Only 7% of Children’s Books are Authored by Persons of Color

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Children’s Picture Book Award: New Voices Award

While the population of the United States is skewing toward more and more “persons of color,” the publishing world has yet to catch up. In a press release, Lee & Low publishers say that less than 7% of children’s books published are by persons of color. To help encourage writers, Lee and Low has opened submissions for its 14th Annual New Voices Award. The Award is given for a picture book manuscript by an unpublished writer of color.

The Award winner receives a cash prize of $1000 and Lee & Low’s standard publication contract, including their basic advance and royalties for a first time author. The contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published.

Past New Voices Award-winning books have gone on to win major awards such as the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent.

For full details on submission, see Lee & Low’s New Voices website.

Children’s Novel Award: New Visions Award

TU BOOKS, the fantasy, science fiction, and mystery imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, has just announced the first annual NEW VISIONS AWARD. The NEW VISIONS AWARD will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and their standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500.

TU BOOKS was launched in 2010, dedicated to diversity in the beloved genre fiction market for young people. Titles include Wolf Mark, Tankborn, and Cat Girl’s Day Off.

Submission details will be available in June; see Lee & Low’s New Visions website.

Award Winners

Here are three examples of recent winners; I was surprised that the most recent I could find was 2007, which means that some of the award winning titles are waiting more than five years to be published. When I asked, a Lee & Low representative said, “This depends on a lot of factors including the amount of editing the manuscript needs upon acquisition and the schedules of the illustrators. Several of our New Voices authors have been paired with established illustrators who are often working on several books at once, which lengthens the process – but their illustrations are well worth the wait. New Voices Award winning-books have gone on to win major awards such as the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent, and a spot on the Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist.”

2007 New Voices Award Winner

2006 New Voices Award winner

2005 New Voices Award winner


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