The biggest change? Money. And it's about time, too. Books for children and young people have been low on the totem pole of book awards forever, and it's been a two-party system (Newbury and Caldecott) for quite awhile. This isn't to say that there aren't other great book awards, including some regionals and some for specific age groups (like the Michael Printz) but recognition has been slow and limited and YA and children's writers can toil in relative obscurity because the marketing money just hasn't been behind something as mundane as books. And then you get random hyped examples of people who get half a million dollars for a book they haven't even written yet... (well, I would give Ms. Viswanathan a break today, but there is new evidence. Anyway, my point was that nobody gets rich off of writing).
Happily, that looks to be changing. Beginning with the 2006 competition, Golden Kite participants can win $2,500 in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration. And the fun is including the backstage people, too. Editors of winning books will receive $1,000, and for the winning book in the Picture Book Illustration category, an additional $1,000 will be given to the book's art director. That surprises me a lot, and I'll need to think about what that means to the industry... do we get more "superstar" editors who are that much harder to get books to...? No offense intended, but don't we have enough of those!? Hm. Anyway, what may be the best perk is that winners get an expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the award ceremony at the Golden Kite Luncheon at SCBWI's Summer Conference in August. Since we all know that the Summer Conference can be a spendy little venture, that was thoughtful on the SCBWI board's part.
This is all part of a move to get the Golden Kite Award national recognition, and in turn to promote books and quality literature. Cheers!