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The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Announces the Winner of the Sue Alexander Award and Most Promising Picture Book Award

Selected from manuscripts submitted for individual critiques by editors and agents at the SCBWI Annual Conference in Los Angeles, the Sue Alexander Award is given to the manuscript deemed most promising for publication. The Picture Book Award is given to the picture book manuscript with the most promise.

Sue Alexander Award

WINNER: “Sam & Haley” by Heather Zenzen (YA Magical realism)

Sam’s dead best friend, Julia, isn’t really gone. She’s coated over his carbon heart – and she’s not leaving. After getting kicked off the transplant list, Sam spends one hospital-free summer on Mabel Island, where he falls for Haley, a girl concealing secrets with a varnish of smiles and sweetness, exuberance and genius, chronic lies and slipping masks. Julia winds tighter around Sam, igniting his grief. To help, Haley shares her own past, giving Sam the courage to share his. Then, Julia’s grip slips.

Runner Up: “Dear Cat” by Zainab Khan

Most Promising Picture Book

WINNER:  “How to Build a Rocket Ship in Ten Easy Steps” by Kjersten Hayes

The winner of the Sue Alexander Award will have their synopsis presented to an esteemed group of hand-selected editors and agents. The Most Promising Picture Book Award winner will receive $500 to finish their work-in-progress.

To learn more about the Manuscript Awards, visit the “Awards and Grants” section of www.scbwi.org.


Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.

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