Children’s Book Award Contests: The Importance of Entering

The importance of entering children’s book award contests goes well beyond a win. There are two sides you can capitalize on. The obvious, if your book achieves book award recognition you and your publisher can reap the benefits of promoting you as an award-winning author. Second, even if you don’t place in the contest your book does gain additional exposure through the judging process. For example, when I participated in the 2011 NYS Reading Association Conference and Author Fair, two different teachers who are judges for the 2014 NYS Reading Association Charlotte Award mentioned they read my book for the contest. This provided a great opportunity to talk about my school visit workshops and The Golden Pathway’s Educators Guide, which then led to two different school visits. What better way to get the conversation going about your book then by people in the educational trenches.

Not sure where to being your search for contests? Of course the Internet is your most viable option. Google “children’s book award contests” and you will receive over a million hits. I can feel your shoulders sag; please don’t be dismayed as to where to begin. To help you get started I recommend the following websites for comprehensive contest listings:

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators – The Golden Kite Award, Sid Fleischman Humor Award, and Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award.
The Reading Tub – Directory of Children’s Literature and Book Awards
U.S. National and Canadian Awards for Children's and YA Literature:
Children’s Literacy Classic International Book Awards   
Global eBook Awards
IRA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards

·  Writer’s Digest – – even though The Golden Pathway and Hockey Agony were originally submitted as short stories to the annual contest they both placed as Honorable Mentions hence providing interest by Guardian Angel Publishing in offering my first two children book contracts.

An additional effective way to help keep you up to date on children’s book awards is by setting up a Google Alert with “children’s book awards”
Don’t stop researching with just the above mentioned. Conduct a search by state, topic, etc. (i.e., historical fiction, bullying, music, etc., all depending on the topic of your book). Cynthia Leitich Smith’s website noted above is a great resource for state-by-state. 

Since the majority of contests are copyright deadline based, even before your book is published you need to educate yourself as to what contest is the most reputable and the best fit for your particular book. Do your homework and double check the submission guidelines (they do change from time to time just as publisher submission guidelines). Don’t come across as an amateur, research and confirm submission guidelines before submitting. What to look for: topic, copyright year, state of residency, country, etc.

Create an Excel spreadsheet for tracking purposes:
  • ·        Contest Name
  • ·        Contact Info
  • ·        Deadline Date
  • ·        Date Submitted
  • ·        Winners Announced By
  • ·        Accepted
  • ·        Rejected
  • ·        Comments

Of course, adjust the form to your personal needs. I set deadline reminders 30 days prior to the actual deadline on my Outlook Task Reminder. Don’t feel as if you need to “reinvent the wheel” in creating your Excel spreadsheet, if you are interested I’d be delighted to email you my blank tracking form. Please feel free to email me at Please mention where you read my article and put “Children’s Book Contests Excel Spreadsheet” in the subject line.

Good luck in your quest in becoming an award-winning children’s author!

Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author Visit McDine at,, and



  1. I'd love to have a list of contests and awards for books that have been published for more than a year. So many of these contests are only open to recently published books. Maybe I'll have to create such a list?

    1. Hi Maggie,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. All the contests I've come across go by publication year.


  2. Let me know when you have that list, Maggie!

    Thanks for this article, Donna. Packed fill of good information!

  3. Glad you enjoyed the article!


  4. Jo,

    Thanks so much for hosting me. It's a pleasure being here!


  5. Contests are indeed valuable assets for authors, both new and old. Here's one that includes publishing in print and a marketing package worth over $3,000.00 for the Grand Prize and a digital publishing contract for the Runner-up. Here's the link:

    Good Luck to all who enter,

    1. Thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation!

  6. I read your blog and I noticed some useful tips from this post. Thanks for sharing for islam books etc.

    Islamic books for children & Islamic books

  7. Replies
    1. Glad you found it informative. Thanks for visiting!

  8. Children's book contest is the best place for children's book authors to showcase their book.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, glad to be of assistance!

  9. zhena bakhtavar11 June 2015 at 13:06

    I am an Iranian children writer and a translator. I would like to be guided to an international contest( I mean the names and organizations involved) and one more question : I wonder if I should translate my works to English or probably give a brief of what I have written-actually I have no idea of how the non English works are evaluated . And are there many contests in international scale and what do you think of Hans Christian Andersen award.


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