Call for Submissions to the Sheila Barry Award

The Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award is accepting submissions for the 2020 Award.

Submission Deadline: March 31, 2020.

Administered by the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable, the Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award will be awarded each year at what has previously been known as the VCLR Annual Fall Illustrator’s Breakfast, but will now be the Annual VCLR Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award Breakfast.

The $2500 cash award is specifically for books in the acknowledged picture book format famously defined by Barbara Bader in 1976 as “an art form [that] hinges on the interdependence of pictures and words, on the simultaneous display of two facing pages, and on the drama of the turning of the page.”

Submissions are due by Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The submission fee is $30 per title. For each submission please include a completed submission form for each title and three copies of the book. If the book is shortlisted we will request brief bios for each author and/or illustrator, their photos, and contact information.


  • The book must exhibit a seamless integration of the verbal and visual modes. In the case of a wordless book then it must be a seamless integration of the unwritten narrative that can be inferred from the well sequenced series of images.
  • The book must be written in English by a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and must be published by a Canadian publisher during 2019.
  • Revisions and reprints of previously published works are not eligible for the award.
  • In the case of self-published books, proof of professional editing must be submitted along with a confirmation that there is a current print run of at least 350 copies.
  • A three-person jury will select the winning book and 4 honour books.
  • The cash prize will go to the author/illustrator or in the case of a separate author and illustrator the prize will be split 50/50.

The winning title and four honour books will be announced on Canada Day, July 1, 2020.The winner(s) will be invited to be the featured speaker(s) at the Annual VCLR Sheila Barry Best Picturebook of the Year Award Breakfast in fall 2020 at which time the prize will be officially awarded to the winner (s). VCLR will cover the cost of hotel accommodation and meals but will request transportation cost support from the publisher.Please mail your submission—a completed submission form, three copies of each book plus a fee of $30 per title in a cheque made out to the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable to:

Sheila Barry Picturebook of the Year Award c/o Award Chair
#301- 3787 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC  V6R 1P4

Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Any questions regarding submissions should be directed to:

Download the PDF version of this press release here and the submission form here.