10 Children’s Book Award Contests: A List for Self-published Authors

10 Children’s Book Award Contests for Self-published Authors

Finding book award contests to enter can be daunting.

I started with a Google search and spent hours drilling down into contest rules and requirements. My book, Sunbelievable, was published by my own publishing company and therefore qualified as a “self-published” versus a print-on-demand “self-published” book. The distinction is important to keep in mind when sorting through submission guidelines. Here’s my list which includes content taken directly from the award sites. I limited this list to 10 for now, but there are others I’ll post next!

1. The Golden Kite Award: http://www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Golden-Kite-Award. “Presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators the Golden Kite Awards, given annually to recognize excellence in children’s literature, grant cash prizes of $2,500 to author and illustrator winners in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration.  A commemorative poster with the winners will be created and distributed to, among others, various schools, libraries and publishers. In addition to the four Golden Kite Award winners, four honor book recipients will also be named by the panel of judges which consists of children’s book writers and illustrators.  More than 1,000 books are entered each year. Eligible books must be written or illustrated by SCBWI members, and submitted either by publishers or individuals.” 2012 Golden Kite Competition Submission Information for publishers. 2012 Golden Kite Competition Submission Information for individuals.

2. The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: http://www.moonbeamawards.com/. “Designed to honor the year’s best children’s books, authors and illustrators. This year’s sixth annual Moonbeam Awards program is open to authors, illustrators, and publishers of children’s books written in English or Spanish and intended for the North American market. All 2011 and 2012 copyrights and releases are eligible. Presented by Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher magazine, the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are designed to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. Awards are given in 38 categories covering the full range of subjects, styles and age groups that children’s books are written and published in today.” Click here to receive the 2012 Moonbeam Awards entry form and guidelines by email.

3. Mom’s Choice Award: http://www.momschoiceawards.com/. “The Mom’s Choice Awards® is known for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. This annual competition recognizes authors, inventors, companies, parents and others for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media products and services. The Mom’s Choice Awards® is accepting entries. In most cases, decisions can be made in 8 – 12 weeks. Distinguish yourself and your work and join this prestigious awards program.” Click here for the online entry process.

4. The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: http://www.fivestarpublications.com/bookcontest/pd_book_contest.html. “Geared toward stories that appeal to children of all ages. We are looking for stories that inspire, inform, teach or entertain. A Purple Dragonfly seal on your book’s cover tells parents, grandparents, educators and caregivers they are giving children the very best in reading excellence. Our judges are industry experts with specific knowledge about the categories over which they preside. Being honored with a Purple Dragonfly Award confers credibility upon the winner, as well as provides positive publicity to further their success. The goal of these awards is to give published authors the recognition they deserve and provide a helping hand to further their careers.” Only 131 days left until Entry Deadline, May 1, 2012!

5. The Royal Dragonfly Book Awards:  http://www.fivestarpublications.com/bookcontest/rd_book_contest.html. “Five Star Publications is proud to present the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, which were conceived to honor published authors of all types of literature – fiction and nonfiction – in 50 categories, appealing to a wide range of ages and comprehensive list of genres. Our judges are industry experts with specific knowledge about the categories over which they preside. A Royal Dragonfly seal on your book’s cover tells readers they are perusing a highly acclaimed publication. Contest winners garner instant credibility, attention from the media and an opportunity to increase book sales. On the personal side, recipients of Royal Dragonfly Book Awards experience increased self-esteem, heightened confidence and recognition from their peers and employers.” Only 41 days left until Entry Deadline, February 1, 2012!

6. Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Literary Blogger Awards: http://www.cybils.com/. “Our purpose is two-fold: Reward the children’s and young adult authors (and illustrators, let’s not forget them) whose books combine the highest literary merit and “kid” appeal. Foster a sense of community among bloggers who write about children’s and YA literature, highlight our best reviewers (and shamelessly promote their blogs) and provide a forum for the similarly obsessed. You (and you can be anybody, even you) may nominate any book published in the contest year in English.” Nominations open October 1 and close October 15.

7. The Independent Publishers Book Awards: http://www.independentpublisher.com/ipland/ipawards.php. “The ‘IPPY’ Awards were conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. We define “independent” as 1) independently owned and operated; 2) operated by a foundation or university; or 3) long-time independents that became incorporated but operate autonomously and publish fewer than 50 titles a year. Books with 2011-2012 copyright or that are released between Nov. 1, 2010 and March 15, 2012 are eligible. 72 subject categories in National awards. E-Book Awards with fiction, non-fiction, children’s and regional categories. Winners receive medals, certificates, and earn credibility, publicity — and increased book sales!” Final entry deadline March 15, 2012.

8. The Indie Excellence National Book Awards®: http://www.indieexcellence.com/index.html“NIEA celebrates overall excellence, including design and promotional text, so that discerning readers know an NIEA winner or finalist is something special. What’s more, award announcements receive extensive media coverage you can leverage to your sales advantage.” The 2012 contest begins in June 2011 and runs through April 15, 2012.

9. Next Generation Indie Book Awards®: http://www.indiebookawards.com/index.php. “Calling all indie book authors and publishers – including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.” Entries are now being accepted for the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the most exciting and rewarding book awards program open to independent publishers and authors worldwide who have a book written in English with a 2011 or 2012 copyright date.

