SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

 

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One-on-One Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques

 

A manuscript or portfolio consultation is a one-on-one, twenty-minute meeting with a publishing professional.

You may sign up for one individual manuscript or portfolio consultation for an additional fee of $125. You will select the reviewer when you register. Please read the faculty bios listed below ahead of time. The spots will fill up quickly. Once you make a selection, you cannot change it. Your assigned time will be sent via email one week before the conference. All consultations will take place on Saturday, February 11, 2023. Please note: We are unable to give refunds for manuscript or portfolio consultations.

 

Manuscript Consultation Guidelines

Please read the following guidelines carefully before registering and submitting your manuscript. If you are unsure about anything, please email Sarah Diamond at sarahdiamond@scbwi.org.  

1.) After registering, you must email your manuscript to manuscripts@scbwi.org on or before Monday, December 19, 2022 at 5pm PST. Manuscripts received after the deadline will not be accepted.

 

2.) Format ALL manuscripts in a 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, double-spaced. More formatting questions? Read From Keyboard to Printed Page.

 

3.) ALL submissions must include a title page with your contact information and the type of manuscript (YA, MG, picture book, chapter book, or nonfiction) in the upper left-hand corner. If you are represented by an agent, please note that on the title page as well. The title page does NOT count as one of your ten pages.

 

4.) The name on your manuscript MUST match the name you registered under for the conference, even if you write under a pseudonym.

 

5.) For picture books and poetry: submit up to ten pages of ONE picture book manuscript regardless of the page count. No synopsis is needed. Please do not submit a dummy book, photos, or illustrations; however, feel free to bring them to the consultation.

 

6.) For middle grade, young adult, nonfiction, and chapter books: submit only the first ten pages.

 

7.) You will receive an email by February 4, 2023 with your consultation time.

 

 

Portfolio Consultation Guidelines

Simply register by the deadline and select your reviewer. We will send you an email with your consultation time by February 4, 2023 . No need to email anything, simply bring your portfolio to the conference.

 

 

Manuscript Consultation Faculty

 

AGENTS

Eve Adler worked as an editor for over sixteen years before becoming an agent at Red Fox Literary. She’s building her list with authors and illustrators of board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and middle grade projects. She’s drawn to stories that make kids feel comforted, loved, and understood; diverse voices; ideas that break the mold; projects that meet kids where they are developmentally; and books that expand kids’ worlds while helping them understand their own. She loves developing ideas with authors and illustrators, and finding the right home for each project!

Currently Acquires: PB, MG, NF, illustrators

Most interested in acquiring: books for ages 0-12: board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, early graphic novels, and young middle grade, fiction or nonfiction. For board books: concept books or story-based books that feel fresh and exciting. For picture books: books that deal with kid-friendly mental health themes, like anxiety, burnout, perfectionism, feeling shy, scared, nervous, etc.; cultural themes, for example books that address kids’ experiences with their cultural heritage; biographies; humor; holiday books, including books about lesser-known holidays; Jewish-themed books that are fun and relatable to kids; nonfiction that’s approached in a relatable, kid-friendly way. For early readers and chapter books: simple, short stories aimed at ages 5-8, and longer, and more involved stories aimed at ages 7-10. I’d love to see graphic novels for this age range, too! Some genres/themes I’m interested in are funny/silly; adventure; mystery: friendship; and books based on one character. For middle grade: historical fiction and powerful family/friendship stories.

Not the right agent for: upper middle grade, YA, fantasy, horror

Kurestin Armada is an agent at Root Literary Agency. Early in her career, she spent time as an assistant at The Lotts Agency before becoming a literary agent at P.S. Literary in 2015. She then joined Root Literary in 2020, where she partners with storytellers who combine artistry with the drive to build a lasting body of work. Kurestin is based in New York City and spends most of her time in the city’s thriving indie bookstores. She reads widely across genres but specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and graphic novels; some of her recent client titles include Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans and Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh.

Currently Acquires:  MG, YA, illustrators

Most interested in acquiring: MG mystery, MG/YA fantasy, MG/YA science fiction, graphic novels, PB author-illos

Not the right agent for: picture book text, poetry

Susan Graham (they/them/their) joined Einstein Literary Management as an assistant in 2015 and now has a growing list of author and illustrator clients. They hold a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature and a Master’s Degree in English from Simmons College.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG ,YA, NF, illustrators, graphic novels

Most interested in acquiring: all genres, but favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, especially written with a queer lens; picture books and graphic novels in all age categories and in all genres. Particularly interested in friendships and sibling narratives, and monster protagonists are always a plus.

