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about the Tassy Walden Awards

Image © Ann Marie Drury, Ilustrator Portfolio Winner 2022

Who is Tassy Walden?

An accomplished champion of children’s literature, Katherine ”Tassy” Gessel Walden (1913-2008) was a generous and beloved member of Connecticut’s literary and library community. A graduate of Vassar College, Tassy also earned master’s degrees in education and library science. She taught in New York City and in Guilford, and she served as president of the Connecticut State Library Association. She taught children’s literature at Connecticut College and was active with the Literacy Volunteers of America. In short, Tassy understood excellence in children’s literature.


Benefits for the Artist

In addition to offering a cash award in recognition of exceptional work created by Connecticut’s aspiring writers and illustrators of children’s books, the mission of the Tassy Walden Awards is:


  1. to provide invaluable educational support that helps unpublished artists learn to prepare polished, professional-quality work under widely accepted industry standards, and

  2. to create a community of published and unpublished Connecticut artists united in their goal to support one another in the effort to produce meaningful and artful work for children.

In service of that mission, the Shoreline Arts Alliance provides the following benefits to the artists:

  • The Shoreline Arts Alliance offers extensive support materials for all entrants, including FAQs, Sample Manuscript pages, tips for illustrators and writers, and an email address to which entrants can direct questions.

  • Shoreline Arts Alliance provides substantial publicity of finalists and winners through newspaper announcements, website announcements, and announcements to related arts organizations.

  • Shoreline Arts Alliance hosts an annual Awards Ceremony and Reception, featuring keynote speakers and refreshments. All entrants and their guests are invited to attend and to meet others in the Tassy community.

  • All entrants may continue to submit new and revised work in subsequent years, provided they remain unpublished and are not a previous winner in the same submission category.

  • All entrants are welcomed to attend local/regional chapters of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and are encouraged to form or join small critique groups​ for continuing professional feedback.

  • All entrants are welcomed to independently seek further support from others in the Tassy community.

Throughout its history, the Shoreline Arts Alliance and the Tassy Walden Awards have offered this fully inclusive program without restrictions related to ethnicity, faith, gender or sexual identity. We welcome entries from all unpublished CT residents aged 16 or older.

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