 2021 winner. We can’t wait to see all of the amazing things you do!

Our 54 Doodle for Google winners show their strength

In January, we kicked off the 13th annual Doodle for Google contest by inviting K-12 students across the country to submit their artistic interpretations of this year’s contest theme “I am strong because…”. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has truly shown me, and many of our contest applicants, how important it is to stay strong when you’re facing the unknown. The tens of thousands of pieces of beautiful artwork we saw from students were encouraging, uplifting and inspiring. Some pieces focused on honoring our medical heroes and essential workers, and others on finding hope amidst loss or on using this time to connect with family and loved ones. 

The strength, honesty and creativity these students shared has been humbling. Today, we’re  announcing our 54 state and territory winners. To celebrate our talented winners, we sent each of the 54 students  Google hardware and swag — as well as a very special congratulatory video message honoring their artistry from the Doodle for Google team.

Head to to see the full gallery of all 54 state and territory winners and vote for your favorite Doodles. Your vote helps determine who will go on to become one of our five national finalists — one of which will become our national winner. 

Congratulations again to the 2021 Doodle for Google state and territory winners!

Inner strength and inspiration: Dav Pilkey shares his story

Growing up, Dav Pilkey struggled with feeling like he didn’t fit in. “When I was in second grade, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and what is now widely known as ADHD. Because of my behavioral challenges, I was often sent out in the school hallway and separated from my friends and classmates,” Dav, who’s one of the 2021 Doodle for Google guest judges, says. “I often felt alone and like a misfit.” Fortunately, Dav’s parents encouraged him to read anything and everything — and to draw and create his own stories. 

Today, Dav is an international best-selling author and artist widely known for his graphic novels “Dog Man” and “Cat Kid Comic Club,” and his illustrated chapter book series “Captain Underpants.” His lifelong love of art and reading helped him find a career that allows him to connect with and inspire kids everywhere. As a Doodle for Google judge, Dav Pilkey will review submissions from students across the country for their artistic merit, creativity and interpretation of this year’s theme “I am strong because…” 

We recently talked to Dav about what inspires him creatively, his experiences building inner strength and what advice he has for young artists entering the Doodle for Google contest this year. 

Do you have a specific memory of what  inspired you to start drawing?

There are a few moments that stand out. When I was in elementary school, I loved making comics, and my friends would laugh at my stories — which encouraged me to keep making them. And in college, I met a teacher who noticed my work and told me I should think about being a children’s book author and illustrator. Later, I entered and won a national competition and the prize was the publication of my first book. Through it all, my biggest champion has been my mom, and her love and support made all the difference.

Image showing the back of a man's head while he draws.

What do you want students to take away from your books? 

I hope they’ll associate reading with fun, and maybe be inspired to write and draw their own books. There are many ways to be creative and it’s OK to make mistakes. In writing and illustrating the “Dog Man" and "Cat Kid Comic Club" books, I want kids to see that you can improve if you keep practicing.

What inspires you? 

I’m inspired by the kids I’ve met all these years who have shown me their stories and their drawings. Their creativity and enthusiasm keep me going.

What does inner strength mean to you? 

Overcoming fears, especially the fear of failure. It can be difficult to try again once you’ve made mistakes, but difficult things are what makes us strong. 

Do you have any advice for kids looking for inner strength during this pandemic?

Read for fun as often as you can. Take a break and find something creative to do. You can use simple materials — pencils, pens, crayons — whatever you have at home. Create stories, doodle and let your imagination soar.

What advice do you have for young artists? 

I read as much as I can. Through books, I  learn from other artists.  And of course, practice and persistence are always important. 

Do you have any words of encouragement for students entering the Doodle for Google contest this year? 

This could be one of the most fun experiences, whether you win or not. You may also learn something new about yourself in the process.

