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Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award – Rules

The Association of Jewish Libraries is pleased to judge the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award and encourages your submission of the highest quality of work in the genre of Jewish children’s literature. Sydney Taylor, in whose memory this award was established, began her writing career when the first of her All-of-a-Kind Family stories won a first-time publication and cash prize from Follett. Although AJL is not a publishing house and cannot guarantee publication, we expect that this competition—with its cash incentive and nationwide publicity—will launch many fine new children’s writers on their careers in years to come and encourage the publication of outstanding new books with Jewish themes and universal appeal.


A. The writer must have no previously published books of fiction for young readers. The competition is intended as an incentive for beginning authors.

B. Each entrant may submit ONE manuscript not currently under consideration by a publisher.

C. Material should be a literary work of fiction in English, with universal appeal of Jewish content, appropriate for readers ages 8-13 years. The story should serve to deepen the understanding of Judaism for all children, Jewish and non-Jewish, and should reveal positive aspects of Jewish life. Short stories, plays, poetry, or collections of short stories are not eligible.

D. The manuscript should be submitted typewritten, carefully proofread for grammar as well as typographical errors. The length should be a minimum of 64 pages and a maximum of 200 pages, double-spaced and paginated. The format must be Times New Roman or Arial, 12 pt., with one-inch margins on all sides. Manuscripts not meeting the above criteria will not be considered. Manuscripts should be submitted in PDF format by uploading through the AJL website. NOTE: Hard copies of the manuscript are no longer accepted.

E. To assure impartiality, the manuscript MUST NOT include the author’s NAME on it anywhere. DO include the TITLE at the top of every page of the manuscript. Rule E must be adhered to in totality for the manuscript to be considered.

F. Each entrant will submit a cover letter and a curriculum vitae. The cover letter should include a short personal statement and a summary of the manuscript. Please combine your cover letter and curriculum vitae into a single document and upload via the AJL website. This should be a separate document from your manuscript.

G. The deadline for submission of manuscripts is September 30. Do not submit elsewhere until January 31, by which date our winner will be determined and all competitors notified.

H. AJL offers no publication guarantees.

Thank you for your attention to the competition rules. Please prepare your cover letter/curiculum vitae and your manuscript for upload, and proceed to our application form