Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Read Local Challenge FAQ

Cropped US map with Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Washington DC, and West Virginia highlighted, and the words "Take the Read Local Challenge!" in bold -- with the URL


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Read Local Challenge?

A reading incentive program sponsored by the MD/DE/WV region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, featuring traditionally-published authors and illustrators in Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. The challenge consists of three levels: Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult, and it runs from October 1st through May 31st.


How do I sign up? Do I have to make an account or something? What will you do with the information you collect?

No sign-ups necessary. Just grab a book from our current Read Local Challenge list and start reading! You can read individually, with a small group of friends or family members, or as a team with your entire class/school/group! If you want a chance to win prizes, like signed copies of our Read Local Challenge books, or free 15-30-minute Skype visits with our Read Local authors, we will ask you to fill out our entry form (here). We ask for your name and email address when you enter. If you are selected as a winner, we will contact you via email to ask for your address, so that we may send your prizes to you. We will not keep or use your email address for any other purpose, unless you opt to join our mailing list for updates on upcoming Read Local events.


What is included in a FREE Read Local Kick-off Party? It seems too good to be true… Are there hidden costs/fees/commitments?

We have worked hard to design our Kick-off Parties to work with what you already have on hand at no additional costs to you.  There is absolutely no fee for these FREE events. Your only costs will be for the basic art supplies (like paper, crayons, and scissors) you may need for the downloadable games & activities you choose to use at your event.

We will provide:

  • A visit from a Read Local author or illustrator, who will give a 20-minute presentation.**NOTE: Visiting author’s/illustrator’s books MUST be made available for sale during the event. Please coordinate with the author/illustrator to work out the details for book sales.
  • Downloadable Read Local Party Activities to keep the fun going (available at
  • Read Local poster/gameboards.
  • A selection of prizes, such as Read Local stickers, bookmarks, buttons, and other swag items for your event..

You provide:

  • A party space (including space for book sales – either by the author or through a local bookstore)
  • Guests (The more the merrier! Post the information on your websites and public spaces, and invite the whole community to Read Local with us! We will also post the party information on our Read Local calendar of events. Please let us know if you prefer to have the event exclusive to your school/library/group, so we can make a note of it on the event listing.)
  • Simple art supplies (such as crayons, paper, and glue) for the crafts you choose from the party pack


How can my Library, School, or Bookstore participate?

  • Help us get the word out! We handle all the entries and prizes, so all you have to do is make the program materials available to your customers or students.
  • Host a Read Local Party anytime in October or November. It’s easy, FREE, and fun!
  • Consider inviting one or more of our Read Local authors or illustrators for an event. Each participating author or illustrator has offered to give a 10% discount on their speaking fees for the entire challenge year!
  • Read together (or individually)! The Read Local Challenge is designed to be accessible for individual readers as well as groups. Share the challenge with your book clubs and class groups and count the books you read together! But don’t forget individual readers. You don’t need a group to enter.


I want to schedule one of those FREE October/November Kick-off Parties! How do I sign up?

Just fill out the Google form (link on our website, or direct here:

The form should take just a few moments to complete. We’ll ask for the following information:

  • Contact name, email, and phone number
  • Address where the event will be held
  • Preferred dates and times (please provide 3 options, as our authors have busy calendars, and we want to be sure we can make an author/illustrator match for you!)
  • Target age group
  • Author/Illustrator preferences (requests will be taken into consideration when assigning authors/illustrators to your event, but we cannot guarantee that the requested author/illustrator will be available for the date/time/location you have chosen)


Can my scout troop/homeschool group/co-op sign up to host a Read Local Kick-off Party? Or does it have to be a school or library?

Of course you can! We want to connect with our readers, wherever they may be. If you have a group of readers, we want to meet you!


Do the Read Local Kick-off Parties have to be open to the public? What if we want to hold an event during school hours?

That is up to you! A Read Local Party is a great way to reach out to your neighbors and build bonds with your community, but student safety is always a top concern. Our default setting is to mark school events as “private” and library/bookstore/community events as open to the public. Please let us know if you need us to change the status of your event from “public” to “private” or vice versa!


What if I want to schedule an author panel for my upcoming event? Or invite an author to do a full presentation at my school sometime other than October/November? How do I schedule these?

You may use the same form (link on our website, or direct here: to schedule a multi-author event (at discounted rates) or to connect with our individual Read Local authors & illustrators at any time of the year.


Our school/library has a very small budget. How can I participate in the Read Local Challenge?

You’re in luck! Our Read Local Kick-off Parties are FREE! Just click here to sign up to host one of our events in October or November, as we kick off a brand-new year of reading local!

If hosting a FREE event in October or November doesn’t fit with your schedule, don’t worry! Every one of our participating authors and illustrators has agreed to give a 10% discount on their speaking fees to anyone mentioning the Read Local Challenge for the ENTIRE challenge year! This is a great time to get to know some of our local authors/illustrators on a budget! (If you need help contacting authors, or if you want to set up an author/illustrator panel at extra-special rates, please click here to fill out our form. We are committed to building a love of reading in our communities, and we would be happy to work with you to figure out how to best serve your needs!)


What if we can’t host an author/illustrator visit at all? Can we still participate in the challenge?

Absolutely! You may request Read Local Challenge posters by emailing the Read Local coordinator, Veronica Bartles, at or simply download and print the posters or Read Local Challenge book list from our website. (You don’t even have to sign up. Just pick a book and start reading!) Read the challenge books together or individually. Turn it into a competition between classes to see who can read the most books by the end of the challenge year … or make a school-wide goal to work together to read ALL of the challenge books. Check out our Read Local Calendar to find our already-scheduled events in your area, where you can meet some of our fabulous authors/illustrators. Feel free to check out our Resources page for games and activities that can be used in your classrooms or other programs to promote a love of reading.  The kick-off parties and author/illustrator visits are amazing, but they are just a couple of the ways that the Read Local Challenge can help you create a love of reading within your school/library!


Click here for Author/Illustrator FAQs!


Couldn’t find an answer to your question? Please email Veronica Bartles, Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI MD/DE/WV and Read Local Challenge Coordinator, at