The PEN/Steven Kroll Award was established in memory of Steven Kroll to acknowledge the distinct literary contributions of picture book writers. Kroll, a former PEN Trustee and long-time Chair of PEN’s Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee, was also a prolific author of books for children. His 100th and final book was published in March 2012.

The annual award was presented for the first time in 2012 and confers a prize of $5,000. It acknowledges an American or U.S.-based writer for exceptional text illustrated in a picture book. The winner will be chosen by a panel of three judges, who will be selected by PEN’s Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee in consultation with Kroll’s widow, Kathleen Beckett.

Past winners: Patricia C. McKissack, Michelle Markel, and Bil Lepp. 

Eligibility and Submissions


This award is no longer offered. 

Who Is Eligible
Eligible books must have been published in the United States between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. Submissions will only be accepted from publishers, editors, and agents. One need not be a Member of PEN to submit. Self-published books are not eligible.
If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN American Center awards.
How to apply
1. Submissions are now closed. Each submission is $50. If you would like to pay by check, please enter CHECK in the coupon code field at checkout. Be sure to print your receipt. Please also submit a verified email address on the submission form; your order cannot be processed without an email address, as this info will be used to later contact you regarding the shipments of your submission.
2. When submissions open, mail one copy of the candidate’s book accompanied by the printed receipt to the address below:

PEN/Steven Kroll Award
PEN American Center
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012

3. Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN, you will be contacted and asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges.
Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $4 million. In order to have your dues waived, please have a company official write a letter on company letterhead stating that your press’ annual net sales are less than $4 million. Please send this letter as an attachment (.doc or .pdf) to [email protected]. Once received, you will be provided with a coupon code to use at check-out in order to have your submission fees waived.