Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants

CANSCAIP announces longlist for 2018 Writing for Children Competition

August 31, 2018: The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) is pleased to announce the longlist for the 21st annual Writing for Children Competition.   

More than 500 entries were received. All the entries were evaluated by first-round readers who selected which entries would proceed to second-round readers.  The second-round readers selected the entries that will now proceed to the juries—which is the longlist. From the longlist, the juries will select four finalists and one winner for Picture Book / Early Reader, and four finalists and one winner for Chapter Book / Middle Grade / Young Adult. The winners and finalists will be announced in October.

CANSCAIP congratulates the writers whose entries were selected for the longlist:


  • Tanya Allatt - Jazzy Patches, All Alone the War Pigeon
  • Davida Ander - The Hiccup War
  • Laura Ann - Ethan Can
  • Hassina Benchabane - The Wooden Boat
  • Kim Benson - A Girl Saw a Beetle
  • Jane Blondie - We Dance Spring!
  • Jessica Boyd - Emily Paints the Town, A Book About Nothing
  • Nathalie Brousseau - The World's Strongest Thread
  • Rebecca Clifford - Starberries
  • Tziporah Cohen - Sweet Success: The Story of Milton Hershey
  • Laurie Crookell - Salmon, Come Home
  • Brandy  Ford - Remember Me
  • Cathrin Hagey - A Friend for Hen
  • Mary Hassell - Dude James and Peter
  • Elaine Kachala - Let the Fur Fly! Furry Fun Facts About How Dogs Help Humans
  • Mary Kastle - Unstoppable
  • Tiziana Klin - Harrison's Heart is Special
  • Robin Larin - Pussycat Paige
  • Jena Ledson - Norman and the Pie
  • Mary-Esther Lee - Saturday Night
  • Lisa Luscombe - Treasure on the Moon
  • Meagan Mahoney - The Grampa Drawer
  • Susan Marcus - Jessie and Sam
  • Shari Mowat - Little Duck and The Big Wind
  • Gail Packwood - Graham
  • Margaret Pilkey - Prince Nicolai and the Empty Box
  • Catherine Pledger - Tina Tootington
  • Lee Reaney - The Mitten
  • Brittany Stares - The Comma Raft and the Ending Pit
  • Kaitlin Whitehouse - A Friend like Me
  • Carmen Wittmeier - Thomas and the Ring of Light
  • Susan Yoon - Me and Papa


  • Karen Alison - Blood
  • Annie Bortucene - Evergreen
  • Dee Hahn - The Grave Thief, Fen of the Forest
  • VJ Hamilton - Dust
  • Loraine Kemp - Luna
  • Martha Kurtz Hogan - Top Secrets
  • Geri Lalach - Call of the Dragon, Stick
  • Anne MacLachlan - Wishcraft
  • Amanda McNeice - Harvey & Stink
  • Robin North - Godfather Death
  • Aaron Rabinowitz - Below Daylight, Small-Town Terrestrials
  • Ann Severn (Benedek) - My Name Is Thea 
  • Jeremy Smith - Cultivating Sunshine
  • Andrew Tolson - How to Kidnap a Mermaid
  • Stephanie Warner - Mopsey and the Diverse Dog Show
  • Danielle Webster - A New Breed
  • Karon Young - The Wind and the Wailing, Desperate Hope 

CANSCAIP will submit the finalists and winners to three Canadian children’s book publishers (Annick Press, Kids Can Press and Scholastic Canada) for their consideration. A cash prize will be presented to the two winners.

Feedback on each entry is a unique and beneficial element of CANSCAIP’s Writing for Children Competition; all the writers receive the evaluation comments of the readers who evaluated their entries. The readers are published CANSCAIP Members, and we thank them for volunteering as first-round readers or second-round readers:  Beverley Brenna, Charlene Chua, Lena Coakley, Kathryn Ellis, Theo Heras, Susan Hughes, Ellen S. Jaffe, Michelle Kadarusman, Monica Kulling, Carol L. MacKay, Jennifer McGrath, Patsy McKinnon, Anita Miettunen, Colleen Nelson, Beth Pollock, Lorna Poplak, Karen J. Rankin, Bev Katz Rosenbaum, Aimee Reid, Gillian Richardson, Valerie Sherrard, Susan White, Diane Young.

The Writers' Union of Canada initiated the Writing for Children Competition in 1996, and in 2014 CANSCAIP took on this initiative as a partnership with TWUC. A goal of the Competition is to discover, encourage, and promote not-yet-published writers of children's literature across Canada.

CANSCAIP was founded in 1977 and we celebrated our 40th anniversary last year. We’re a national membership-based organization, representing Canadian authors and illustrators of children's books and children’s performers.


CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) welcomes entries by unpublished writers for the 21st annual Writing for Children Competition. The deadline for entries is May 31, 2018.

Two winners will be awarded $750 for a picture book/early reader entry and a chapter book/middle grade/young adult entry. Eight finalists will also be selected. 

The readers and juries who volunteer to evaluate the entries are all published CANSCAIP Members. All writers will receive feedback from the readers who evaluate the entries. The feedback is generally a few sentences or a short paragraph, and is a unique benefit of entering the Writing for Children Competition. 

CANSCAIP submits the winners and finalists to publishers Annick Press, Kids Can Press, and Scholastic Canada for their consideration. Some of the previous Writing for Children Competition winners and finalists have had their work published.

A goal of the Writing for Children Competition is to discover, encourage, and promote new writers of children's literature across Canada. The Writers' Union of Canada initiated the Competition in 1996, and in 2014 CANSCAIP took on this initiative.  


  • MAY 31: Deadline for submissions
  • JUNE: First-round readers evaluate all entries 
  • JULY: Second-round readers evaluate selected entries and choose longlist 
  • AUGUST: Announcement of longlist sent to entrants
  • SEPTEMBER: Juries evaluate longlist and select winners and finalists
  • OCTOBER: Announcement of winners and finalists sent to entrants   
  • DECEMBER: Reader evaluation feedback sent to entrants


    • Unpublished writers* who have not been professionally published in book or e-book, in any genre or for any age, and who do not currently have a contract for a future book
    • Self-published writers whose book has sold fewer than 200 copies  
    • Writers must be over the age of 18
    • Writers must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents 
    *Writers with stories, articles, poems etc. published in anthologies, textbooks, magazines, journals, etc. (publications with content by multiple writers) are eligible.


      • English text, fiction or non-fiction, no illustrations (text only)
      • Entry is maximum 1,500 words
      • One-page cover letter with each entry (not counted in the 1,500 words)  
      • Entry and cover letter in 12-point font, double-spaced 
      • Word document or PDF attached to an email to
      • NOTE: Entries for a previous Competition can be re-submitted 


        • The entry fee for the Writing for Children Competition is $30 for one entry, $50 for two entries, $75 for three entries. Pay before sending your entry.
        • Online payment is by Visa or MasterCard. CANSCAIP's online payments are processed via PayPal, but entrants don't need their own PayPal account.
        • When your payment has been processed, you'll receive an automatic email confirmation. 
        • NOTE: You don't have to submit your entry at the same time as you pay the entry fee. After the entry fee is paid, send your entry whenever you like, up to the deadline. 


        • For longer books, such as Chapter Book, Middle Grade, or Young Adult, send the first chapter plus other chapters/excerpts, up to 1,500 words. For short books, such as Picture Book and Early Reader, send the full story if it is less than 1,500 words
          • For your entry's DOCUMENT NAME, use this information sequence: 
            Reading Age Category - Your Name - Title of Entry  
            EXAMPLE: Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little White Duck 
          • Provide a one-page COVER LETTER (cover letter not counted in 1,500 word maximum) with this information
          1. Your name, e-mail, phone, address, title of the entry
          2. Summary of your full story in one paragraph
          3. To provide context, include information about the entry's place in the story (e.g., "My entry is the first chapter, the fourth chapter, and an excerpt from the last chapter.") 
          4. Summary of your writing experience in one paragraph
          • Attach your ENTRY and COVER LETTER to an email addressed to
          • In the EMAIL SUBJECT LINE, provide this information in this order: 
            Reading Age Category - Your Name - Title of Entry
            EXAMPLE: Picture Book - Mary Smith - The Little White Duck 
          • For MULTIPLE ENTRIES, attach each entry and a cover letter to a separate email
          • NOTE: Although our database issues an automatic email confirmation when you register, CANSCAIP cannot confirm that we received your entry. The Competition generates more than 500 emails with attached entries, and we just don't have the resources to individually respond to each email to confirm receipt. After the deadline, we cross-reference entries registered with entries received, and we will contact any writers whose entry has not been received.


          • The deadline for entries is midnight May 31, 2018
          • NOTE: The volume of entries on the deadline date can overwhelm the online payment system and slow down the processing of payments, sometimes by a few hours. In this happens, email your entry before you get confirmation that your payment has been completed. We will notify you if there is a problem.


          • Registering for the Writing for Children Competition includes selecting ONE reading age category for your entry from the five options below. 
          • Although not all entries will exactly fit the parameters, select the one reading age option that best fits. 
          • The entries for each reading age are evaluated by CANSCAIP Members with published books for that reading age. Evaluation is delayed when the reading age category doesn't fit the entry, because the entry must be rerouted to another reader.
          • The following guidelines should help in selecting the reading age category for your entry. 

            PICTURE BOOK (age 2 to 6): For kids who don't yet read on their own. Picture books are usually 28 to 32 pages, with a few lines of text per page, and illustrations on every page.

            EARLY READER (age 5 to 8): For kids who have started reading on their own. Early reader books are usually 28 to 32 pages or a bit longer, with a few sentences or short paragraphs per page, and illustrations on every page.

            CHAPTER BOOK (age 7 to 10): For kids making the transition from pictures to text, who can read completely on their own. Chapter books have short chapters, and an illustration or two per chapter. 

            MIDDLE GRADE (age 9 to 12): For kids who are ready for longer and more complex stories. Middle grade books have longer chapters and no illustrations. 

            YOUNG ADULT (age 13 and up): For teens who are familiar with mature concepts. Young adult books can be as long as most adult novels. 


            • The Writing for Children Competition readers and juries are published authors of books in the reading age categories they evaluate. 
            • First-round readers evaluate all the entries, and select the entries that will proceed to the second-round readers. 
            • Second-round readers evaluate those selected entries and choose a longlist of entries to proceed to the jury. 
            • A three-member jury selects their top choices from the longlist; a consensus of the jury's selections determines the finalists and winners.
            • There is a jury for picture book/early reader and a jury for chapter book/middle grade/young adult.  
            • The finalists and winners are submitted to three Canadian children's publishers (Annick Press, Kids Can Press, Scholastic Canada) for their consideration. 

              Content Copyright © 1996-2015 CANSCAIP

              720 Bathurst St, Suite 503, Toronto, ON, CANADA, M5S 2R4

              Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software