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How to Submit

This page lists submission information and guidelines for Pennsylvania Center for the Book awards and programs. Programs or awards not listed here are closed to unsolicited submissions.

Please note: All jurors serving Pennsylvania Center for the Book initiatives agree to comply with our Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Statement.

Click a link below to jump to the applicable section:

A Baker’s Dozen | Lee Bennett Hopkins Award | Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize | Wordstruck


A Baker's Dozen: The Best Children's Books for Family Literacy

Each year A Baker’s Dozen highlights the best picture books published the previous year per copyright. Publishers and authors are welcomed to submit titles published in the current copyright year to be considered by mailing a copy of each title by December 31 of the current year to:

Attention: Baker’s Dozen
Karla M. Schmit
Penn State University Libraries
502 Paterno Library
University Park, PA 16802-1809

Selection Criteria

  1. Recent outstanding trade books whose text and illustrations are particularly suited to the interests and developmental characteristics of children between three and six years of age. Fiction and nonfiction as well as wordless books are considered.
  2. Books that are accessible to adults enrolled in family literacy programs, particularly those characterized by:
    • Text that is easily approachable because of attributes such as these:
      • use of language that is primarily natural as opposed to literary
      • use of repetitive words and phrases
    • Print that is easy to read because of features such as these:
      • large lettering with ample space between letters and words
      • few sentences per page without many sentences that break to the next page
      • print that appears at about the same place on each page, and generally reads left to right and top to bottom
    • Illustrations that support and extend the text
  3. Books that are enjoyable for reading aloud and have appeal to a wide range of families.


Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children’s Poetry

Each year the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award highlights the most outstanding anthology or single volume of poetry for children by a living American poet or anthologist published in the previous year per copyright. Publishers and authors are welcomed to submit titles published in the current copyright year to be considered by mailing a copy of each title by December 31 of the current year to our award jurors and offices.

Please contact Outreach Coordinator, Caroline Wermuth ( for mailing instructions and juror names and addresses.

Selection Criteria

Good poetry is imaginative. It deals with emotion and has significance beyond the act of creation. It uses figurative language, yet is compact in thought and expression. Good poetry has an element of beauty and truth which appears unstable outside of the poem. The book which wins the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children’s Poetry must be accessible to children and its presentation must serve the poem or poems in an attractive and appropriate manner.

Published in the previous calendar year per copyright refers to poems newly published in the previous year or previously published poetry collected and published in a newly released anthology. Reissued single volumes or anthologies will be considered for the award if the content and design have been significantly altered from the original publication.

The selected title will comply with the following definitions:

  • Poet: A poet is, in the narrowest sense, a maker of verses. A poet is also imaginative in thought, expressive in language, and graceful in form.
  • Anthologist: An anthologist, although often a poet as well, is a selector and compiler of poems.
  • Poetry: Poetry both predates and transcends the written word. It is the rhythmic expression of imaginative thoughts about our world and its people.
  • Children: Children are 0 through 14 years old.
  • Anthology: An anthology is a collection of poems usually by various authors.
  • Single Author Collection of Poems: A single author volume of poetry or a book length poem is a contained unit, where the poem or collection of poems expresses the thoughts of a single author.


Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize

The Lynd Ward Prize recognizes the best graphic novel by a living U.S. or Canadian citizen or resident, fiction or nonfiction, published in the previous year per copyright. Publishers, authors, illustrators, and artists are welcomed to submit titles published in the current copyright year to be considered by mailing one copy of each title, by December 31 of the current year, to each of our five award jurors and one to our offices.

Please contact Outreach Coordinator, Caroline Wermuth ( for mailing instructions and juror names and addresses.

Selection Criteria

The selection jury will consider work that is:

  • Defined as a graphic novel.
    Definition: A graphic novel is a narrative work of fiction or nonfiction in which the story is conveyed to the reader using images arranged in sequential form such as the traditional comic form. Integrated or incidental text may be incorporated in the work, but a graphic novel is, by definition, a visual work rather than an illustrated text-driven novel. The term suggests a complete self-contained work. Graphic novels are bound using the same materials and methods as printed books and are generally sold in bookstores as well as specialty comic book shops.
  • Created by authors, illustrators, and/or artists who are permanent residents or citizens of the U.S. or Canada.
  • Designed primarily for adults and young adults.
    Books designed primarily for children below 13 years of age—the traditional picture book or picture storybook—are ineligible.
  • Published within the assigned calendar year, January 1 to December 31; however, when a book with a copyright is not available in the year of its copyright (due to publisher delays, for example), the book may be considered the year it is actually available for purchase. No book may be considered more than once.
  • Original in its use of form and/or content.
  • Demonstrates artistic and literary quality, ambition, and/or innovation.
  • An engaging and descriptive narrative, in word choice and/or visually.
  • A collaborative, equitable integration of words and images (when applicable) that results in a sum experience that is superior to its respective components.
  • Impactful to readers.

