Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Read Local Challenge – FAQ for Booksellers

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

Read Local Challenge Bookstore FAQ

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.


My store isn’t open physically to customers right now. How do I participate? 

We would love to coordinate virtual events with you! Join our “Pass the Book” promotion. Schedule a virtual panel with authors and illustrators. Partner with us for online writing workshops. … There are so many possibilities (maybe even something we haven’t thought of yet!)


How can my customers fill in their passport spaces for attending author events if we’re not open physically? 

Virtual events count too! Even when we’re apart physically, we can still connect through digital workshops, panels, and our “Pass the Book” initiative.


What is this “Pass the Book” initiative I’ve been hearing about? How can I participate?

This initiative is a fun way for our readers to meet this year’s KidLit creators and the fabulous books on our list, while also getting to know the booksellers and librarians that can help them find their new favorite book. It’s easy to join in the fun!

Send us an introduction video, where you introduce yourself and your bookstore (or library). Then, pick up one of your favorite Read Local Challenge books from this year’s list, show it to the camera, say something about why you love it (if you would like), and then pass it offscreen. We will match your video up with one from the author or illustrator, where they will receive the book passed to them from offscreen and introduce themselves or their book before passing it along.

They can either “pass it back to you” (you will record a second video where you receive their book, and then pick up another book to pass to the next author), or they can “pass it along” to the next author in the cycle. The last author (we have found that a grouping of 2-4 authors per “Pass the Book” compilation works best) will pass the book back to you for a wrap up. For this, you will need to send us another video where you will invite the readers to come Read Local with us in your store.

For some examples of Pass the Book video compilation options, click here.


I want to “Pass the Book” with you, but I’m really busy this week (or month). What is the deadline?

We’ll be celebrating a love of literacy and the community-building relationships that form when we read books by local KidLit creators all year long! If you can’t send us a video this week, that’s okay. Our Read Local Challenge goes from October through May each year, and we would love to put together a Pass the Book video with you anytime!


Am I the only Read Local Challenge Partner Bookstore in my area? How many bookstores are you accepting into the program?

We believe that the strongest community bonds grow when we connect with as many people and groups as possible. Our readers might find the perfect community connection with you, or with the bookstore across town. Or both. And when we strengthen our communities, we all benefit! We invite you all to join us in building a strong community of readers.


What if I want to schedule an author panel for my upcoming event? Or invite an author to do a workshop in my store … 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)


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!