Please join me for a Picture Book Writing Retreat May 2024 on beautiful Bald Head Island.


I'm thrilled to be participating as a Little GOLDen Book member for my 6th year in the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge.


I am offering consultations and mentorships for aspiring children's book writers in 2024.

Online Children’s Book Writing Contests

Every year I participate in several online Children’s Book Writing Contests. These contests for unpublished and published authors are a fun way to practice craft, come up with ideas, test out the opening pages of your book, and even win awards or credentials that might help lead to publication. While it is helpful to learn more about your craft by taking courses, hiring professionals, working with critique groups, and reading how-to books, entering contests is a great way to get those writing hours in.

Some contests are for full manuscripts while others are short writing exercises or partial manuscript submissions. Some award cash or other prizes and others come with bragging rights.

Many of these contests will offer prizes such at free critiques with agents, editors or published children’s book authors. Some writing contests give winners a chance to connect with acquiring agents and editors.

I hope you will find some fun contests to participate in on this list.

SCBWI Writing Contests

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) offers numerous contests, grants and scholarships each year. I have highlighted a couple of their contests in this article. You can find a full list here.

Work-in-Progress Award

The SCBWI Work-In-Progress (WIP) Award assists children’s book writers and illustrators in the publication of a specific project currently not under contract. One winner per category will be selected.

Ann Whitford Paul Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award

The Ann Whitford Paul Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award is an annual award given to a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript. Winners are selected in two categories: Fiction and Nonfiction. The two winners will each receive a $1000 grant to encourage the development of an excellent picture book manuscript. 

Online Small Writing Contests

I enjoy participating in a couple of these smaller writing contests each year. Here you can check out my entries in 2022 for the #50PreciousWords and #Halloweensie contests.

Vivian Kirkfield’s #50Precious Words

#50PreciousWords asks participants to write a 50-word or less children’s story, appropriate for children 12 and under. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious but it must be a complete story. This means the story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. #50PreciousWords is also a literacy initiative. Participants are encouraged to purchase a book from a local indie bookstore. The purchase is NOT a requirement. Any books purchased are donated to local schools in need to be used in the classroom.

Suzanna Hill’s Online Children’s Book Writing Contests

Prizes for all of Suzanna Hill’s writing contests typically include bragging rights, agent, editor or author critique opportunities, and signed books by other picture book authors.

  • Valentiny – During the Valentiny Contest writers submit a Valentines’ story for children 12 and under. The word count is 214-words because Valentines’ Day falls on 2/14. The stories must feature a character with a specified emotion, which is selected each year. Some past emotions have been hopeful, guilty and curious.
  • Halloweensie – The Halloweensie Contest takes place the last week in October. Participants write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children 12 and under using three specific words. The words are selected new each year.
  • Holiday Contest – For the Holiday Contest, participants write a holiday story for children (age 12 and under) with a maximum 300-400 words, based on the supplied prompt, which changes from year to year.

Twitter Children’s Book Writing Contests

Twitter has an active and engaged children’s book community. I love following other authors, agents and editors there. You can follow me too: @jennyb_writes

#PBParty – The annual PBParty contest is for unagented writers and author/illustrators with finished and polished picture book manuscripts. Participants submit an entry (query and first 60 – 70 words of their manuscript) and judges pick a wide variety of genres for acquiring agents and editors to read and hopefully request. The contest takes place annually in March. It is a multi-day event.

Online Children’s Book Writing Contests are a great way to practice your craft and maybe win a little swag, bragging rights, and maybe even agent and editor connections along the way. Good luck!

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