Current Years' Winners


1st Place: Summer Hair by Trenise Ferreira

"But today is the day when spring surrenders to summer and everything changes.
Gone is the sleek silk press I rock in winter, or the sistah-girl curls I roll in fall.
Summer hair is bold and beautiful box braids.
And that means one thing:
Water fun, here I come!"

Trenise Ferreira is a Jamaican-American writer who has been telling stories her entire career: as a college football journalist, a publicist at Walt Disney World Resort, and currently as a corporate communications professional and children’s book author. When Trenise was in third grade, her teacher said that she should write books when she grew up—and Mrs. Buckner got it right! Wonder and imagination are at the heart of Trenise’s stories, creating worlds where children can get lost between the pages, and laugh and learn along the way.

An active member of the SCBWI Los Angeles chapter, Trenise is also a graduate of the Children’s Book Academy and The Voice Roadmap writing programs. She was selected as an inaugural mentee for the 2022 Picture Book Rising Stars program and is a 2023 We Need Diverse Books mentee. She won the SCBWI 2023 Ann Whitford Paul Most Promising Manuscript (Fiction) Award. Trenise is represented by Hilary Harwell at KTLiterary. You can find Trenise on Twitter @TreniseFerreira.

2nd Place: Miss Mimi’s Welcomes All by Arielle Dance

"Miss Mimi floats in like a fairy. She walks up to each of us and greets us one by one. When she stands in front of me, I am worried she won’t understand me. Then she signs, Welcome to dance class. My name is Miss Mimi. With her warm welcome, I feel safe and understood. I sign back, Thank you. My name is Spencer. I am excited to dance."

Arielle Dance, PhD, lives in New Jersey with her wife and chihuahua-terrier. Dr. Dance is a writer on topics of disabilities, grief, and self-advocacy. Dr. Dance is published across multiple online platforms and has a children’s book, Dearest One, that focuses on words of wisdom from a grandmother. Dearest One most recently won two BookFest Awards for family and diversity.

3rd Place: Calm Baby, Breathe Baby: A Breathing Board Book for Black Babies by Mikhayla Smith

"Calm baby, breathe baby
You are here.
Inhale, exhale
I am near."

Mikhayla Smith is a poet, author, and educator based in Georgia. As a mother and a teacher, she knows the importance of having social and emotional literature that highlights cultures that are not traditionally represented. When she is not in the classroom, she is a mother to a wonderful toddler, a wife, and a poet. Her work has been featured in the Toho Journal, Protean Magazine, and Feminessay.

Previous Years’ Winners


1st Place: Gullah Color Wheel by Yvette R. Murray

2nd Place: Black Boy, Keep Your Head High by Rose McNeill

3rd Place: The Sky Is Not Blue by Joy Jones

1st Place: The Birthday Party with No Birthday Cake by Carmena Fleury

2nd Place: Tiara and Kiara Movin’ and Groovin’ by Sherrie Fernandez-Williams

3rd Place: Hair Story by Elizabeth Davis

1st Place: Black Girl, Black Girl by Crown Shepherd

2nd Place: Wave Your Glove, Like a Rainbow Between Clouds by Sagirah Shahid

3rd Place: Tamika’s Cool Adventure by Sue Smith-Grier

1st Place: Isaiah’s Secret by Mélina Mangal, published as Jayden’s Impossible Garden

2nd Place: I Love Me? by Marit G. Woods

3rd Place: Kofi Loves Music by Dr. Artika Tyner