Heartspark Children’s: A New Kind of Children’s Literature

Growing up is hard for everybody, but especially when you are different. Even though the world has become more accepting of gender non-conforming children, many adults still believe that young transgender girls are simply ‘going through a phase.’ Some blame their parents for permitting what is called ‘cross-gendering behaviors’; others have accused modern feminism of creating a world where gender doesn’t matter anymore. As a consequence, transgender girls, as young as four-years-old, are forced to fight every day for their right to be a girl at all. Their identities are always up for analysis and question, regardless of age, class, and ability, throughout their entire lives.

We believe differently. We believe that gender is unique and personal, regardless of birth assignment; that the only person who can determine one’s gender identity is the person experiencing it. As a result, we believe that transgender girls are girls, and that transgender women are women.

Heartspark Children’s publishes illustrated storybooks that center on the lives of transgender girls. Heartspark’s central mission is to create a body of work that affirms and acknowledges the trials, tribulations, and magic of growing up as a girl assigned male at birth. While our stories are designed for children of all ages and identities, our goal is to create stories that transgender girls can see themselves within. Heartspark Books seeks to create a new world that is loving and accepting of all children across the gender binary and beyond, and this is where we are starting.


Are you a transgender woman or (C)AMAB non-binary storyteller who dreams of writing great children’s literature? Heartspark Press wants to hear from you.

We are working on our first chapter book of kidlit for transgender and gender nonconforming children, all written by and for girls/people like us. No paired illustrator necessary, just a solid story with heart and hope. 2000 words maximum, but we will make exceptions for the right artist. For this project, we are paying $200 a story ($300 if you are a trans woman of color). Priority given to TWOC and disabled writers. No submission fee required. No previous publishing experience required. Deadline is January 31, 2018, at 11:59pm PST

Here’s some tips regarding we are looking for in a story for this collection:

– You’ve got about 2000 words to tell a story, 1000+ more if we love it.

– Aim your story to kids 8-12, though a younger audience is also fine (no younger than five). Even if you are writing for six-year-olds, point the target a little higher (see below).

– Expect the kids reading this book to be able to dig deep into big concepts that most adults don’t expect them to be able to comprehend. GNC kids (especially the younger ones) are extremely sharp and hyper aware of their world around them. This does not mean writing and using age-inappropriate language, but you can go a lot further with themes and metaphors than you’ll expect.

– We want to see stories with a fair amount of magical realism or the straight up fantastic. Dive us into new worlds or places on this one that are unseen and/or forgotten. We do not want a book of transformation stories either, so be aware of that too.

– The stories definitely do not have to be about being gender nonconforming. For example, our first children’s book, Amy Heart’s “The Girl from the Stars,” has no trans protagonist and gender is never mentioned in the entire story. However, the themes within it are extremely relatable to children struggling with being different in a world that expects you to conform and fit into a clean box. For this first collection, we are looking for work that will give children armor and hope in this cruel, cissexist, transmisogynistic society. If you can write a story that does that and never mentions a word about gender or being trans/a girl on the inside/nonbinary, we definitely want to see your work.

Deadline is January 31, 2018, at 11:59pm PST. Email your submissions to amy@heartsparkpress.com as a Word doc or PDF. Please put your name, title, and word count on the top of your submission. You must identify as a trans girl, trans woman, or AMAB NB/trans in order to qualify for this collection.

Have any questions or concerns? Feel free to drop us a message and let us know. Thanks for looking and good luck with your submission!