Cynthia Leitich Smith
The Hallmark Great Stories Award will recognize and celebrate the power of storytelling by honoring new children's picture books that celebrate family, friendship and community and that exhibit excellence in both writing and illustration.
Annual nominations will be reviewed by a multi-disciplinary panel of esteemed judges. For the inaugural year, judges include Betsy Bird, Alfredo Lujan, Alan Bailey and Cheri Sterman.
Eligible books include those published by publishers in the United States between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016 and must be entered into the competition by the publisher. The inaugural winner will be announced in March 2017.
The winning picture book's author and illustrator each will receive a special award medal and $5,000. If the author and illustrator is the same individual, the cash prize is $10,000. In addition to traditional distribution, the winning book will be available in Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide.