Two Impact and Legacy Fund Awards to Open on July 1

The Russell Freedman Award for Nonfiction for a Better World and the Encouragement Fund will open for submissions on July 1st, 2024. As always, these awards are open to all qualified children’s book creators. No SCBWI membership required.

Russell Freedman Award

In honor of the late Russell Freedman, Newbery Award winner and one of the modern masters of narrative nonfiction, we are happy to announce the opening of The Russell Freedman Award for Nonfiction for a Better World.

The winner will receive a prize of $2500 plus $500 to purchase copies of the winning book for distribution to schools and libraries, recognition in all SCBWI publications, and a virtual forum to give a speech before the entire children’s book community. Any nonfiction book published for children or young adults, released between January 1 and December 31, 2024, is eligible. If both an author and illustrator are listed on the book cover, the prize will be split between them.

The 2023-2024 winner was ACCOUNTABLE by Dashka Slater.

The Encouragement Fund

The Encouragement Fund will provide three grants of $2,000 each to children’s book authors, artists or translators who have traditionally published at least one children's book. Generously supported by Stephen Fraser, a veteran editor and now one of our industry’s most respected agents at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, this grant reflects Stephen’s commitment to supporting talent. 

Stephen understands that writing children’s books can be a tough road, and he states that his hope is that this fund will “spoil its recipients with encouragement,” combatting the reality of rejections, financial hardships or emotional discouragement. His aim is that this fund will help create an environment of support in which creative people can flourish. Stephen knows that encouragement comes in many forms. As such, the grants have no strings attached and may be used however the recipient sees fit. In addition to the financial grant, recipients may also take advantage of Stephen’s offer to meet with them for career advice or feedback.

This year, the grant is exclusively for creators working on middle-grade fiction. Submitters must have one book of any genre traditionally published and must be working on a work of middle-grade fiction. 

Of this year's award, Stephen Fraser says:

"I am pleased that we are focusing on writers of middle-grade fiction for this year's Encouragement Fund grants. As both an editor and an agent, middle-grade fiction was always my sweet spot. The awards that my agency clients have won have all been for middle-grade novels. And, if you think about it, all our favorite books as children—classics and popular books—are all middle-grade!"