Fall 2019 Manuscript Wish List

Well, hello! It’s been a while! I am happy to report that I have re-opened to submissions and am so looking forward to finding some gems!

First thing: there has been an important change to my query policy.  I am now EXCLUSIVELY using Query Manager for my queries. To query me, use this link and follow the instructions. With apologies, I will no longer be reviewing any unsolicited submissions via email–I’ll only be reviewing them via Query Manager. This is a great resource for agents and writers and I’m looking forward to a smoother, more streamlined process. You should look forward to a quicker reply and a more straightforward system.

And now, for my most recent wish list. I’ll start general, and then offer some super specific items. Generally, I am focused on:

(1) Historically marginalized voices by Own Voices authors across ALL genres. This remains really important for me (and the entire industry). We take our role in righting the wrongs of the past seriously, and we’re all committed to getting these stories out. Being Latinx myself, I have a special calling to rep more Latinx stories but I’m truly just committed to helping previously unheard voices make it to the main stage. One project I’m particularly proud of is RESCUE & JESSICA: A LIFE-CHANGING FRIENDSHIP by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, a picture book that features a protagonist with a physical disability that was a New York Times-bestseller and Schneider Award winner.

(1) Author-illustrators of picture books. I’m taking on only a limited number of picture book creators this year in an effort to help balance out my list. I’m keen to find creators doing double duty as both author and illustrator. My tastes widely range here–I like funny, commercial books; beautifully lyrical books; super timely books about events and issues that are relevant in today’s culture; books that take on hard issues thoughtfully; commercial nonfiction picture books of all kinds; really well done rhyming books by supremely thoughtful crafters; and books for the very young (including board books). In general, I like to be surprised and delighted–send me something that feels really fresh, modern, like it’s pushing the medium forward in some way. Not into: rhyming books that are too cutesy or haven’t had an expert analysis of meter; gross out humor; cute but insignificant stories that don’t have a strong hook. And don’t get me wrong, I love unicorns and mermaids, but unicorn and mermaid books are currently too hard of a sell in this crowded field (unless they truly break the mold!). Also don’t send me service/guide dog books because I already represent RESCUE & JESSICA, same goes for yoga picture books because I already represent YOGA BUNNY.

(2) Graphic novels across kid lit genres, fiction and nonfiction: Since I became a mother last year, I find myself too sleepy at the end of the day to read novels, so I’ve turned to graphic novels and I am now a true fan! I’m open to just about anything including memoir style, graphic novels for the very young (including picture book format), an exciting adventure story, a funny and/or commercial take on a nonfiction topic (As an explanatory example, something like: The History of Video Games). I love, love, love the LumberJanes series and would love to rep a girl-led adventure graphic novel in a cool setting that lends itself well to series, middle grade or young adult. High preference for author-illustrator submissions. Not into: hard sci fi or fantasy, but okay with sci fi or fantasy elements. I can’t take on anymore superhero-themed stories as I already represent the creators of SUPERFAIL. Also, Marvel/DC-style art is hard to sell to the general trade market.

(3) Middle grade fiction: I am looking for commercial, literary or upmarket books with a lot of heart, complex characters to root for, interesting settings or conflicts and quick pacing, tackling subjects, emotions, experiences that are relevant to kids. Bonus points if there is some kind of true story or historical element to the book (but not necessarily historical fiction). Think Lauren Wolk’s books or THE TRUTH ABOUT JELLYFISH. I’m also eager to be taken on a magical adventure! Looking at a wide range of books generally and very eagerly looking to pick up new middle grade clients. Not into: I’m not the agent for sci-fi or hard fantasy. For those queryers, check out my MLM colleague, Britt Seiss. Also, I’ve done three time travel middle grade novels and not interested in doing another one at this time. No animal protagonists for me.

(4) YA fiction: I’m very choosy here. I prefer books that are really topical and have modern resonance. I will consider historical if it has a really strong commercial hook and has modern resonance. I’m interested in cultural spins on folklore or well-known stories. I’d love a commercial, charming and unexpected love story with a strong hook a la TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE. Not into: Super dark stories; books featuring all white, upper middle class characters; sick lit; paranormal, hard sci fi or fantasy.

(5) Nonfiction across all kid lit genres. I love repping commercial nonfiction! For me, it has to work in the TRADE market (not just the library/school/educational market), so it has to have a strong hook. I’m wide open here–memoirs of young people with platforms, biographies, narrative nonfiction, fact books, focuses histories, activity books, board books, picture books, etc. Some nonfiction I’ve represented is BREAKTHROUGH, teen scientist Jack Andraka’s memoir; PHILANTHROPARTIES, a party-planning book by Lulu Cerone; CAN YOU CRACK THE CODE?, a focused historical book about code-making and code-breaking by Ella Schwartz, the upcoming DAY FOR REMEMBERING, a picture book about the first Memorial Day by Leah Henderson. I’d especially love to see nonfiction that feels really innovative in format or storytelling or topic. Not into: Books that are solely informational and only appropriate for the school/library market

And now here is very specific wish list of things I would be very happy to see:

  • Character-driven PB with series potential featuring a POC protagonist. Commercial, super charming, has to have a heck of a hook.
  • PB for parents to read to their NICU babies. I’m a mom of a preemie and would have loved this.
  • PB author-illustrator with a warm, European, whimsical style a la Emily Winfield Martin’s THE LITTLEST FAMILY’S BIG DAY
  • PBs that help children deal with anxiety
  • A charming and undeniably cute or funny major holiday picture book, especially Christmas or Halloween. The bar is really high here because it’s a crowded and limited market. Would also look at a cute, funny middle grade story or a YA holiday romance!
  • MG or YA book set during the ’99 Women’s World Cup craze–the Mia Hamm team
  • MG or YA summer camp story
  • YA book that takes place during the LA Riots.
  • YA book that deals with the TV show Friends somehow!
  • YA book based on the Roman legend of Cloelia. I’ll make a fantasy exception here!
  • YA book with an e-sports setting. I really want this!
  • Picture book, graphic novel or illustrated middle grade about a cute witch in an unexpected setting or with unexpected interests. POC cute witch even better!
  • Anything by a Peruvian writer in any genre
  • PB, MG or YA from the perspective of a character who has multiple cultural identities. I am American but my mom is French and my dad is Peruvian–I grew up navigating three cultures at once and figuring out who exactly I was in that mix. I’d love to see the exploration of multiple cultural identities in my query box.
  • PB, MG or YA stories related to environmentalism and conservation. Fiction or nonfiction. (YA and MG fiction have to be based in our real world)
  • PB, MG or YA with law themes appropriate for kids–e.g. explaining the first amendment, important legal cases related to schools, etc. I’d like this to be written by an author who is a lawyer (I see all you lawyers and ex-lawyers querying me!)
  • PB, MG or YA by Native American authors. Fiction or nonfiction! There is still so much work to do in better representing this population in kid lit.
  • International  stories. I have a very international background and these stories very much appeal to me.
  • PB, MG and YA that breaks with the norm of toxic masculinity and help readers develop emotional intelligence
  • Meticulously researched narrative YA or MG nonfiction. Especially interested in  journalists developing a book from an article like Dashka Slater did with her THE 57 BUS
  • MG or YA where you get to know the whole town. Some of my favorite shows of all time were Hart of Dixie, Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls–and it’s because I loved knowing the whole town.

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