The Spark Award is an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.
2019 winners: This Is Our Ocean: A Dream of Clean Seas, written and illustrated by Tracy Sabin and God Awful Rebel by S. Acevedo.
2019 honor winners: Falling for Wonder Boy by Kristine Carlson Asselin and The Artist Who Loved Cats by Susan S. Bernardo, illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher. Congratulations!
Deadline: SPARK 2020 OPENS NOVEMBER 15, 2020. DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 19, 2020. You may only submit one title each award period.
Award: The Spark winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The winner and honor recipients (if applicable) will receive: Spark seals to display on their book, the opportunity to teach a digital workshop about their publishing journey, the chance to be featured in the SCBWI online bookstore and publicized through SCBWI social networking sites. The winners will also get the opportunity to attend any conference of their choice tuition free (other than for extras such as critiques and intensives).
1. You must be a current SCBWI member with membership current through April of the following year to apply. If you are a member now but your membership is scheduled to expire before that time, you will need to renew your membership in order to be eligible for the award.
2. Both the author and illustrator (if the illustrator’s name appears on the book) must be members to apply.
3. You must have published a book intended for the children’s or YA market in one of the following categories: Board Book, Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Graphic Novel or Young Adult.
4. The book may be fiction or nonfiction.
5. The book should have been self-published either through an established self-publishing enterprise or individually self-published. The book cannot have been previously published in any print or digital form prior to the self-published form.
6. SCBWI reserves the right to disqualify books published by enterprises that we believe, in our discretion, operate in a predatory or unbusiness-like manner.
7. The book must exist in traditionally bound form, contain an ISBN number, and Copyright date of the current year.
8. All applicants must include a cover letter with your name, the name of your book, the genre of your book, the publishing method for your book (including the name of any editor/copyeditor/designer who was retained in the creation of the book), your book’s ISBN, and a synopsis of your book.
9. As of November 2020, submission to the Spark Award is DIGITAL ONLY. Please submit through the award portal HERE.
10. One winner and up to two Honor Book recipients will be chosen in two categories:
Books for older readers: This includes: middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction.
Illustrated Books: This includes: board books, picture books, readers, chapter books and novelty books.
11. Books entered in the Spark Award are not eligible for The Golden Kite Award or Sid Fleischman Award. Self-published authors may only enter their books in one of these awards.
12. Judging will be based on a number of criteria, including but not limited to: quality of writing and concept, quality of illustrations (if applicable), professional presentation, editing and design, appropriateness of content for the targeted age group of the book.
13. Books are evaluated by a panel of English-speaking judges. All books entered must be written in English or be submitted with an English translation.
SCBWI reserves the right not to award a SPARK AWARD in any given year.