Susan Hawk is an agent at Upstart Crow Literary, a boutique literary agency she joined after twenty-five years working across many areas of the children’s book world. Susan represents writers and illustrators of books for kids and teens, board books through YA, as well as graphic novels and non-fiction (also for children and teens). Her clients include Ruth Spiro (author of the Baby Loves books, selected for Amazon’s 20 Best Children’s Books of the Year), Rachel Elliott (author and illustrator of the graphic novel The Real Riley Mayes), and Rachael Allen (Georgia YA Author of the Year, and author of the forthcoming YA novel, Harley Quinn: Ravenous).

Currently Acquires: PB, YA, NF, illustrators, graphic novels

Most interested in acquiring: all genres of MG, YA, and graphic novels and especially drawn to: projects that are character-driven, tightly plotted, and have a singular, specific voice; books that tell the stories of people, places, and cultures that have been overlooked and ignored; high-concept genre elements combined with literary writing and an exploration of timeless themes; genre mash-ups––give me that historical with elements of magical realism or that comedic sci-fi mystery; immersive historical fiction that centers unique, under-represented perspectives; humor! even in (especially in!) a narrative that’s dark or sad or edgy; precise, expressive settings; both literary and commercial work: high-concept and hooky; award-winners; books that will become backlist gold.

Not the right agent for: picture book text, books that have a specific holiday tie-in, poetry collections

Allison Hellegers is a literary agent at Stimola Literary Studio. She received her degrees in Journalism and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After spending a semester abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris, she was thrilled when her jobs as literary scout and foreign rights manager would take her back to France (among other countries). Allison also volunteered with the non-profit Girls Write Now, and empowering girls became one of the biggest drivers in her career. After working with the YA packager, Alloy Entertainment, she spent the last ten years as foreign rights director with Rights People. There, in addition to working directly with foreign publishers, she started to co-agent books for all ages on behalf of foreign publishers and agencies (international, British, and Australian) to represent projects back to the North American market. Allison continues to co-agent at Stimola Literary Studio, oversees the agency’s foreign rights, as well as taking on clients of her own.

Currently Acquires:  PB, MG, YA, NF, poetry, illustrators

Most interested in acquiring: diverse voices. For picture books, I’m mostly looking for author/illustrator, and I love books that are immersive, emotional, and has art that also appeals to parents/ adults. For middle grade, I love contemporary realism with humor and heart, and magical realism (can be historical from a unique time in history). For YA, boundary pushing, voice-driven novels with action and big-screen potential, as well as novels in verse that have a unique point of view

Not the right agent for: Christian novels, sci-fi, fantasy

Roma Panganiban joined Janklow & Nesbit in 2019 after getting her start in publishing at The Gernert Company. She studied English and Psychology at Allegheny College, and Modern and Contemporary Literature & Culture at the University of York (UK). Roma’s taste leans literary across the board, and she prefers high-concept, plot-driven MG and realistic, emotional YA (both contemporary and historical), especially featuring protagonists who rarely see themselves as the main character. She is particularly drawn to narratives about unexpected friendships, niche subcultures, children of immigrants, everyday magic, real-world issues, and smart, weird kids. Above all, she values thoughtful, clever, beautiful prose; compelling, idiosyncratic voices; and fresh, unexpected perspectives. Her list prioritizes books for kids and teens who aren’t white, cis, straight, male, neurotypical, allosexual, able-bodied, beautiful, middle-class, Americans, or any of the many things they’re taught are “normal” and good—books that allow young readers to better understand and embrace each other, themselves, and the world around them. Roma is a member of the American Association of Literary Agents and an ambivalent Twitter user (@romapancake).

Currently Acquires: MG, YA, NF

Most interested in acquiring: literary and upmarket, contemporary, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, speculative fiction, magical realism/fabulism

Not the right agent for: romance, graphic horror, family dramas, westerns, epic SFF, WWII books

Alexandra Penfold is an agent at Upstart Crow Literary. She has been working in publishing for over a decade. Formerly an Editor at Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, she specializes in young picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult. Prior to becoming an editor, Alexandra was a children’s book publicist. She worked on media campaigns that appeared in USA Today, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She’s the co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks and the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop, illustrated by Jane Massey and We Are Brothers, We Are Friends, illustrated by Eda Kaban as well as three forthcoming picture books. For more information on Alexandra’s books, visit her website. Alexandra is looking to take on select lifestyle and cooking projects in addition to children’s books.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG, YA

Most interested in acquiring: picture books, stories from diverse backgrounds, funny and heartfelt middle grade, and author/illustrators.

Ramona Pina is an associate agent at BookEnds Literary, where she seeks to champion underrepresented voices in literature, elevating them to an even playing field. She’s overjoyed to have found her agenting home at BookEnds with equally compassionate fellow humans and looks forward to midwifing more diverse books into the world. You can follow Ramona on Twitter at @PinaRamona or visit her website at pinaramona.com. 

Currently Acquires: MG, YA

Most interested in acquiring: Underrepresented voices and contemporary YA that carves a space for those stories; middle grade, young adult and adult/crossover stories; magical realism/fabulism themes in the YA and crossover adult space, like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova, and The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. For middle grade: magical universes with lush world-building in the vein of anime Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke. Overall, Ramona is open and looking for character-driven stories that are relatable to real-life struggles however fantastical or realistic. 

Not the right agent for: picture books or non-fiction projects

Sera Rivers is a literary agent at Speilburg Literary Agency. She represents picture books through young adult novels, including graphic novels, and is actively seeking stories by authors and illustrators who identify as BIPOC, LQBTQIA+, and other underrepresented and marginalized identities. She is especially looking for: GN for kids of all ages by author/illustrator creators only; MG/YA —horror (no demonic possessions); psychological thrillers; speculative fiction, including magical realism and ghost stories (no high fantasy); LGBTIA+ romance; tough topics. Select PB—historically excluded stories; tough topics; horror (author/illustrator only for horror). She does not represent adult fiction/nonfiction. Sera holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She worked in educational publishing for seven years and launched Avenue A Books, a children’s book imprint at Center for Responsive Schools. As Avenue A’s acquiring and managing editor, she worked with new and established children’s book writers and illustrators to create picture books and middle grade graphic novels. Now, as an agent, Sera provides editorial feedback to help clients get their manuscripts submission ready. Check out her full MSWL and status updates at SeraRivers.com.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG, YA,iIllustrators

Most interested in acquiring: graphic novels for kids of all ages by author/illustrator creators only, horror (no demonic possessions), psychological thrillers, speculative fiction, including magical realism and ghost stories, tough topics

Not the right agent for: high fantasy, author-only graphic novels, historical fiction, rhyming picture books, adult fiction or nonfiction

Kelly Thomas is an associate literary agent at Serendipity Literary Agency. She brings 17 years of sales and business expertise to the literary world as a champion for writers. Kelly is a certified copy editor with a Bachelor’s degree in English from Pace University. She is an associate member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) and a member of the Editorial Freelance Association. Prior to joining Serendipity, she provided manuscript analysis for the D4EO Literary Agency. Kelly has participated in Pitch Slams for writing conferences, including ThrillerFest, Crimebake, and The Writer’s Digest Conference. She has sat on “Ask the Agent” panels for the AWP Conference and Writing Barn’s “Courage to Create” program and a “First Pages Critique” panel for the Carnegie Center for Literary and Learning’s Books-in-Progress Conference. She has participated in the “First Ten Lines Critique” panel for The Hampton Roads Writer’s Conference, where she also taught classes, including “How to Write a One-Page Synopsis” and “How to Eliminate Distance Characters from Your Writing.” Kelly is a published poet with publications in Tales for the Disenchanted (2008) and Penumbra Art & Literature (2015). She has served as an editor for the literary arts magazine Pen & Brush and as a writing coach for the academic consulting company Brattlestreet.

Currently Acquires: PB MG, YA, NF

Most interested in acquiring: picture books, middle grade, and young adult. For PBs, she loves heartwarming stories with humor that have a message or a lesson to learn without being didactic. For MG and YA, she enjoys fast-paced, plot-driven fiction with twists, turns, and jaw-dropping moments. She’s drawn to stories about leadership and overcoming adversity, especially from strong female characters. Stories that are told from a unique psychological vantage point are always of interest. Kelly is not afraid of dark, gritty subjects or bloody, murderous plots. She loves multi-layered protagonists who struggle between what is right and wrong, and anti-heroes who are villainous but endearing at the same time. (Think Dexter, Thomas Shelby, Nucky Thompson, and Josh Goldberg). She is open to contemporary, magical realism, fantasy and doesn’t care what world your story is set in as long as the premise hooks her, the characters are well-developed, the writing is lyrical, and the plot is executed so that the story flows effortlessly.

Not the right agent for: romance, but she does not mind a romantic subplot.

