Submission and Selection Criteria


Submission Requirements

  1. All books submitted for the 2020 program must have been published as follows: 
    • School aged must have been published in 2018 or 2019. 
    • Evergreen must have been published between Oct 1, 2018 and Oct 31, 2019
    • Red Maple Non-Fiction must have been published anytime between 2017 and 2019
  2. The books considered by a selection committee must be written by a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident. They must be commercially available in Canada. In the case of anthologies, the editor should be a Canadian citizen or resident and the inclusions should be primarily by Canadian writers.
  3. Publishers/Authors should not resend books that have submitted for the 2019 program. If they were sent for the 2019 program and were not selected, and are still eligible, they have been pulled for consideration for 2020.
  4. Previously published books outside of the dates above are not accepted unless they have been 80% rewritten (previous winners of any Forest of Reading Award are not permitted) and fall within the above publication dates.
  5. English translations of books originally written in other languages will be accepted. French translations of books originally written in other languages will NOT be accepted.
  6. Series books - Only books that can stand-alone without having read the previous books will be considered. 
  7. All books must have a print run of at least 450 copies.


  • Self-published books
  • Print on demand books
  • Wordless picture books
  • Author-subsidized titles (books for which the author, illustrates, or translator contributed financially towards the publication costs)
  • Anniversary Editions - The Forest of Reading programs selects books of current/contemporary authors/illustrators. The whole essence of the Forest of Reading is for readers to have access to authors and their future works, and hopefully have the ability to meet them in person at one of the ceremonies, celebrations or Festival of Trees.

Selection Committee Timeline | Reading Schedule

Book Selection Criteria

The following criteria are presented in order of importance:
  1. Literary quality in the case of fiction including but not limited to:
    • structure, richness of language, craft of the writer, pace, clarity.
  2. Quality of presentation for non-fiction, including but not limited to:
    • appeal and appropriateness of the presentation, clarity, layout, format.
  3. Audience appeal
    • appropriateness to the age group (school-aged, adult literacy etc.), a range of readability, inclusiveness and diversity, the themes and content.
  4. Accuracy and relevance
  5. Balance in the final list with respect to protagonists of different genders, subject appeal for different genders, cultural diversity, geographical settings, e.g., rural, urban, alternate realities etc., variety of genres.
  6. Curriculum connection is outside the purposes of the reading programs for the school-aged programs.

*Criteria specifically for each program.
*Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual.