Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



The SCBWI is pleased to announce the winners and honor book recipients of the inaugural Spark Award, an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route. 

The judges have selected two winners, one novel and one picture book.


Karen Avivi from Quebec, Canada, for her heart-pounding BMX bike girl YA novel, Shredded

More about Karen Avivi and Shredded

Neil Waldman of White Plains, New York, for his picture book entitled Al and Teddy, about the power of art in two brother’s lives. The proceeds from this book support Fred Dolan Art Academy in Bronx, New York.

More about Neil Waldman and Al and Teddy

Four Honor Books were also awarded:

Saving Mars, a thrilling sci-fi adventure by Cidney Swanson.

A teenager must choose between super powers and saving those she loves in One, by Leigh Kopans.

Wendy Kupfer’s Let’s Hear it for Almigal, a picture book illustrated by Tammie Lyon, celebrates Almigal’s determination to hear every sound in the world with her new hot pink cochlear implants.

Wings for a Flower, by Ellen Gaffney, tells the inspiring story of an Indian girl’s rehabilitation after losing the use of her legs.

The award is open to current writer and/or illustrator SCBWI members who have independently-published a board book, picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel through a self-publishing enterprise  or individually self-published.  The judges focused on quality of writing and concept, quality of illustrations (if applicable), professional presentation, and editing and design. 

“The Spark Award is a giant step forward for those who have chosen an alternative publishing path,” says President Stephen Mooser.  Executive Director, Lin Oliver added, “Our hope with the creation of the Spark Award is that it raises standards and professional excellence for self-publishing.”

The winners will receive a Spark seal to display on their book, a commemorative plaque, have their book featured in the SCBWI online bookstore and marketed on SCBWI social networking sites, and receive the opportunity to attend, sell, and autograph their book at a SCBWI conference of their choosing.

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