EDITORS

Jenne Abramowitz is an editorial director at Scholastic, where she works with a diverse and talented list of authors and illustrators including Aaron Blabey, Varian Johnson, Debbi Michiko Florence, Liz Montague, Kate Messner, Ash Van Otterloo, Booki Vivat, Jess Keating, and Stephanie Kuehn. She is a member of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s children’s and YA programming committee, a cat lover, surprisingly good roller-skater, and lifelong Murder, She Wrote enthusiast.

Currently Acquires: MG

Most interested in acquiring: Chapter book series that are high-concept, commercial, and really funny or heartwarming; middle grade novels that combine big, commercial plots with deeper social commentary; illustrated contemporary fiction (including but not limited to graphic novels); adventure stories where characters with disabilities save the day without their abilities being the central issue; inclusive middle grade stories about romance and first crushes; mysteries and clever puzzles; hopeful, empowering stories where kids have real agency; humor (especially if it’s smart)

Not the right editor for: science fiction, high fantasy (though I don’t mind a bit of magic), dark horror, bleak endings, novels in verse

Danielle Collins is an assistant editor at Beach Lane Books and Paula Wiseman Books at Simon & Schuster, where she works on fiction and nonfiction picture books and middle grade. Danielle is drawn to both the factual and fantastical, or even a little bit of both, and she is passionate about stories that inspire curiosity and empathy in young readers. Prior to joining S&S Children’s, she worked as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks and Yale University Press. Danielle grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, went to college in Los Angeles, and now lives in Brooklyn, where she can often be found at bookstores and bakeries.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG, NF

Most interested in acquiring: stories featuring historically underrepresented identities and communities, especially LGBTQIA+ and intersectional perspectives;  picture books  with lyrical writing; themes of discovering identity and navigating emotions; nonfiction that will pique readers’ interests in lesser-known people, periods, and STEM/STEAM topics; and middle grade that approaches big questions with an accessible voice.

Not the right editor for: YA, chapter books, board books

Trisha De Guzman is an editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, acquiring and editing picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels. Born in the Philippines, she immigrated to NYC from Manila when she was seven years old. She’s passionate about amplifying BIPOC creators and making kidlit a more inclusive place. In her spare time, she likes to climb rocks, ride bikes, and revel in nature. Visit her at trishadeguzman.com or on Twitter at @trishadeg.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG, YA

Most interested in acquiring: Vibrantly illustrated, funny picture books with a big commercial hook; artful picture books about an important topic with beautifully illustrated art and award-winning potential.

Not the right editor for: books about WWII; nonfiction that is not narrative; bedtime stories; picture books about animals.

Kate Egan began her career at Scholastic, then veered into the freelance lane when she moved with her family to Maine. As a freelance editor, she worked with authors from Cynthia Lord to Suzanne Collins, and launched a YA imprint, KCP Loft, for Kids Can Press. Now she is an executive editor at Pixel+Ink Books, specializing in IP publishing. Kate is also the author of many books, including the Magic Shop series and Golden Ticket, a middle grade novel.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG

Not the right editor for: YA

Asia Harden is an editorial assistant at Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers. She is a Mississippi native and graduate of the University of Mississippi. In college, she worked as a children’s bookseller at Square Books, Jr. and loved every second of it. She particularly enjoys joyful middle grade stories and atmospheric, high concept young adult with a literary leaning. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Find her on Twitter @asiacharden.

Currently Acquires: MG, YA

Most interested in acquiring: high concept stories with a literary leaning; atmospheric, layered writing that mirrors the complexities of life; narratives that center BIPOC characters and other marginalized groups, especially if they are heartwarming, adventurous, or joyous; anything and everything set in the modern-day South; found family, fierce female protagonists, and touching friendships. Specific to middle grade: magic, magic, and more magic! Percy Jackson-esque adventure; humor and warmth; family or sibling relationships, in all their uniqueness, complexity, and diversity. Specific to young adult: hooky romance with adorable meet-cutes and heart-fluttering moments; genre bending, alt history, or dystopia that are action-packed, challenge social norms and/or blur the line between hero and villain; stories that revolve around royal families, political intrigue, or societies re-establishing themselves; edge-of-your-seat mysteries that humanize victims and don’t sensationalize tragedy; character-driven multi-generation stories that provide a window into the human experience; upper YA with smart, funny, emotional characters trying to find their way like Fangirl or Emergency Contact<.

Not the right editor for: YA horror or ghost stories; terminal illness or loss of a parent as a central plot point; YouTuber or vlogger stories; or stories heavily driven by social media and the Internet; picture books.

