Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest
Official Rules


1. Eligibility: Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest (the “Contest”) is open only to individuals who are at least twenty-one (21) years old at the time of entry (herein “Entrant”). Employees of the Sponsors (defined below), any of the “Judging Panel” (defined below) as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible. The Contest is subject to all applicable laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.

2. Sponsors: Astra Publishing House, Ltd., 19 West 21st Street, #1201, New York, NY 10010; minedition AG, Grütlistrasse 36, 8002 Zurich, Switzerland; minedition France, 150, rue Legendre, 75017 Paris, France; Kodansha CO. LTD., 12-21, Otowa 2-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 112-0013, Japan; and Thinkingdom Media Group Limited, Building No.5, No.3 Huayuan Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100009, China.

3. Agreement to Official Rules: Participation in this Contest constitutes Entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules. Sponsors’ decisions are final and binding in all matters related to this Contest. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.

4. Timing: The Contest begins on November 8, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. United States Eastern Time ("ET") and ends on April 30, 2023 at 10:59 a.m. ET (the "Contest Submission Period"). Sponsor (Thinkingdom Media Group Limited’s) servers are the official time-keeping device for the Contest.

5. How to Enter: During the Contest Submission Period, visit and follow the links and instructions to complete and submit an application form, including your name and contact information, details about your occupation, nationality, previously published works (up to 50 words), writing prizes or honors (up to 50 words), short biography/profile (up to 200 words) and your original picture book manuscript (2,500 words maximum for Japanese manuscripts and 1,000 words maximum for manuscripts in other languages), herein “Manuscript.”

Manuscript guidelines include the following:

• Manuscript must be written for children age three (3) – eight (8);

• Manuscript may be fiction, nonfiction or poetry;

• Japanese Manuscript must be no longer than 2,500 words and Manuscript in other languages must be no longer than 1,000 words; and

• Manuscript may be submitted in any of the following languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, or Chinese.

Manuscript Content Restrictions:

• Manuscript must be your original work and must not contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to privacy, publicity or intellectual property rights

• Manuscript must not contain material that is inappropriate, offensive, indecent, obscene, sexually explicit, tortious, defamatory, or libelous;

• Manuscript must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age; and

• Manuscript must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of, or contrary to applicable laws or regulations where Manuscript is created.

Upon submitting your Manuscript, you must agree to the following:

(1) Manuscript is your original work;

(2) Manuscript has not been previously published and is not under any publishing agreement in any language anywhere in the world;

(3) Manuscript is not currently under consideration by any other competition or by any other publisher; and

(4) Manuscript will not be submitted to any other competition or any other publisher before the announcement of the result of this Contest.

Limit: Each Entrant may submit one (1) Manuscript during the Contest Submission Period. Manuscripts received from any person in excess of the stated limit will be void. Manuscripts generated by script, macro or other automated means are void. In the event of a dispute as to any Manuscript, the authorized account holder of the email address used to register will be deemed to be the Entrant and must comply with these Official Rules. The "authorized account holder" is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. Each Entrant may be required to show proof of being an authorized account holder. Released Parties (as defined in Section 10, below) are not responsible for lost, late, stolen, damaged, incomplete, invalid, un-intelligible, garbled, delayed, or misdirected Manuscripts; all of which will be void.

6. Intellectual Property Retained by Entrant: At all times during and after the Contest, Entrants retain any intellectual property rights they may have associated with their Manuscript. Sponsors will not share the content of the Manuscript with other entities without seeking permission of the Entrant; provided, that if any Entrant signs any publishing agreement(s) with one or more Sponsor with respect to the Manuscript, the use of the Manuscript by the applicable Sponsor shall be subject to the terms and conditions of such publishing agreement(s).

7. Winner Determination: The following group of internationally qualified judges will collectively review all of the Manuscripts submitted: Ryoji Arai (Japan), Ajia (China), Jill Davis (USA), Sabine Fuchs (Austria), Sophie Van der Linden (France) and Dolores Prades (Brazil) (herein collectively, “Judging Panel”).

After the conclusion of the Contest Submission Period, the Judging Panel will select the ten (10) Entrants with the highest aggregate scores (summing up all of the scores from each judge) for their Manuscripts (the "Potential Winners") from among all eligible Manuscripts based on the following criteria, that will be equally weighted:

• Manuscript’s literary value, including whether the subject matter is of interest and value to children, the likelihood of acceptance by children, and extent to which the content would inspire and have educational value for young readers;

• Manuscript includes creative memorable storylines, distinctive and lively characters or presents accurate information that is organized with clarity and flair that are appropriate for the readers’ age, and their intellectual and psychosocial maturity; and

• Manuscript has the potential to elicit a strong emotional response in young readers and to resonate in a multicultural context.

