The Ann Whitford Paul – Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award is an annual award given to promising picture book writers. Winners from two categories, Fiction and Nonfiction, are given a $1,000 grant to encourage the development of an excellent picture book manuscript.
Author Ann Whitford Paul gave this statement about the 2022 winners:
It’s been a fabulous year for submissions. This year, we had nearly nine hundred! And they came from all over the world—Indonesia, Tasmania, India, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Nigeria, and many European countries, just to name a few. The SCBWI is truly an international organization, demonstrated by the fact that two of this year’s honorees live in Hong Kong and Nova Scotia.
Here are the winners, with a brief description of their books.
WINNER OF THE NONFICITION GRANT
WHAT THE CAMERAS SAW—Hilary Echols
What the Cameras Saw, this year’s winner of the nonfiction manuscript prize, relates a day in early May 1963 when young students in Birmingham, Alabama, began a peaceful march to protest school segregation. Nearly one thousand were arrested and jailed. Hilary Echols’s moving story of this event is told from the unique perspective of what the reporters’ cameras saw. However, it’s told not in a reporter’s voice but a beautifully lyrical voice that relates not only what happened that day but the emotional and future impact of those actions. An author’s note explains future actions that followed and Hilary Echols’s extraordinary connection to this story.
HONORABLE MENTIONS IN NONFICTION
LIVING BRIDGES—Sandhya Acharya
Sandhya Acharya’s Living Bridges introduces readers to the unique bridges in the mountains of India where clouds seem to always shower. Rubber fig plants are bent and braided by the local people of the community. These bridges are ever growing, ever changing, and ever needing pruning, cleaning, and caring. While people travel across them to school, work, and their families, birds, caterpillars, insects, and other creatures make their homes under their feet. Written poetically, this beautiful text inspired me, and will do the same to all readers, to learn more about these amazing bridges.
DRAGONFLY DANCE—Kathryn Hagen
With a repetitive phrase and lyrical language, Kathryn Hagen introduces us to a dragonfly waiting on the edge of a lake for the safety of dusk when she and her kin can finally feast on mosquitoes and other insects. Gorgeous illustration possibilities of other creatures living near the lake, the setting sun, and the darkness taking over the skies. Kathryn Hagen has observed the dance many times and added to her observation with much research. A beautiful prose poem picture of nature in the wild!
WINNER OF THE FICTION GRANT
BECAUSE OF A DOG’S WHISKER—Deborah Foster
A dog nips a toddler who pulled his whisker and is taken to a shelter, where he is labeled a biting dog. Fortunately for Ollie, one woman doesn’t believe in labels and trains him to be a search dog. Then comes a terrible storm with flooding and mudslides, and Ollie is sent to investigate. He’s about to give up when he catches a scent and keeps searching. When two hands reach through a crack and touch Ollie’s whiskers, we come full circle. In spare lyrical language, we ache for Ollie, cheer for his training success, worry as he crawls and shimmies through the mud, and feel relief when he saves a life. Congratulations to Deborah Foster, who has written a heart-wrenching, compelling, and uplifting story.
HONORABLE MENTIONS IN FICTION
THE MAGIC IN MING’S HANDS–Maureen Tai
Maureen Tai introduces us to Ming, a young Malaysian-Chinese boy who longs to have magical hands. His pa’s hands bake buttery buns, while Ming’s hands just spill flour and drop dough. His ma’s hands sew clothes that are the talk of the town, but Ming’s hands tangle threads. No matter what he tries, his hands don’t work the magic the way others in the family do. When Ming visits Grandfather, whose magic hands now tremble, Ming prepares the tea and breaks the biscuits into small pieces for him. He massages his grandfather’s back, bringing sighs of happiness from him. Later, when they go to the park, Ming helps a fallen friend, pushes someone on a swing, and performs many other acts of kindness that make people smile. He learns his hands make people happy and have a magic all their own. A universal story for children searching to discover their uniqueness.
FOX ON THE FARM—Susanne Connolly
Susanne Connolly has written a fun, humorous, and delightful rhymed picture book about a fox who tries to organize the farm animals to work together to scare away Bobcat and Bear. Goat, Duck, Pig, Turkey, and all the others agree to help. Not Chicken! He warns the others that Fox can’t be trusted and fears for their safety. But Fox has a plan, and the farm animals working together scare away Bobcat and Bear. Chicken is amazed. Has he been wrong about Fox? But soon after, Chicken disappears. Maybe she was right about Fox? With perfect rhythm and rhyme, this book offers many lively illustrations and an ending with an unexpected twist.
Thanks to everyone for your submissions.
We look forward to reading your manuscripts in 2023.
Submission dates will be announced on the SCBWI website in the new year.