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). – Or host one of our Read Local Parties and invite one of our authors or illustrators for a FREE, informal Q&A event either in-person or via Skype call.

* 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, and even a signed book (for teachers, homeschool group leaders, and librarians, while supplies last)! 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!

* Don’t have a team? No problem! Join in the fun as we go head-to-head across state lines and over age groups to see which Read Local Challenge group has the most avid readers! When you finish reading a book, click on the poll on our website to vote for your state and tell us which book you read! Who will read the most books this year? Delaware? Maryland? Virginia? Washington DC? West Virginia? Or will it be a state from outside our region?

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 from the winning state to receive a special prize pack of signed books!! (We reserve the right to award additional prizes, if we have more books to share.)


I heard there is a chance to win signed books! 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 (or more, if requested), Read Local Challenge Passport bookmarks, and prizes like buttons, stickers, and even a signed book (while supplies last)!!

YOU get to decide who will win the challenge from your school/library/organization/group. Will it be the person who reads the most books? The most-improved reader? The class with the best Read Local book-themed decorations on their door? Or will you add the signed book to your library collection, so you can all enjoy it together? Make the challenge your own, and have fun discovering new favorite authors and illustrators in your own backyard!


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

Join our Read Local Challenge Reading Race! Click to tell us where you live (just the state–no personally-identifying information will be collected!) and which books you have read. Our interactive map will update approximately 10 minutes after you submit your answers with the new totals for your state.

If a whole class/group reads a book together, you may enter once for EACH person in that class/group, which is a great way to help your state pull ahead in the race!

You may nominate a school/library/organization in your state to win our Grand Prize. We will pick one school/library/organization from the winning state to receive a whole box full of signed Read Local Challenge books! (We may also choose a second winner, at our discretion, from all schools/libraries/groups nominated—even from those not located in the winning state.)


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 monthly updates on prize opportunities and chances to meet our Read Local Challenge authors and illustrators!


Where can I meet the Read Local Challenge authors and illustrators?

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

Can’t find anything near you? Sign up to host a FREE Read Local Party at your school/library/store/organization, and we’ll send one of our authors or illustrators to you!


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

This is a celebration of literacy, and a chance to meet one of our Read Local Challenge authors or illustrators in an informal setting.

We have worked hard to design our Read Local 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 be on hand to answer questions about, and sign copies** of their books. (If you would like to invite the author/illustrator back to give a formal presentation, we welcome you to take advantage of the 10% discount that each participating author/illustrator offers on their regular speaking fees during the challenge year!) **NOTE: Visiting author’s/illustrator’s books MUST be made available for sale during the event. If you don’t have an already-established relationship with a local bookseller to provide sales for your event, please let us know, and we will introduce you to one of the booksellers we have worked with.

* Downloadable Read Local Party Activities (available on our website)

* Read Local posters.

* A selection of prizes, including one (1) signed copy of a past or present Read Local Challenge book (while supplies last), as well as Read Local stickers, bookmarks, buttons, and other swag items.

You provide:

* A party space (including space for book sales/signing)

* 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 leave off your address and mark it as a private event on the calendar listing.)

* Simple art supplies (such as crayons, paper, and glue) for the crafts you choose from the downloadable games & activities


That 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.)


I want to schedule one of those FREE Read Local Challenge 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 FREE Read Local 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 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 (in addition to, or instead of, a FREE Read Local Party)… 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 informal Read Local Parties are FREE! Just click here to sign up to host one of our events during our challenge year (Oct.-May), as we celebrate reading local!

If hosting a FREE Read Local Challenge Party doesn’t fit with your schedule, don’t worry! You can still request a FREE Read Local Challenge Starter Kit, download our supplemental games and activities, and make the challenge your own.

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 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? 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. Each book read by any/every student who reads counts toward your state’s total for the Read Local Challenge Reading Race! (You can even nominate your school/library/organization to win the Grand Prize box of signed Read Local Challenge books!)

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.

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!


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/illustrator in MD/DE/VA/WV/DC? Click here for Author/Illustrator FAQs!