I’m on a quest make a comprehensive list of the awards for kid’s books in the United States. Here are 14 groups that offer awards for picture books that are written in verse.
The Claudia Lewis Award from the Bank Street College is given to the best poetry book of the year. The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and The Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, are also specifically for poetry. The rest accept poetry among other types of books. The Mathical prize looks for books at the “intersection between literature and mathematics,” so the rhythmic structure of poetry is a good fit. Our friends at Lee & Low Books will give the New Voices Award to a manuscript from an unpublished writer of color and poetry is considered. The Border Regional Library Association is looking for poetry about the Southwestern US. For links and more information about these awards, see below.
You can download a list of 85 awards for picture books here, pay what you can to support the project.
Bank Street College
In choosing books for the annual list, reviewers consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes.
Nonfiction titles are further evaluated for accuracy and clarity. Each book accepted for the list is read and reviewed by at least two committee members and then discussed by the committee as a whole. More about the award ▹
The Horn Book, Inc.
The prize is awarded yearly in three categories, picture book, fiction and poetry, and nonfiction, with two honor books in each category. Winners are chosen from books published in the United States, though writers and illustrators need not be American citizens. Books are evaluated by a panel of three judges. More about the award ▹
Literary Classics International
Literary Classics wishes to honor excellence in children’s and young adult literature, encourage a passion for reading, and promote education, imagination and character. They give awards in nearly 100 categories. Literary Classics also offers reviews. More about the award ▹
The mission of The Christophers is to encourage people of all ages, and from all walks of life, to use their God-given talents to make a positive difference in the world. More about the award ▹
Bank Street College
The Claudia Lewis Award, given for the first time in 1998, honors the late Bank Street College faculty member Claudia Lewis. She served on the Children’s Book Committee and loved poetry. The award is given for the best poetry book of the year. More about the award ▹
Children and Young Adults Bloggers Literary Awards
The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine literary merit and popular appeal. They say, “If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.” More about the award ▹
NOTE: For 2020, the Cybils have temporarily suspended poetry as its own category. Books of poetry will be considered within the picture book category. (The same for books of poetry aimed at Middle Grade and YA readers) Sign up here to get updates to the awards list.
Pennsylvania Center for the Book and the Penn State University Libraries
This is an annual award for an American poet or anthologist for the best new book of poetry for children published during the previous calendar year. The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was first given in 1993. More about the award ▹
Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) & Partners
The Mathical Book Prize aims to inspire a love of mathematics in the everyday world in children of all ages. They consider all kinds of books "as the intersection between literature and mathematics" The selection panel can include librarians, teachers, mathematicians, early childhood experts, and others. There are five grade-level categories: PreK, K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12. More about the award ▹
Publishing services company Jenkins Group and IndependentPublisher.com
This is a contest for published books, though an ISBN is not required and galleys can be submited if finished copies aren’t yet available. Publishers select the category or categories for their titles. Authors, illustrators, publishers and self-publishers of children's books are welcome to enter their books. Books should be written in English and Spanish and intended for the North American market. More about the award ▹
LEE & LOW BOOKS
The New Voices Award is given to a picture book manuscript by an unpublished author of color. The winning author gets a cash prize and a a publishing contract. Established in 2000, the NEW VOICES AWARD encourages writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. More about the award ▹
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)
The Notable Children’s Books selection committee selects, annotates, & presents for publication the annual list of notable children's books of the preceding year. Notable is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways. More about the award ▹
The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College
The Poetry Center is looking for the most outstanding poetry book for young people, and offer a $500. award. One book will be selected in the following age categories, Pre-K–Grade 3; Grades 4–6; Grades 7–12. More about the award ▹
Story Monsters, llc
This is a worldwide book competition to recognize and honor accomplished authors and newly published writers. Story Monsters focuses on stories that are original, innovative and creative in both content and design. 55 categories for books and marketing collateral such as bookmarks and media kits. A winner will not be awarded in each category, a book must earn a minimum score of 55 out of 80 judge’s points. More about the award ▹
Border Regional Library Association
Books must be about the Southwest, West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico. The library association will judge the quality of books against the other entries and all of southwestern literature. Poetry and fiction must reflect Southwestern culture and/or be set in the Southwest. More about the award ▹