The winner of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award has been announced and Words & Pictures editor, Julie Sullivan, takes a look at this international award. 

The biggest news in “international” this month may be that our own Camilla Chester has won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award (UK/Ireland) for her book Call Me Lion. 

This competitive and much-respected award is an honour bestowed by an author's peers - SCBWI members themselves - who vote on what they consider to be the best book published in the region in 2022. Huge congratulations, Camilla! We hope to feature an interview with Cam in a future edition of Words & Pictures. And if you are able to make it to the annual SCBWI BI conference this year (in Manchester, the first weekend of November), you will be able to hear her speak in person.

Call Me Lion by Camilla Chester has won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award

Call Me Lion has won children’s hearts with its depiction of a boy whose selective mutism threatens to ruin his dreams, and his friendship with a lively neighbour who, as he learns, has some big problems of her own. 

There are other Crystal Kite winners around the world. All of these books are worth reading —local SCBWI members know a good book when they see one. Check out the award-winners for other regions here.

Bev and Kev is the winner of the Australian Crystal Kite Award

Many of the books this year feature heroes who feel they don’t fit it. Bev and Kev, the Australian Crystal Kite winner, is about very large Bev and small Kev, who help each other.

Don't Look Back won the New York Regions Crystal Kite Award

Don’t Look Back is the true memoir of a refugee from Sudan who finds herself pulled back just when she is starting to adapt to her new country. 

Leo + Lea won the award for California/Hawaii regions

Leo + Lea is about two friends who see the world differently from other people — in numbers and patterns. The book itself is constructed using the Fibonacci Sequence!

Shoham's Bangle by Sarah Sasoon

Winner of the Crystal Kite for the Middle East/India/Asia region, Sarah Sassoon’s book Shoham’s Bangle is about an Iraqi Jewish family forced to flee their home country with only one suitcase.

Then there are books that show children how to deal with problems, inform them, or inspire them. 

Bailey and Blanket by Emily House

Emily House, writer/illustrator and winner of the Crystal Kite for the International/Other region, is originally from the UK and now lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Bailey & Blanket is about a little girl whose blanket is a great comfort to her. One day, though, Blanket meets disaster.

One Tiny Bubble by Karen Crossing and Dawn Lo

One Tiny Bubble, which won the Canadian Crystal Kite, is a nonfiction book about the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) of all living creatures on earth.

Dark On Light by Dianne White and Felicita Sala

In Dark on Light (USA Southwest), three young siblings discover the beauty of the world at night while searching for their lost pet.

Try a book from another part of the world!


As you may have noticed, the SCBWI website has a new look. While not completely finished, the update should make the site more comprehensive, and certainly looks good. The SCBWI blog explains: 

Here are five important functions that address questions and comments we’ve received from members over the years. These will make your experience a lot better! 

1) ALL NEW! Your newsfeed – get current news about SCBWI, upcoming events, and our social media  posts all in one place.

2) An improved Illustrators Gallery – an improved searchable database, greater ease in uploading images, and greater page personalization.

3) Regional connection – besides your home region, be connected to other regions you want to follow.

4) Flexible event registration – you control changes to your registration.

5) GDPR compliance – peace of mind for data privacy and security for European Union residents.

BONUS Cool Thing) Event links sent directly to you – conveniently check your Member Home page for Zoom links!

When you visit, don’t forget to check out the Awards section. There is a surprising number of SCBWI awards you can apply for, for writers and illustrators, independently and traditionally published, and more.


If you are interested in self-publishing, you will want to read the latest edition of The Indie Author, a collaboration of SCBWI and the Alliance of Independent Authors. This online magazine contains ‘resources, market news, and advice to help you become a successful self-publishing author’. To download the May 2023 edition, log in to your SCBWI account here:, then go to Resources on your member page.


In other news, registration for the virtual SCBWI Conference (4–6 August) has begun. Although this conference takes place in Pacific Standard Time (currently eight hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time), you do not need to “attend” in real time. You will have access to all sessions until 10th September. The price for SCBWI members is US $295, about £233. The schedule can be found here.

Remember to take advantage of your membership—SCBWI is not just your local group! 

Picture credits

Logo graphic, Geralt on Pixabay

Cover illustration for Call Me LionIrina Avgustinovich

Cover of Bev and KevMandy Foot

Cover of Don't Look Back: Mallory Grigg

Cover of Leo + LeaKenard Pak

Cover of Shoham’s Bangle: Noa Kellner

Cover of Bailey & BlanketEmily House 

Cover of One Tiny BubbleDawn Lo

Cover of Dark on LightFelicita Sala


Julie Sullivan is a SCBWI volunteer who loves reading the Crystal Kite winners each year.

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