Please note: Reprinted or reissued works are ineligible; however, a new or a substantial adaption of an original work may be eligible. A new or reissued collection of comic strips would only be considered eligible if the collection contained an overarching story arc.


Wordstruck: Micro Essays on Literature that Redefined You

The Wordstruck contest is open to Pennsylvania students in Grades 10-12 during the current school year. Relatives of current and former Pennsylvania Center for the Book employees are ineligible to submit. A Micro Essay Lesson Plan is also available in the Center's Curricula & Teaching Materials to support the development of writing skills related to this contest.

The 2022 Submission Period is: Monday, October 11, 2021 - Friday, December 17, 2021.

Please note: Each participating student must complete a Wordstruck Submission Form; the system does not currently accept submissions in batches/groups.

A Pennsylvania student in Grade 10-12 is welcomed to enter the Wordstruck essay contest by following these guidelines:

  • Write an essay in 300-500 words (300 minimum, 500 max) describing how a piece of literature (fiction/nonfiction/poetry/play/graphic novel) redefined your behavior, attitude, worldview, and/or personal perspective. The piece of literature must be self-selected and not assigned, e.g. by an educator/guardian.
  • Mention the Title, Author/s, and Illustrator/s (as applicable) of the selected literature in your essay.
  • Avoid summarizing the selected piece of literature and include the following in your essay:
    • Concrete examples that illustrate how the selected piece of literature influenced your understanding of the world around you, how it challenged a belief, offered insight, or changed your perspective
    • Varying sentence lengths (simple/complex/compound) that create a coherent, well-defined perspective and build a particular tone, pace, and outcome
    • Precise details and active language that convey a vivid picture
    • Imagery, sensory details, and literary devices (e.g. repetition, similes, metaphors, fragmentation) to enhance mood and tone
    • Correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar
  • Include your Full Name and Essay Title in the upper left corner of your essay document.
  • Save your essay as a Word (.doc/.docx) or PDF (.pdf) document using the naming format: LastName_FirstName_Grade## (e.g. Cain_Susan_Grade11).
    These are the only file types accepted by the Submissions Form.
  • Prepare the following required information before submitting; the Submission Form does not allow use of the back button for corrections in most sections:
    • Full Name
    • Email Address
    • Parent/Guardian Name
    • Parent/Guardian Email
    • City of Residence
    • Grade
    • Age
    • Submission Type (High School Assignment/Independent/Homeschool Assignment)
      • Assignment = required to participate by a teacher/guardian as part of educational curriculum.
      • Independent = personal interest to participate.
    • Type of School (High School/Homeschool, applies to all submission types)
    • High School Name (applies to High School Assignment/Independent submissions)
    • High School City (applies to High School Assignment/Independent submissions)
    • Teacher Name (applies to High School Assignment submissions)
    • Teacher Email (applies to High School Assignment submissions)
    • Essay Title
    • Literature Type (Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry/Play/Graphic Novel/Other)
    • Literature Title
    • Literature Author/s (list First Name Last Name, separating multiple authors by commas)
    • Literature Illustrator/s (list First Name Last Name, separating multiple illustrators by commas)
  • Submit your final essay during the Submission Period via this: Wordstruck Submission Form (submissions are currently closed).
  • Submit no more than one essay during the Submission Period.
  • Note the submitted essay must: 1) be the original creation of the submitting student; 2) be previously unpublished; 3) be exclusively submitted to the Wordstruck contest (and no other contests/competitions); and 4) not infringe upon or violate the rights of any third party.

Only submissions adhering to all stated guidelines will be considered.
Previous winners who remain eligible for the contest may reenter.

To learn more about this contest, visit the Wordstruck About page.