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 2018 were eligible to apply.
The 2018 Spark winner in the Books for Older Readers category is Francis Moss, author of Losing Normal. The book is about Alex, an autistic teenager whose sense of normality is shattered when a sinister digital program begins brainwashing the world, and only Alex can stop it. Moss is a debut novelist with a long career of writing for television shows such as Iron Man, Ducktales, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and has co-authored three nonfiction books introducing middle graders to the internet. Find out more about Moss at francismoss.com.
The Spark Award for Illustrated Book goes to Pretty, a well-rhymed ode to female empowerment that explores all the ways that a girl can be “pretty amazing” beyond superficial looks. Author Dani Coplen and illustrator Natalia de Frutos have announced that they will donate a portion of all Pretty profits to the educational program Girls, Inc. of Metro Denver. You can find the creators on Twitter at @dcoplen and @nataliadfrutos, and be sure to engage with the Pretty Conversation on Facebook or at theprettyconversation.com.
The winners will receive free tuition to the 2019 Los Angeles Summer Conference and the opportunity to sell their books at the Conference bookstore.
The Spark Honor for Older Readers was given to Paul Aertker for Posthumous: A Novel About the Power of Belief, which follows a twelve-year-old’s efforts to crack a code and save the stories left behind by her late mother. Aertker is also the author of the middle grade Crime Travelers series. You can find Aertker’s work at paulaertker.com.
Little Moss, Big Tree won the Spark Honor for Illustrated Book. Author M. Yap-Stewart and illustrator Mariya Prytula’s poignant picture book about natural pen pals touches on friendship and empathy in the face of big life changes. Learn more about M. Yap Stewart through her website, myapstewart.com, or Twitter @myapstewart. Find more of Prytula’s artwork on her Instagram, @Mariya_illustrates; Twitter, @mariyaprytula; or Facebook.com/mariya.prytula.
As Honor winners, Aertker, Yap-Stewart, and Prytula will receive 50% discount to the Los Angeles Summer Conference and the opportunity to sell their books at the Conference bookstore.