Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI announces 2017 Spark Award winners


The SCBWI Spark Award recognizes excellence in children’s books published through an independent or non-traditional route. Authors and illustrators who independently published a book in the calendar year of 2017 were eligible to apply.


The 2017 Spark winner in the Books for Older Readers category is Michelle Morgan. Her middle grade novel Flying Through Clouds is about a young man who dreams of becoming an aviator in the 1930s. Morgan is also a playwright and published her first book, Racing the Moon, in 2014. Find out more at


Laurisa White Reyes is the Spark Honor winner in the Books for Older Readers category for Petals, a middle grade novel about a girl uncovering her family’s secrets in Guatemala. Reyes has published many books for adults and young people, including The Storytellers, which won the Spark Award in 2015. For a complete list of her work, visit


The Spark Award for Illustrated Book goes to The Santa Thief, a Christmas tale set in 1920s Pennsylvania, written by Alane Adams and illustrated by Lauren Gallegos. Adams and Gallegos previously teamed up on The Coal Thief and The Egg Thief, which also feature young protagonist Georgie and the lessons he learns during the Great Depression. Find out more on their respective websites, and


Author/illustrator Michael Hale wins the Spark Honor for Illustrated Book with Bad Monkey Business, a story about a mischievous monkey turning the home of a mild-mannered lady into a zoo. This is the first book authored by Hale, though he previously illustrated Up Up Up by Phoebe Fox. Visit for more information.


Visit the SCBWI website for more information about the Spark Award.