Black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest 2022/Prize ($1750)

Black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest was founded by Strive publishing and Free spirit.

About Strive Publishing

Strive Publishing is one of the conveyers of black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest . Their vision is to see a world where Black narratives are centered, valued, and empowered for freedom, equity, and justice.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Strive Publishing exists to help solve two problems: the need for culturally relevant children’s books and the underrepresentation of Black authors. While giving all children the opportunity to see Black culture from different perspectives, Strive Publishing aims to create opportunities for emerging Black authors. They all have a stake in the critical work of uplifting Black voices in children’s literature, and they believe we can make the greatest impact by working together.

About Free Spirit Publishing

Free Spirit has had the same mission for almost 40 years: to provide children and teens—and the adults who care for and about them—with the tools they need to think for themselves, overcome challenges, and make a difference in the world.

Minneapolis-based Free Spirit Publishing, an imprint of Teacher Created Materials, is known for its unique understanding of what kids want and need to navigate life successfully. They are not afraid to tackle tough topics such as teen depression, kids and anxiety, grief and loss, juvenile justice, and conflict resolution. Free Spirit also offers sound advice with a sense of humor on relevant issues including stress management, character building, school success, self-esteem, community involvement, youth leadership, and more. We aim to meet all kids—toddlers, teens, and everyone in between—where they are (not where we wish they were), and support them to develop their talents, build resiliency, and foster a positive outlook on life so they can reach their goals.

Eligibility for Black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest

  • Eligible entries will include original childrens books for ages 0–4 (50–125 words) or for ages 4–8 (300–800 words)
  • The character must be authentic, realistic Black characters and culture and focusing on one or more of the following topics: character development, self-esteem, identity, diversity, getting along with others, engaging with family and community, or other topics related to positive childhood development.
  • Religious and fantasy themes will not be considered.
  • The contest is now open to Black authors who at the time of entry are at least 18 years of age and residing anywhere in the United States.
  • As always, the contest’s mission is to elevate authentic, culturally relevant children’s stories written by and about Black people. Every entry is considered for publication and three cash prizes will be awarded.
Black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest

Guidelines for Black Voices in Children’s Literature

All entries must be your original work, unpublished (either traditionally or self-published), and not accepted for publication anywhere at the time they are entered in the contest. Please include the following items in your entry:
  • Book text along with illustration ideas (no need to send art; written ideas are preferred)
  • A letter briefly describing your book, specifying the intended audience (including age range), and telling why you decided to write it
  • Your brief biography and current email address
  • Submissions can be done via email:
    1. Title the manuscript and include your name on the first page.
    2. Send your entry as an attachment in Word or as a PDF.
    3. Email to [email protected]
    4. or submittable 

No manuscripts will be returned. Entries that do not conform to contest rules will be disqualified.

Awards & Cash Prizes

First Place: $1,000 cash prize, a T-shirt from Strive, a tote bag from Free Spirit, and a meeting with Mary Taris, founder of Strive, and an editor from Free Spirit to discuss the winner’s project. The winning submission will be seriously considered for publication by Free Spirit, cobranded with Strive; however, publication is not guaranteed.
Second Place: $500 cash prize, a T-shirt from Strive, and a tote bag from Free Spirit

Third Place: $250 cash prize, a T-shirt from Strive, and a tote bag from Free Spirit


The Contest begins at 7:00:01 a.m. (CST) on June 19, 2022, and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. (CDT) on July 24, 2022 (“Entry Period”). Mailed entries must be postmarked, and emailed entries must be received, by 11:59:59 p.m. CST on July 24, 2022.

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