How do we grow readers of the future? The Bocas Lit Fest believes children should have books that appeal to them and the NGO has announced the return of the Children’s Book Prize for 2022.
It is the second annual Bocas Children’s Book Prize and is open to Caribbean-born authors of English-language books, including self-published authors, who live anywhere in the world and carries a cash prize of US$1,000. It opens on June 20 and closes on August 31. The winner will be announced in November 2022.
The annual prize was started in 2021 to address the paucity of books for children aged 7-12, which is a critical time, since children move from being read to, to becoming independent readers. Encouraging more writing aimed at this age range through the Bocas Children’s Book Prize is just one of the incentive measures towards increasing the number of high-quality and relatable books for Caribbean children.
The prize is intended to build capacity in the area of Caribbean children’s publishing by encouraging publishers, illustrators and writers to continue creating to high standards, providing culturally relevant reading matter for children at a critical point in their reading development. By raising public awareness of the best books available for children the prize is also intended to guide educators and parents.
Former director of the Heritage Library, part of Nalis, and well known storyteller Joan Osborne will again preside over an independent panel of judges, which will be joined by a young reader at the second stage of judging. Works of fiction including short story collections and books in verse, literary nonfiction and graphic novels written for children are all eligible and must be led by prose, rather than by illustrations, since visual storytelling is more appropriate for younger readers.
In 2021, the inaugural year of the competition, entries were received from across the Caribbean and the diaspora. Jamaican-born Kereen Getten who resides in the UK emerged the winner with her outstandingly imaginative book, When Life Gives you Mangoes.
The 2022 prize is sponsored by the Wainwright Family.
Prize entry guidelines and further information are available at: www.bocaslitfest.com/awards/childrens-book-prize/