Create a Picture Book Competition 2024

  • Competition Guidelines


    Entrants:  ReadingZone's annual picture book competition is open to children and young people aged four to 18 years in schools, libraries and homes. 

    Categories:   These include Young Creators (ages four to six years); Primary (ages seven years plus) and Secondary (ages 11 years plus).  There is an additional Achievement Award for the most enthusiastic 'behind the scenes' activities that have gone into making picture book entries, such as sharing picture books with other year groups, or the whole school getting involved.

    Picture Books:   Picture books can be made by individuals, groups or whole classes, using any media and covering any subject or theme.  Each picture book should be up to 24 A4 pages in length (or less), including covers.  Books should be in portrait style (upright) rather than landscape.

    Deadline:  Entries must arrive by Friday 19th April 2024. Each entry must have a completed Entry Form attached; see How to Enter.  When you send us your picture book, please include a stamped, addressed envelope with your entry if you would like us to return your picture book.  ReadingZone will send feedback and a certificate to those taking part.

    Prizes:  The four winners and overall winner will be announced in June.  Each winner will receive £200 of books for their school or library, plus a free online author / illustrator event for the overall winner.  The winning picture books will be shared online at  

    How to Enter Your Picture Book(s)

    We're so looking forward to seeing your picture books!

    Each picture book entry will need to have a printed Entry Form attached, so we can easily identify who has sent it.  Please complete the details using the online entry form, and print it out before pressing 'submit', so you have a copy to attach to your picture book entry.

    ReadingZone Picture Book Competition Entry Form

    For multiple copies, you only need to include the school / home school or library details on your printed form; entrants can add their first name, age and the title of their picture book to each copy.

    If you would like us to return your picture book, please include a stamped, addressed envelope (stamps, not a dated printout) with your entry.  

    Please post your entries, to arrive by Friday 19th April, to:
    Reading Zone Picture Book Competition
    PO Box 590
    RH4 9HQ

    Share your entry(s) at:  Facebook - ReadingZonePictureBooks / Twitter @readingzone / Insta @ReadingZoneBooks

    Contact:   [email protected]

  • Tips for Making a Picture Book

    We hope you'll enjoy making your picture book! Here are some top tips to help you start.

    1)  Think of a subject that catches your imagination. It might be a favourite toy, a particular place or even something as ordinary as a cardboard box. Then make a list of possibilities for it. Let's take the cardboard box. Is there something in it or is it empty? Is there a label on it? What does it say? Is there any sound coming from the box? Is there just one box or are you in a massive warehouse with a thousand boxes piled high?

    You're not trying to get a story yet, just listing ideas. But already your ideas are flowing, and that makes it much more likely that you'll begin to recognise connections between your ideas. Those connections are what make a story.

    2)   Finding a character

    Another way of getting started is to think what kind of character is central to your story. You can discover a character either by writing him into existence or by drawing him. Get to know your characters really well before you write their story. Really know what makes them tick.

    3)   Endings middles beginnings.

    Stories usually have beginnings, middles and endings. They are a journey along a winding road not a straight one. So allow your storytelling to take a surprising turn or two.  Think about an ending that feels satisfying and complete, once you have the basic idea for your story. Sometimes authors will try to find an ending before they write the rest of the story, because the ending is so important. 

    4)   How many words should you write?

    Picture books don't usually have many words on each page - just a sentence or two. Some have no words at all! Try counting the words in some of the picture books you have enjoyed to find out how many words you'll have on each page. Don't forget that the pictures should tell part of the story - don't just focus on the words.

    5)   Pages and spreads

    Look at some of your favourite picture books. You'll find that many of them are made of 32 pages. Yours can have less than that. But think how your story will divide into 'spreads' - two facing pages.  A spread might have lots of pictures on it, or one big illustration stretching across two pages. Think about your page turns. As the reader turns the page, what are they going to discover on the other side? Will the page turn add a twist? Will it finish a sentence in a surprising way?

    6)  Planning your book

    It will help to map out your book. Roughly draw your empty spreads and decide how to divide up the words of your story. Then do quick scribbly drawings on each spread to try out which pictures and which words go where. Don't spend an age on your scribbles; they aren't your finished pictures and you'll probably want to change things around. To check that you are happy with your plan read through each spread in turn as if it was your finished book.

    7)  Write a story that you will enjoy

    When you are making a picture book don't worry too much about having to write a story that you think will appeal to a three or four year old. Your story will only come alive if you yourself are entertained by it.  So have fun putting your words and pictures together. Happy scribbling!


  • Getting started on your Picture Book  (Part 1)

    Getting started on your Picture Book (Part 1)

    In this short video, Mini Grey gives her tips on how to collect characters and situations for starting your picture book.

  • Getting started on your Picture Book (Part 2)

    Getting started on your Picture Book (Part 2)

    In this second video, Mini Grey explains how to organise the pages of your picture book, showing how to 'storyboard' your picture book, and she reminds us of the importance of the 'blurb' and having a strong cover.

  • Checklist for creating your Picture Book

    Checklist for creating your Picture Book

    Here are some things to think about when you start to create your own picture book, including plotting, characters and setting.

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