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


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, West Virginia, 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 each year.


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. No pledges to sign or quizzes to take. 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!

We won’t collect personally-identifying information from individual readers, so you don’t have to worry.


If there are no sign-ups, how do I Join the Read Local Challenge?

* Schools, libraries, bookstores, & other groups may request packets of Read Local Challenge posters, passport bookmarks, stickers, and challenge prizes by emailing Veronica Bartles at or by filling out this request form.

* Pick up a Read Local Challenge Passport Bookmark from your participating school, library, or bookstore to keep track of your reading progress. — Or download the list of challenge books here!

* Choose a challenge level, and start reading! You may even choose to take the ultimate challenge and try to read all 38 books (in all three levels)! And we have lots of downloadable activities on our website for even more fun with our books!

* Invite a local author or illustrator to your school, library, bookstore, or group meeting. Every participating author/illustrator has agreed to give a 10% discount on their speaking fees for the entire challenge year (October 1st through May 31st).

* Adopt a KidLit Creator to connect with ONE class in your school during the challenge year. You will receive a signed copy of that author or illustrator’s book for your classroom library, and have the opportunity to connect with them via email, video, or by mail during the challenge year.

* Make it a competition! Gather a group of friends together, or challenge your class (or even your whole school)! Request a Read Local Challenge pack by filling out this form. We’ll send you 2 full-color Read Local Challenge posters (or more, if requested), Read Local Challenge Passport bookmarks, and prizes like buttons, stickers, etc.! Who will win the grand prize in your challenge? Will it be the class who reads the most books? The student who most improves their reading? The one who has the best book-themed costume for Halloween? Or will you share the prize pack and all win together? It’s your challenge! You get to decide the rules!

* We will accept nominations for schools and libraries in need (you don’t have to be connected to the school or library you nominate), and we will choose one school or library to receive a special prize pack of Read Local Challenge books. We’ll purchase these books from an independent bookstore near the winning school or library. (We reserve the right to award additional prizes, if we have the funds available.)


I heard there is a chance to win prizes! How do I sign up for that?

If you represent a school, library, homeschool group, scout troop, book club … or any other group/organization that would like to promote a love of reading, you may request a Read Local Starter Kit by emailing our Read Local Coordinator, Veronica Bartles or filling out this form.

We will send you a package with 2 full-color Read Local Challenge posters, Read Local Challenge Passport bookmarks, stickers, and more.

Fill in the spaces on your passport by reading and sharing your favorite Read Local Challenge books, visiting your library or your favorite bookstore, and attending Read Local Challenge events in-person or online, through your local bookstore or library. Then, take your completed passport to your participating local independent bookstore to claim a prize!


I heard there’s a phenomenal Grand Prize Package of signed books. How do I win that for my school/library/organization?

Just click to Nominate a School or Libarary! Tell us where you live (just the state–no personally-identifying information will be collected!) and which books you have read. If a whole class/group reads a book together, you may enter once for EACH person in that class/group, which gives your nominated school or library extra entries!

You may nominate any school or library to win our Grand Prize, even if it’s not YOUR school! We will pick one winner to receive a collection of Read Local Challenge books, purchased from the independent bookseller closest to the winning school or library! (We may also choose a second winner, at our discretion, from all schools/libraries/groups nominated, if funds allow.)


Is there any other way for me to win?

Watch our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages throughout the year. We may choose to announce surprise prizes at any time! (Rules for entering to win each surprise prize pack will be given with the prize announcement.) – And make sure to sign up for our email list for periodic updates on opportunities to meet our Read Local Challenge KidLit Creators!


Where can I meet the Read Local Challenge KidLit Creators?

Check out our calendar to find us at our public events in libraries and bookstores near you!

Can’t find anything near you? Invite a Read Local Challenge KidLit Creator to your school/library/store/organization! Each participating creator has agreed to give a discount on their speaking fees for the ENTIRE challenge year (October through May)!


What about the Adopt a KidLit Creator program? How does that work? … Are there hidden costs/fees/commitments?

In the spirit of the #KidsNeedMentors program (thank you @Jarrett_Lerner for the idea!), we would like to connect each of our Read Local Challenge KidLit Creators with ONE class for the challenge year. We will send a Read Local Challenge packet of materials, with full-color posters, Read Local Challenge passports, stickers, etc. to each school or library group that signs up here. We would like to pair as many classes/groups as possible with one of our KidLit Creators, giving first priority to schools/libraries within our MD/VA/DE/DC/WV region. (We will do our best to pair you with an author or illustrator who writes or illustrates for the grade level you select, who lives in your specific local area. Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee you will be paired with a specific author or illustrator.)


