Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



Each entry will receive two judging sheets from anonymous PAL members (each PAL judge is an expert in his or her category but we have chosen to keep them anonymous just as your entries are anonymous to them). The PAL judges will then decide which entries in each category are among the best 15, and those 15 will be sent to our professional judges. The professional judges will provide judging sheets with ratings and feedback for the manuscripts they receive, and will determine which receive first, second and third place, plus any honorable mentions.


Below are the bios for the professional judges in 2022


Illustrated text (fiction and non-fiction picture books only): HANNAH VANVELS AUSBURY


Hannah VanVels Ausbury is an editor, writer, and literary agent at Belcastro Agency. Her life is consumed by all things books, and when she’s not working on books, she can usually be found reading with a cup of coffee or glass of wine, depending on the time of day.

She earned her BA at the University of Michigan and holds MA degrees from Tel Aviv University and the University of Chicago. Hannah has worked various bookish jobs including a stint as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, a freelance editor for scholarly and academic essays and journals, and most recently as the acquiring editor at a young adult imprint with HarperCollins Publishing.

With a decade of editorial work under her belt, Hannah made the jump to freelance editing. Her editing business was born out of a love for working closely with authors and coming alongside them to make their vision come to life on page.

On the fiction side, Hannah has worked on everything from epic fantasies to fast-paced thrillers and mysteries, accessible science fiction to immersive historical fiction, romantic comedies to heartfelt topical books. On the nonfiction side, Hannah has worked on narrative memoirs, topical books, and devotionals. Whether working on fiction or nonfiction, it’s always Hannah’s goal to preserve the author’s vision and voice and take their writing to the next level.

Hannah is also an editor for the Twitter pitch event Revise & Resubmit (#RevPit) and contributor for Book Riot. She lives in West Michigan with her partner, two German Shepherds, and two cats.


Middle Grade novels, including chapter books: HANNAH ANDRADE


Hannah started as an agency assistant before moving on to acquire her own clients. She’s been with Bradford Literary Agency since 2017 and has had the privilege to work with a number of bestselling authors across a variety of genres. She likes to think of herself as an editorial-focused agent and is particularly eager to acquire BIPOC/underrepresented voices. She is prioritizing stories of joy where identity isn’t the focus and is especially excited about stories rooted in history, mythology, and legends, particularly those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.

Hannah is very interested in stories that explore the intricacies of multicultural identities. She loves stories of immigration (not relegated to America) and of first/second generation Americans who struggle balancing the values of their country with the culture and heritage of their parents (as in the tv shows Ramy or Gentefied). As a Mexican-American, she would particularly love to see the stories that she grew up with showcased in new and creative ways.

For more details on what she’s looking for, please check out her Manuscript Wish List.


Young Adult novels: EMILY FORNEY

Emily is, as she likes to say, a professional fangirl. From the early days of crafting fiction prompts on Tumblr to writing miniseries on how to write a successful fantasy battle scene, she fell in love with the minor details of storytelling. After receiving her MFA in Creative Writing, emphasizing in YA fiction, she worked for a popular fiction press as an editor until she realized she wanted to stay with her favorite authors throughout their careers. She was a publishing and editorial fellow for the LA Review of Books,where she trained with her editorial background. Becoming an agent, especially at BookEnds, was fate.

Growing up, Emily would stay awake until sunrise to finish new YA releases and is currently going through that same phenomenon with middle grade fiction right now. She enjoys the whimsy, the complexities, and the warmth young adult and children’s books offer, and she hopes to work with authors interested in turning their speculative worlds into series. With a BA in History and certificates in Classics and Latin studies, she’s also a big fan of historical fiction and mythological works. She’s also a shameless lover of CW shows and teen period pieces.

She writes about identity and youth through her experiences as a young black woman, particularly focusing on genre fiction as a means to explore tropes otherwise dominated by white voices. Emily would particularly like to read stories by, for and about marginalized creators, and is always on the lookout for new Black authors.For more details on what she’s looking for, please check out her agency website page.