For DonorsFor Applicants

Valorena Publishing & Cocoa Kids Collection Scholarship

2 winners, $250 each
Application Deadline
Mar 24, 2025
Winners Announced
Apr 24, 2025
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school, undergraduate, or graduate student
Field of Study:
Literature, poetry, writing, editing, publishing, etc.

Picture books that feature children of color, tell stories of empowerment, and support literacy development are sorely needed in communities of color.

Books are the backbone of society, imparting valuable lessons starting at a young age. For children, books are often some of their first encounters with the world, which can be formative experiences impacting how they view society. The importance of diverse voices and characters in books cannot be overstated.

This scholarship is designed to empower BIPOC and multicultural women to live authentically and share their unique stories by supporting their studies in the creation of children's picture books.

Dr. Valerie Williams-Sanchez, the founder of Valorena Publishing and Cocoa Kids Collection®, envisions this scholarship to assist BIPOC and multicultural women pursuing studies relevant to the development of children's picture books.

Any female BIPOC/multicultural high school, undergraduate, or graduate student who has a creative portfolio and has published projects or is pursuing a course of study related to literacy, literature, poetrywriting, publishing, editing or illustration may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us about yourself and answer one or more of the questions below. 

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Passion
Published April 30, 2024
Essay Topic

Please tell us about yourself and: 

1. How has literacy benefited you and your life? 2. How have picture books impacted your life?

And/or, 3. What do you hope to achieve with your endeavors and how will this award help?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Lamaria Washington
Howard UniversityMiami Gardens, FL
My journey is a tapestry woven with threads of resilience, passion for storytelling, and an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on the world. As Lamaria Washington, a journalism major at Howard University, I am not just a student; I am an advocate, a storyteller, and a relentless pursuer of knowledge and understanding. Literacy has been my steadfast companion throughout life, opening gateways to worlds unknown and shaping the person I am today. Growing up in the underserved community of Overtown in Miami, literacy became my beacon of hope. Books were not just a means of acquiring knowledge; they were my escape, offering solace in the written word. As I navigated the challenges of my environment, literacy became a powerful tool for self-empowerment. In the academic realm, literacy paved the way for my pursuit of journalism at Howard University. The ability to articulate thoughts coherently, fueled by a rich vocabulary and an understanding of the written word, has been instrumental in my academic success. Beyond the confines of the classroom, literacy has enabled me to engage meaningfully with diverse perspectives, fostering a broader understanding of the world. Picture books hold a special place in my heart, reminiscent of a time when stories were adorned with vibrant illustrations and fueled by boundless imagination. As a child, these books were my windows into fantastical realms and my introduction to the beauty of visual storytelling. The enchanting combination of words and images not only sparked my creativity but instilled in me a deep appreciation for the power of narrative. Now, as a journalism major, I recognize the enduring influence of picture books in shaping my communication style. The ability to convey complex ideas through compelling visuals is a skill I continue to hone. Picture books taught me the art of storytelling transcends age, and I carry this lesson into my endeavors as a storyteller, aiming to create narratives that resonate universally. My endeavors are rooted in a fervent desire to amplify marginalized voices, bring attention to social issues, and foster understanding. Through my platform, "Herstory In Making," I strive to create a space for dialogue on topics ranging from beauty standards to systemic injustices. My goal is to inspire empathy and provoke thoughtful conversations that lead to positive change. This award is not just financial assistance; it is a recognition of the potential impact of my work. With this support, I intend to further refine my storytelling skills, delving deeper into the nuances of journalism and narrative construction. The award will contribute to the expansion of my platform, allowing me to reach a wider audience and engage in more impactful storytelling. In the grand tapestry of my life, literacy has been the golden thread weaving together the chapters of my story. Picture books, with their whimsy and wonder, have added vibrant hues to this narrative. With this award, I aim to continue my journey as a storyteller and advocate, leveraging the transformative power of literacy to create narratives that resonate, provoke, and inspire change. This award is not just a recognition of past achievements; it is an investment in the potential for a brighter, more empathetic future crafted through the art of storytelling.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 24, 2025. Winners will be announced on Apr 24, 2025.