This is a celebration of literacy, and a chance to get to know one of our Read Local Challenge KidLit Creators in an informal setting.

Read Local Challenge KidLit Creators will:

* Send ONE (1) signed copy of their Read Local Challenge book to the school or library associated with the class/group to which they are assigned.

* Connect with ONE (1) class or group, either in-person, online, or via the mail at least TWO (2) times during the Read Local Challenge year (October 1st through May 31st). As an example, you might schedule a 15-minute Zoom meeting at the beginning of the challenge to introduce yourselves to each other, and then exchange letters at some later point in the challenge year. It is up to you and your adopted KidLit Creator to decide how, when, and how often you will connect.

* Offer a 10% discount on their speaking fees to ANY school/library/group who mentions the Read Local Challenge (even if it’s not the one that “adopted” them)!

Schools/Groups agree to:

* Read along with us! With so many local authors and illustrators in 3 different challenge levels, we have something available for all readers.

* Share opportunities to meet with Read Local Challenge authors/illustrators in your area, or online, when appropriate.

* Show respect! We love meeting with our readers and making real-life connections. Please remember that we are people too, and show the same courtesy to our KidLit Creators as you would like people to show you!


The Read Local Challenge sounds fun, but we can’t schedule an event this year. How can my Library, School, or Bookstore participate?

* Request a Read Local Starter Kit. We will send you posters and prizes, and you can run the challenge in the way that works best for your organization.

* Host a Read Local Party anytime from October through May. It’s easy, FREE, and fun! You may sign up for ONE (1) free Read Local party each year.

* 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! (Invite the author/illustrator from your FREE Read Local Party to come back for a paid event during the same challenge year, and receive a one-time 15% discount from that author/illustrator!)

* Read together (or individually), & help your state win the Read Local Reading Race! 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… or challenge yourself to find new favorites in this year’s challenge list! (You don’t need a group to enter.)


Can my scout troop/homeschool group/co-op sign up to adopt a Read Local KidLit Creator? Or does it have to be a school or library?

We want to connect with our readers, wherever they may be. If you have a group of readers, we want to meet you! Feel free to fill out the form to request a connection. Please note: school classes within our Read Local Challenge geographical area will have top priority in assigning KidLit Creator matches, so if we have more requests than we can fulfill, you may not be matched with a creator this year. If that happens, we will still send you a Read Local Starter Kit, and we encourage you to come to our events, and to invite any of our Read Local Challenge KidLit Creators to your events for a discounted rate.



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 … How do I schedule these?

To invite an individual author to your event, please contact them directly. You can find their contact information on their SCBWI Speaker Profiles, which are all linked here.

To set up a panel of KidLit Creators for your event, you may email our Read Local Coordinator, Veronica Bartles ( Please use the subject line “Read Local Challenge Request” and provide as many details as possible, including:

*date/time for your event

*number of KidLit Creators requested

*budget for the event (please specify whether this is a per-creator honorarium, or total budget for the event)


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

You’re in luck! Our informal Read Local Starter Kits are FREE! Just click here to requst a kit and/or to Adopt a KidLit Creator!

PLUS—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 email our Read Local Coordinator, Veronica Bartles ( with the subject line “Read Local Challenge Request” and provide as many details as possible, including:

*date/time for your event

*number of KidLit Creators requested

*budget for the event (please specify whether this is a per-creator honorarium, or total budget for the event)

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? Can we still participate in the challenge?

Absolutely! You may request a Read Local Challenge Starter Kit (with posters and prizes) by filling out this form or emailing the Read Local coordinator, Veronica Bartles, at or simply download and print the posters or Read Local Challenge book list from our website.

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. Don’t forget to let us know which books you’ve read and nominate your favorite school or library to win a selection of Read Local books! Each book read by any/every participating student counts toward your school’s total for the Read Local Challenge Reading Race!

You can also join our mailing list and/or 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!

And 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.


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


Are you a traditionally-published author or illustrator in MD/DE/VA/WV/DC? Click here for KidLit Creator FAQs!