New Visions Award on Hiatus

After a decade of discovering and nurturing new talent such as Axie Oh, Supriya Kelkar, Yamile Saied Méndez and many other wonderful authors, the Lee & Low New Visions writing contest for middle grade, young adult novels, and graphic novels by authors of color and Native nations is on a temporary hiatus in 2023. We remain ever committed to our mission to help diverse authors break into this industry. We will use this time to make improvements to the contest so we can continue to best serve debut authors in this ever-changing landscape of children’s publishing.

A heartfelt thanks to this incredible community of writers, educators, librarians, and readers for their continued support of the contests throughout these many years.

A follow-up announcement will come in 2024.

About the Award

The New Visions Award is given annually by TU BOOKS, the middle grade and young adult imprint of Lee & Low Books, to a middle grade or young adult novel by a writer of color or Indigenous/Native writer.

Established in 2012, the New Visions Award encourages writers of color and Indigenous/Native writers to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent.

New Visions Award winners receive a cash prize and a standard publishing contract for their winning manuscript. Winners also receive close publishing mentorship as they work to develop their book for publication. The process for nurturing manuscripts is incredibly time-consuming and Tu Books/Lee & Low's commitment to this contest represents 10+ years of dedication. We are in this for the long haul! We ask for the same commitment and courtesy from authors who enter this contest. Therefore, before entering, please make sure you are able to commit to the contest rules below. 

Past winners include Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani, an Asian/Pacific American Honor for Literature; Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh, which received three starred reviews and is a Junior Library Guild selection; Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar, which received two starred reviews and is listed as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People; The Wind Called My Name by Mary Louise Sanchez; and Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz.

2022 Results

Although there is no New Visions Award winner this year, Tu Books is pleased to recognize our talented finalists: Erika Johnson for the middle-grade novel The Adventure of Grace Amazing and Magical Mo, Kyla Stan for the contemporary young adult novel Community Garden, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas for the young adult fantasy novel Shifter and Dreamer.

Thank you to all of those who entered the contest, and good luck to these up-and-coming writers!


  1. The contest is open to writers of color and Indigenous/Native writers who are residents of the United States and at least 18 years old at the time of entry, and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel traditionally published.
  2. Participants remain eligible if they have published work in other venues and genres, including children’s magazines, picture books, and adult fiction or nonfiction. Authors of self-published books are also eligible, but they should submit a new manuscript, not a project that has been previously self-published. Participants cannot have had a middle grade or young adult novel traditionally published if they’re applying for the New Visions Award.
  3. Only unagented manuscripts will be considered.
  4. Manuscripts previously submitted for this award or to TU BOOKS's general submissions will not be considered.


  1. Manuscripts should address the needs of children and teens of color and Native nations by providing stories with which they can identify and relate, and which promote a greater understanding of one another. Themes relating to LGBTQ+ topics or disabilities may also be included.
  2. Manuscripts may be fiction or narrative nonfiction for children ages 8 to 12 or young adults ages 12 to 18. We are interested in contemporary or historical fiction, literary fantasy, science fiction, mystery, suspense, and genre fusions. Graphic novel scripts and novels in verse for these categories are also welcome. Picture books and short stories will not be accepted.
  3. Submissions should be full, unagented manuscripts or graphic novel scripts accompanied by a separate synopsis and cover letter. Manuscript must include author's full name; synopsis should also include the author’s name, address, phone number, email address, brief biographical note, relevant cultural and ethnic information, how the author heard about the award, and publication history, if any.
    • Manuscripts/scripts should be composed in a clear 12-point font, be double-spaced, and saved as a Word document. If Tracked Changes were used, they must be accepted and turned off before submitting the file.
    • Middle grade novels are not to exceed 75,000 words in length; young adult novels are not to exceed 95,000 words in length.
    • Graphic novels should not exceed 150 scripted pages. Include 6-10 pages of final art samples and optional character sketches in PDF format only if you are an author/illustrator.
    • Nonfiction may be either in prose manuscript or graphic-novel form, following the word/page guidelines above. We seek narrative nonfiction projects with strong educational appeal, centered around a person or people from marginalized groups. Instructional or reference nonfiction (e.g. cookbooks, encyclopedias, etc.) will not be considered. Please include a preliminary bibliography and an explanation of how you came to write the book with your manuscript.
  4. Up to two submissions per entrant. Each submission should be submitted separately.
  5. Manuscripts may not be submitted to other publishers, agents, mentorship contests, writing contests, or to TU BOOKS's general submissions while under consideration for this award.
  6. TU BOOKS is not responsible for late, lost, or incorrectly delivered submissions. Be sure you leave enough time to resubmit if technical difficulties occur. Submissions will not be returned. Be sure to retain a copy of your submission.


The Award winner receives a cash prize of $2,000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first-time author. If an Honor Award winner is selected, they will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

Judges are a committee of Lee & Low employees across several departments, including editors from TU BOOKS and LEE & LOW BOOKS. The decision of the judges is final.

Questions about any of the information on this page? Check out our New Visions Award Frequently Asked Questions

About Lee & Low Books

Lee & Low Books is the largest multicultural children's book publisher in the United States.
We are your diversity source.

Supporter Praise


Request a Catalog

Submit a Manuscript or Artist Sample

Contact Us

FREE Teacher's Guides

Helpful educator resources can be found at our Educators section.

Search our Teacher's Guides



2021 New Visions Award Winners
Nicki Jay won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, The Marassa: Birth*Life*Death Book I.

2020 New Visions Award Winners
Tiffany Golden won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Rikki and Rai: The Everyday and Sometimes Epic Adventures of the Tucker Sisters. The honor goes to Ana Rodriguez Ellickson for Roman the Renegade.

2019 New Visions Award Winner
Author Tracy Occomy Crowder has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key.

2018 New Visions Award Winners
Author Monica Zepeda has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Boys of the Beast. Michelle Jones Coles’ manuscript Woke received the New Visions Award Honor.

2017 New Visions Award Winners
Author Olivia Abtahi and Luisana Duarte Armendáriz have won the fifth annual New Visions Award for their novels, Twin Flames and The Regent Enigma, respectively.

2016 New Visions Award Winners
Author Charlotte Sun and Mary Louise Sanchez have won the fourth annual New Visions Award for their historical middle-grade novels, Escape from Tiananmen Square, and The Wind Called My Name, respectively.

2015 New Visions Award Winners
Author Supriya Kelkar has won the third annual New Visions Award for her historical fiction novel, Ahimsa.

2014 New Visions Award Winners
Author Axie Oh has won the second annual New Visions Award for her science fiction novel, The Amaterasu Project.

2013 New Visions Award Winners
Author Valynne Maetani has won the first annual New Visions Award for her young adult mystery novel, Remnants of the Rising Sun.