In the event of a tie, the Judging Panel will vote and select the winner from among the tied Entrants. Sponsors reserve the right to select fewer than ten (10) Potential Winners, if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified Manuscripts. Sponsors will not disclose judging scores.

Subject to the Entrants’ compliance with these Official Rules, the two (2) Entrants whose Manuscripts receives highest scores will be deemed the potential Gold Prize winners, and the eight (8) Entrants whose Manuscripts receive the next highest scores, respectively, are the potential Honor Prize winners.

The Sponsor Kodansha will independently select one (1) Entrant’s Manuscript from all eligible and qualified Manuscripts to award the Kodansha Award.

8. Winner Requirements: Potential Winners will be notified by email or phone starting on or around October 1, 2023. Each Potential Winner will be required to sign and return a Declaration of Compliance, Liability Waiver and, where not prohibited, a Publicity Release ("Declaration"), which must be received by Sponsors within seven (7) days of the date notice or attempted notice is sent, in order to claim the prize. If a Potential Winner cannot be contacted, fails to execute and return the Declaration or provide any other requested information (which may include tax forms) within the required time period, or does not comply with these Official Rules, such Potential Winner forfeits the prize. If a Potential Winner is disqualified for any reason, the prize may be awarded to a runner-up, if any, in Sponsors’ sole discretion. Up to three (3) alternate winners may be determined, after which the applicable prize will remain un-awarded.

9. Prizes: Each winner will receive the following cash prize, awarded as a check or wire transfer. Each winner will be required to agree that Sponsors have a one-year priority option to publish winner’s Manuscript to receive the below cash prize. The option will begin as of the date each winner signs the Declaration. If the Sponsors decide to publish the work, a publishing agreement, separate from the Contest Prize described below, will be offered to the winning author.

TWO (2) GOLD PRIZES: $5,000 USD.



Where applicable, Sponsors may deduct taxes from the prize before awarding it to winners. Prizes are non-transferable and no substitution will be made except as provided herein at the Sponsors’ sole discretion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute the prize (or a component thereof) for one of equal or greater value if the designated prize should become unavailable for any reason. Winners are responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use. Limit: One (1) prize per person. Prizes will be fulfilled within twelve (12) weeks following the announcement of the result of this Contest.

10. Release: By receipt of any prize, each winner agrees to release and hold harmless the Sponsors, the Judging Panel and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, distributors, advertising/promotion agencies, and prize suppliers, and each of their respective affiliates and each such company’s officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property, arising out of participation in the Contest or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.

11. Publicity: Acceptance of any prize shall constitute and signify each winner’s agreement and consent that Sponsors and their designees may use the winner’s name, city, state, likeness, photo, and/or prize information in connection with the Contest for promotional, advertising or other purposes, worldwide, in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, including the Internet, without limitation and without further payment, notification, permission or other consideration, except where prohibited by law.

12. General Conditions: Sponsors reserve the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Contest if any fraud, technical failures, human error, any other factor impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Contest, or any event or cause beyond Sponsors’ control (e.g. events such as natural calamities, national emergencies, wide spread illnesses, declarations of war, acts of God, acts of terrorism) interferes with any aspect of the Contest, including but not limited to fulfillment of the prize(s), as determined by Sponsors in its sole discretion. If terminated, Sponsors may, in its sole discretion, determine the winners from among all non-suspect, eligible entries received up to time of such action using the judging procedure outlined above. Sponsors may also modify the prizes offered. In addition, Sponsors reserve the right to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of the Official Rules of this or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner and void all associated entries. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsors reserve the right to seek damages and other remedies (including attorneys’ fees) from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsors’ failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.

13. Limitations of Liability: Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Entrant, printing, typographical or other errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the submission process or the Contest; (4) printing, typographical, technical, computer, network or human error which may occur in the administration of the Contest, the uploading, the processing or judging of Manuscripts, the announcement of the prizes or in any Contest-related materials; (5) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Entrant’s participation in the Contest or receipt or use or misuse of any prize; or (6) any claims by an Entrant that his/her Manuscript is similar to other works published by Sponsor(s) or otherwise received by Contest Entities from third parties, including from other Entrants. Released Parties are not responsible for misdirected or undeliverable Manuscripts or for any technical problems, malfunctions of computer systems, servers, providers, hardware/software, lost or unavailable network connections or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission or any combination thereof. Released Parties are not responsible for any unauthorized third-party use of any Manuscript submitted.

14. Disputes: Except where prohibited, each Entrant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Southern Division) or the appropriate Michigan State Court located in Oakland County, Michigan; (2) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Contest, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (3) under no circumstances will Entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and Entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, indirect, punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Entrant and Sponsors in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Michigan without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Michigan or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Michigan.

15. Entrant's Personal Information: Information collected from Entrants is subject to Sponsors’ Privacy Policy..

16. Winner List: The winners’ will be announced on the promotional site after winner confirmation is complete.

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