10. Benjamin Franklin Awards™: http://www.indiebookawards.com/index.php. “Recognizes excellence in independent publishing. Publications, grouped by genre are  judged on editorial and design merit by top practitioners in each field.  Includes fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in both editorial and design,and  is regarded as one of the highest national honors in small and independent publishing. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards program is unique in that entrants receive direct feedback from decision makers in the industry.” DEADLINES: FIRST CALL—SEPTEMBER 30, 2011, for titles published January 1 – August 31, 2011. SECOND CALL—December 31, 2011, primarily for titles published September 1 – December 31, 2011. All titles carrying a 2011 copyright date will be accepted in this round of entries.

More award contests will be included in the Story Quest post on Monday, December 26th. I welcome your additions and suggestions!



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  1. Thanks for the list, good to know that there are other notable awards for children’s books besides Caldecott and Newberry awards. I am always looking for quality picture books and chapter books to list on my online kids bookstore.

    • Hi, So glad you found the list helpful! I love your website–what a wonderful resource! Perhaps you’d consider adding my book to your list?! Jo Ann

  2. Hi, my name is Billy Bob Buttons (my pen name, my real name is Edward Trayer) and my children’s novels have been independently published in the UK. I do pretty well but I’m so fed up of entering my books in American book awards. They cost a fortune and I doubt many of the books even get opened. So I decided to set up my own book award for independent and self-published authors of hardbacks, paperbacks or e-books, living and/or selling their books in the UK
    I write children’s books, I’m a secondary school English teacher and I just did an 200 school book tour of England, so I thought I’d mix the three things up and organise for the children’s books to be judged by the children in the schools I just visited. The adult books, not so much my forte, will be assessed by members of established reading groups who know a good book when they read it.
    This bit is very important. This is only my second year doing this and I’m not promising chests of gold, and I very much doubt Oprah will be knocking on the doors of the winning authors. But I do promise your books will be read cover to cover and judged by children and adults who love reading, and the entry fee will be used to cover the costs of running the Award plus a prize or two for all the finalists.
    I also thought 75 dollars to over 120 dollars (90 odd quid) to enter a book award was a gigantic rip-off. They must be making a bloody fortune over there. So I thought £28 would be okay; cover the costs of posting the books to the schools, hosting the website, advertising the finalists, buying and inscribing medals and perhaps even stretch to a bit of prize money for the winners. This is a non-profit making Award and a copy of the accounts will be sent to every entrant.
    Also, every entrant will be given feedback, whether they win or not, and, if you do do well in this Award, you can publicise your success in any way you see fit. I just discovered many of the independent book awards in America charge a licencing fee if you wish to publicise the fact you won! Cheeky or what!?


    • Hi!

      Thank you for your note! I’m very interested in your wonderful initiative and would like to participate. What are the dates of the event? I would definitely send my children’s book. How would I send the entry fee in USD?

      I’ve organized an event called Bloggers Read Across the Globe (BRAG) to promote children’s reading and literacy. It kicks off February 28 on my website and runs through March with a great line up of children’s book authors and top book marketing experts participating. I’ve written original articles about reading and literacy for guest host’s websites, and will be hosting other bloggers articles on my site. Would you be interested in contributing an article? Perhaps you could describe your program and your books — it would get lots of attention and visibility. I would need the article (500-600 words) by Monday if possible to include in the BRAG event schedule. Also would need a 2 sentence bio, photo of you, and/or photo of your book(s).

      I’m also helping a nonprofit organization — LitWorld — identify volunteers for World Read Aloud Day on March 7. I’ve been named an official WRADvocate! Please read more about it at LitWorld. Again, it’s a great opportunity for exposure.

      I certainly understand your frustration about the awards process. It’s an expensive undertaking. My book won the 2012 Mom’s Choice Gold Award. It’s a wonderful honor and has helped me promote and market my independently published book. Have you tried this award? It’s international and not as expensive as many of the others. They also offer their winners many opportunities and ideas for promotion.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Jo Ann

  3. Love your blog, I am busy filling out my entries!
    Just finished my 3rd “Wilson” book and am energized.
    Please visit my website and Wilson’s face book.

    • Hi Susan, Thanks for you comment! Your website is great and I just love Wilson! What a great story… I’m going to share it with my granddaughter who wants a dog more than anything in the world, but her mom is allergic. She loves stories about dogs. Thanks for sharing! Jo Ann

  4. Is it standard practice to pay entry fees for children’s books contests? I’ve been told to be cautious with other mediums.

    • Hi! Yes, as a rule, it is standard practice to pay to enter children’s book contests. The contest organizations are businesses… therefore, you pay for the “service” of having your book reviewed. From my experience, few provide valuable feedback from the judges. One exception is the Ben Franklin awards which offers detailed notes from judges’ critiques. Awards such as Caldecott may be different… but they don’t apply to self-published or independently published books. Hope this helps! Jo Ann

  5. Hi-
    I’m an author with Auntie M’s Publishing. I saw your book on the site and thought I’d say hello. Great informative page by the way.

    • Hi Rick,

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you reached out… I’m gearing up for my next book’s launch in the spring. Lots of work!! Also am updating the list of children’s book awards and should have that soon.

      Jo Ann