SINA has partnered again with Hartford Public Library Park Street Branch @the Lyric for the 2023 REACH Book Author Contest. It’s a great opportunity for students in grades K-5 to write and illustrate their own story with the theme of Civic Engagement. Entries are due Friday, April 7, 2023.

Selected books will be displayed at Hartford Public Library Park Library @ the Lyric local author’s shelf.  Winning entries will receive a professionally printed copy of their book and get acknowledged at an awards ceremony. Please read the contest guidelines below for more information.

Click here to download the Contest Entry Form.

Click here to download 8×10 vertical book template
Click here to download 8×8 square book template

Spread the word, download and share the flyer (english y español)

Click here to download storyboard templates that help with organization and getting students books started.

SINA REACH Book Author Contest Guidelines

Eligibility: The REACH Book Contest is open to all students enrolled in grades K-5.


  • The fiction piece must incorporate the theme of Civic Engagement.
    Civic engagement is defined as working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community. Civic engagement can take many forms and encompasses a wide range of formal and informal activities, such as voting, volunteering, advocacy or activism, participating in group activities, and community gardening.
  • One book entry per team.
    Entries can be submitted by individuals, teams (up to 4 students) and classrooms. Classrooms can submit one book with teacher’s name and list the students’ names of those who helped with the illustrations and story line on a separate sheet.
  • Stories may be written in English, Bilingual, and/or Spanish.
  • Each submission must include one page of art for each page of text.
  • Both text and art must be solely created by the students.  
    Typed text is preferred, but not required.
  • Each book must be between 10 and 20 pages with a maximum of 5 lines per page.
    The cover, dedication, about the author/illustrator and back pages do not count toward this number. The back and dedication pages are optional.
    Examples of pages can be found in the book template document.
  • All pages must be numbered.
  • Books will be printed at 8” x 10” or 8” x 8”, artwork should reflect these sizes. 
    Click here to download the 8×8 square book template. Click here to download the 8×10 vertical book template.
  • An entry form must be submitted with each book entry. Click here to download the entry from.
  • At the discretion of the SINA REACH Committee, all submissions may be published on the SINA’s website.

Submission Guidelines:  Entries must be mailed to or dropped off at the Hartford Public Library Park Library @ the Lyric by Friday, April 7, 2023. Submissions must include the entry form (click here to download form). Entries will not be returned.

Mail or Drop off to:                           
Hartford Public Library
Park Branch @ The Lyric
603 Park Street
Hartford, CT 06106

Contest Dates: The deadline for the SINA REACH book contest is Friday, April 7, 2023. Entries received after April 7, 2023 will not be considered.  The contest opens January 2, 2023

Selection: Entries will be judged on originality and creativity. Judges will know the identities of the entries after the judging is completed and the winners are selected.

Prizes: Up to ten books will be selected and turned into a paperback copy displayed at the Hartford Public Library, Park Street Branch @the Lyric – “Local Author Shelf” In addition, a copy the printed book will be given to the winner’s team to take home/ or display in the classroom. All winners will be honored in an awards ceremony.

Decisions: The panel of judges consists of members of the REACH Committee, Hartford Public Library staff, and invited judges. All decisions made by the judges are final.

Notification:  Winners will be announced in late May or early June and will be notified by phone or email. Winners will be asked to complete a press release from by each student participant legal guardian. Names of the winners will appear on the SINA website and in other publicity pieces, including, but not limited to electronic announcements, press releases, and news articles.

Questions:  Feel free to contact Linda Torres at 860-493-1618 or Nancy Mendez at 860-695-7501 with any questions regarding the REACH Book Author Contest.


Click here to read about last year’s winners.