For more creative inspiration and drawing tips, check out Dav’s collaboration with the Library of Congress,  Dav Pilkey At Home. The 2021 Doodle for Google contest is open for submissions until February 26 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Dav and the Doodle for Google team are waiting on your submissions, so grab your pencils, crayons, paint and any other materials you have and show us what inner strength means to you! 

Doodle for Google is back for its 13th year

2020 was a challenging year for many of us. As a mother of three young children, it was filled with important conversations and loads of feelings as we took on distance learning, quarantining and even  changes like wearing masks. 

No one knew how to parent through a pandemic (that wasn’t in the handbook) but my family's chats kept coming back to the concept of being strong – for ourselves and for others. While nothing could have prepared us for the highs and lows of last year, we somehow managed to grow a little stronger. 

That idea of inner strength felt like a natural theme to bring into our 13th annual Doodle for Google contest: The 2021 contest theme is “I am strong because…”  We’re asking students to creatively share how they keep moving forward when things get tough. When you make mistakes or get scared, what helps you clear the clouds above your head? When people around you are feeling down, how do you use your inner strength to lift them up?

This year we have an impressive judging panel helping us to determine our 54 state and territory winners and five national finalists, one of whom will go on to be the national grand prize winner. Dav Pilkey, best-selling book author and illustrator (“Dog Man,” “Captain Underpants” and “Cat Kid Comic Club”), Grammy Award-winning producer and artist Peter CottonTale and 2020’s National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproywill join us as guest judges. 

Inner strength is something all of our judges have relied on. As a child, our first guest judge Dav was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD and was often sent out in the hallway during class. While alone in the hallway, he drew and created stories that evolved into his books. Today, his #1 bestselling “Dog Man” series has 40 million copies in print, has been translated into 40 languages and is being developed as a feature film by DreamWorks. Dav explores themes like kindness, courage, empathy and doing good in his unique graphic novels, and he recently created a series of read-aloud and how-to-draw videos to encourage kids to be creative. This led to the launch of “Dav Pilkey at Home,” a collaboration with the Library of Congress and Scholastic which provides free online content for kids and families during the pandemic lock down.

Our second guest judge, Chicago native Peter CottonTale, is a Grammy Award-winning producer, composer, musical director and artist. Peter is known for his collaborations with Chance the Rapper, whose historic Grammy Award-winning album “Coloring Book” Peter executive produced. In 2020, Peter independently released his debut album CATCH, and composed “Together” for Google’s 2020 Year in Search campaign, in close collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Choir. Through his music and leadership in the studio, Peter hopes to help people freely express what they believe and who they are. 

Our last guest judge, Tabatha Rosproy, is a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher and the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year. She teaches in a preschool classroom housed in a local retirement community and nursing home. Her inclusive classroom is an intergenerational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous education strategy. Rosproy hopes to bring a voice to the important role of early childhood education and to highlight the value of social-emotional education for all ages.

Today the 2021 Doodle for Google contest opens to students based in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and is open through Friday, February 26.  For more details on how to enter the contest, resources for educators and parents, as well the contest rules, head to our website. The winning artist will see their work on the Google homepage for a day, receive a $30,000 college scholarship and the winner’s school will receive a $50,000 technology grant. We can’t wait to see some strong Doodles!

The 2020 Doodle for Google national finalists are here

When we opened the Doodle for Google contest in January of this year, we couldn’t wait to see all of the fantastic doodles that students across the country would submit for our 2020 theme “I Show Kindness By...”. We received tens of thousands of submissions from students in all 50 states, as well as Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Today, it's so important to show kindness and compassion, and this year's contestants shared the multitude of ways they demonstrate empathy in their communities. 

After carefully reviewing all of the submissions, we announced our 54 state winnersand opened up public voting on our website. And today we are happy to share that the votes are in and the judges have deliberated. We’re ready to announce our five national finalists for the 2020 Doodle for Google contest! 

