Picture Book Writing Competition for Homeschooled Students Call for Entries and Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Sylvan Dell Publishing? Sylvan Dell Publishing is a young company on a serious mission to create picture books that excite children’s imaginations, are artistically spectacular and have educational value. All of our books start with fun, warm stories—generally fiction with math, science or nature themes—and are brought to life by art. We then add a 3 to 5 page “For Creative Minds” section that includes fun facts, vocabulary and games to support National Science and Math Standards. Finally, each book is carefully vetted for scientific accuracy by experts in the field including scientists and educators from NASA, SeaWorld and the Houston Zoo. These are not textbooks in the traditional sense, but rather fun picture books that a child will want to read over and over again. We think having a child excited about a book and its subject enhances the opportunity for parents and teachers to build on that interest and to strike while the learning iron is hot.

Why should I enter? Sylvan Dell Publishing’s Picture Book Writing Competition offers homeschooled students working at a high school level a unique opportunity to explore the world of children’s literature and try their hand at writing a picture book. The winning author will receive a $200 prize and the manuscript will be seriously considered for publication. Who can enter? Because Publishers Lee and Donna German homeschooled their three daughters, they understand that each child learns at his or her own pace. As a result, this competition is open to any student working at a high school level.

Manuscripts from students of any age will be accepted as long as the appropriate level of study is presented.

What is the deadline? All submissions must be e-mailed to Homeschool Market Liaison Maggie Stuart by May 1, 2007. Her e-mail address is MaggieStuart@SylvanDellPublishing.com. Ms. Stuart will confirm receipt of every submission and answer questions that arise. Manuscripts that arrive by mail will not be considered.

Should I send any information when I submit my manuscript? Each manuscript should contain the students’ name, date of birth and a short biography. In the subject heading of the e-mail, please write “Homeschool Contest Submission” and the title of the manuscript.

Can students submit more than one manuscript? Yes, eligible students can submit more than one manuscript, but please do not send more than three. Also, please e-mail each submission to MaggieStuart@SylvanDellPublishing.com separately. Does my manuscript have to be about science, nature or math? Sylvan Dell Publishing’s current catalog contains titles in all three areas of education, but manuscripts that teach geography or any other academic subject to children ages 2 to 10 will be considered. That said, please do not send manuscripts about pets, new babies, or holidays. Also, no novels or young adult books will be considered.

Are you looking for manuscripts written for a particular age range? We are looking for books written for age ranges: 3-7, 4-8, 5-9 or 6-10. As you write, try to zero-in on one of these four age groups and select age appropriate words.

Should I include illustrations for my manuscript? No. We prefer to receive manuscripts without illustrations. We may sponsor a second competition next year geared to illustration.

Is there a word limit or length requirement for my manuscript? Typically, picture books are less than 1,000 words. Manuscripts over 1,500 words will not be considered. In addition, every Sylvan Dell title is 32 pages, including the title page and the three to five page “For Creative Minds” educational section. As we review manuscripts from students, we are looking to be sure that the text fits into this format. We will not require that students include page breaks in their submissions. In fact, we prefer that they don’t.

Should I include a “For Creative Minds” educational section? While every Sylvan Dell title contains a “For Creative Minds” educational section, it is not necessary for students to submit one with their manuscript. We welcome all well-researched ideas for the section, but there is no obligation to send them.

Traditionally it is the responsibility of Editor Donna German to compose the supplement. Can I be a judge? Although we appreciate your interest, the Sylvan Dell editorial staff will review each submission. You may be interested to know that Sylvan Dell receives about 30 manuscripts a day from authors across the country. For this reason, we feel comfortable with the reviewing and judging process. When and how will the announcement be made? The winner and four runner-ups will be contacted directly by e-mail.

Sylvan Publishing

2 Responses to “Homeschooled teens enter this book writing contest!”

  1. on 27 Feb 2007 at 9:36 am Kate - LovetoLead

    This sounds like a wonderfully creative competition that should produce some great material for children’s books!

  2. on 18 Mar 2008 at 7:28 am Elizabeth

    For more writing contests, here is a helpful site:


    It has several dozen free contests for kids ages 5-19, all open to homeschoolers. They are organized in chart form listing age limits, deadlines, prizes, links, and descriptions.

    My 11-year-old daughter put this site together after we realized how long it took us to find this sort of information on the web. We hope the information will be helpful to other homeschooling families.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply