Girls BMX Novel Wins Inaugural SCBWI Spark Award

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Debut author Karen Avivi won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators inaugural Spark Award for her girls’ BMX young adult novel, Shredded.

Karen Avivi of Canada won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators inaugural Spark Award, for her girls’ BMX young adult novel, Shredded.

When asked why she chose girls’ freestyle BMX as a subject, Avivi says she was impressed by the attitudes, fearlessness, and close online community of girl riders. Avivi chose independent publishing as the best route to make a niche girls sports book like Shredded widely available through worldwide online booksellers like amazon. She adds: “Even readers unfamiliar with BMX or extreme sports will be caught up in the adrenaline rush of the main character’s tricks, wipeouts, and wins. The story takes on feminism, friendship, sexism, and sibling rivalry.”

SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver added, “Kudos for Karen Avivi for going about self publishing in the proper way, using the editorial and design services of professionals in the field. Shredded is the perfect kind of book to publish independently. It’s got a built-in audience of BMX fans and supplies a great story for a specific market. The action is tense, her characters are full, and the writing is full of pace and appeal.”

The Spark Award is open to current writer and/or illustrator SCBWI members who have independently published a board book, picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel through a self-publishing enterprise or individually self-published. The judges focused on quality of writing and concept, professional presentation, and editing and design. The Spark Award received over 500 entries in its inaugural year.

“Winning the SCBWI Spark Award is an honor,” says Avivi. “Having an organization like the SCBWI praise Shredded is a tremendous endorsement of independent publishing.”

Praise for Shredded includes a 5-star review from the San Francisco Book Review: “Shredded is the holy grail of young adult fiction. It features a strong female protagonist who openly confronts sexism as a natural part of the story … This book is absolutely perfect.”

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. To learn more, visit

About Karen Avivi
Like the characters in her stories, Karen is active and adventurous by nature. She's tried surfing, skydiving, scuba diving, stunt classes, archery, winter camping, orienteering, mountaineering, mountain biking and backpacking. To learn more, visit

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Karen Avivi
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