Our finalists were chosen based on a combination of our judging criteria (which includes artistic merit, creativity and how well participants communicated the theme in their artwork and written statement), as well as the results of public voting. Each of these artists truly committed to spreading a unique and powerful message of kindness,  so let’s meet our finalists:

K-3 National Finalist: MacKenna Hughes
Honolulu, Hawaii

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Title: I show kindness by picking up trash & microplastics on the beach
Artist Statement: “In my artwork, I repurposed trash that I collected from my favorite beach. Animals eat these microplastics and they can kill them or make them very sick.”

4-5 National Finalist: Sharon Sara
Frisco, Texas

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Title: Together As One
Artist Statement: “I show kindness by sticking together with my friends in tough times. I drew people coming together and not thinking about the outside but being together because of their personality.”

6-7 National Finalist: Yewon Lee
Fort Lee, New Jersey

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Title: We're All Neighbors
Artist Statement: “I show kindness by treating all different kinds of people as my neighbor.”

8-9 National Finalist: Gwenith Madhan
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Title: Kindness & Captions
Artist Statement: “I show kindness by...not engaging in negativity on social media, and instead focusing on using positive, kind words to lift people up and add a smile to their face everyday.”

10-12 National Finalist: Morrah Burton-Edwards 
New Orleans, Louisiana

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Title: Love Made Visible
Artist Statement:  “Kindness is love made visible, so I show kindness by showing my family I love them. But also, when I show strangers and others that I care about them even when they are unkind to themselves is me being kind. A simple act of kindness like a hug can light up someone's day. But most importantly, I show kindness by loving those even when they are unkind to me. That is the most important time to be kind and the most difficult, but those people need kindness the most.”

Congratulations again to MacKenna, Sharon, Yewon, Gwenith and Morrah! As National Finalists, our student winners will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, Google hardware for the school year and some fun Googley swag. Check out their artwork, along with all 54 of the state winners on our website gallery

In the next and final stage of the contest, our judging panel will determine which of our five national finalists will be chosen as the national contest winner. The winner’s artwork will be featured on Google’s homepage for 24 hours, they’ll receive a $30,000 scholarship and a $50,000 technology package for their school. 

Good luck to our national finalists, and stay tuned to find out who our 2020 contest winner is!

Meet the Doodle for Google guest judges

The 12th annual Doodle for Google competition is underway, and we’re asking students across the country to unleash their creativity and show us their interpretation of this year’s theme, “I show kindness by…”.  Submissions are due by March 13.

This year we’re excited to announce our panel of stellar guest judges who will help us choose the contest finalists and winners. They have each made showing kindness a guiding principle in their lives. Teacher of the year Rodney Robinson, works to create a positive environment and to empower his students. In 2015 he started teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, in an effort to better understand and prevent students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline.

Joining Rodney as a judge is acclaimed author and illustrator Mari Andrew. Mari values optimism, resilience and vulnerability in her work and has inspired over 1 million devoted fans through her art and writing, where she beautifully covers these subjects. In her New York Times Bestseller book, “Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood,” she uses poignant essays and illustrations to help her readers feel less alone as they experience the trials and tribulations of life. 

Last but certainly not least, the multifaceted entertainer and late-night host Lilly Singh will also join our guest judge panel. Lilly has amassed a global audience of millions through her social channels and work in entertainment—she uses her platform to uplift others. In 2017, UNICEF appointed Lilly as one of their Goodwill Ambassadors. She also created her #GirlLove initiative to inspire positivity among women and support each other's voices encouraging upward mobility.  

Kindness means something different to everyone, whether it’s starting a community garden, standing up for a friend or doing chores around the home—so it’s up to you how to interpret this year’s theme. 

 With Rodney, Mari and Lilly’s help, we’ll select five National Finalists who will win a $5,000 college scholarship and a trip to our Mountainview headquarters. One National Winner will receive: a  $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school or non-profit and their artwork featured on the Google homepage for a day. 

We can’t wait to see how you show kindness. Let’s get Doodling!