 Patricia Ocampo is a senior editor at Kids Can Press. In her almost two decades in publishing she has worked in editorial, sales, rights, and production. She also worked “the other side of the desk” as a children’s literary agent. Patricia is past president of the Canadian chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People.Currently Acquires: PB, MG, YA

Most interested in acquiring: cinematic contemporary YA stories, with a big cast of diverse characters and an original hook; narrative nonfiction YA; self-help YA; cinematic MG stories of all types (even historical!); truly laugh-out-loud MG and PB

Not the right editor for: high fantasy YA or MG; earnest PB or MG

Andrea Spooner – As editorial director for children’s picture books at Little Brown Books for Young Readers (LBYR), Andrea oversees an acclaimed list of illustrated books for children under eight years old. Since coming to LBYR in 2003, she’s had the honor of working with award-winning and bestselling talents such as Jerry Pinkney, Oge Mora, Brendan Wenzel, Greg Pizzoli, Patrick McDonnell, Dave Eggers, Julie Andrews, and Marc Brown. Andrea has edited young adult and middle grade novels from Ali Benjamin’s National Book Award Finalist The Thing About Jellyfish to dozens of James Patterson’s bestselling books for kids. Prior to working at LBYR,  she worked at Morrow, S&S, Macmillan, and North-South Books, and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course in 1992.

Currently Acquires: PB

Most interested in acquiring: fiction and informational fiction picture books; primarily ages 4-8; especially seeking humor

Not the right editor for: board books; concept books; straightforward nonfiction unless memoir or narrative nonfiction

Nick Thomas is executive editor at Levine Querido. He edits all kinds of books and has been lucky enough to work with authors like Donna Barba Higuera, Darcie Little Badger, and Eric Gansworth.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG, YA, poetry, illustrators

Most interested in acquiring: MG and YA novels; nonfiction; poetry; picture books; graphic novels

Harold Underdown is an executive editor at Kane Press. Before joining Kane Press, he worked as an independent editor and publishing consultant, providing developmental edits and strategic consulting; and as an in-house editor with McGraw-Hill Education, Charlesbridge, and Orchard Books. Harold also enjoys teaching in a variety of contexts. He speaks and gives workshops through the Highlights Foundation and SCBWI’s national and regional conferences. He also developed a curriculum focusing on revision in partnership with Eileen Robinson. They offer online and in-person tutorials, webinars, retreats, and workshops. He wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs “The Purple Crayon,” a respected website with information about the children’s publishing world at www.underdown.org.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG, NF, poetry, illustrators

Most interested in acquiring: fun, educational series proposals in both fiction and nonfiction, from young picture book level to older middle grade

Not the right editor for: YA

Alison S. Weiss has been in publishing for almost fifteen years. She is currently acquisitions editor at Pixel+Ink (part of the Trustbridge Media Group), a publisher focused exclusively on series publishing with transmedia potential. Her series include The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves by Tom Phillips, Plotting the Stars by Michelle A. Barry, and the forthcoming The Recess Genius by Janet Sumner Johnson, illustrated by Stacy Ebert, and Clara Poole by Taylor Tyng. Allison runs her own editorial consultancy, working with publishers including Simon & Schuster, Audible, and Arctis, as well as private clients, and was editorial director at Sky Pony Press, where her list included William C. Morris Finalist Devils Within by S.F. Henson, the Project Droid series by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser, illustrated by Mike Moran, the Timekeeper trilogy by Tara Sim, and the Mahabharata-inspired Celestial Trilogy by Sangu Mandanna. In 2016 she was named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She’s been trying to live up to the title ever since. You can follow her on Twitter @alioop7 and learn more about Pixel+Ink at www.pixelandinkbooks.com.

Currently Acquires: PB, MG

Most interested in acquiring: series only; it’s okay if only one story is drafted. We just want to make sure there’s series potential; character-driven picture books with lots of world to explore; chapter books that stand out from what’s currently on the shelves; commercial middle grade (think would this make a great movie or Netflix show?); graphic novels across all of these age levels, keeping the above parameters in mind

Not the right editor for: stand-alones; board books; picture books that are based around a concept or where the series is just different iterations of the same basic set-up (Joe Goes to School, Joe Goes the Fire House); YA; nonfiction

PORTFOLIO CONSULTATION FACULTY

Chad W. Beckerman is an agent at the CAT Agency who represents illustrators (only). He  brings over 20 years of illustration and design experience to the agency. After studying illustration as an undergrad at RISD, Chad went on to work as a designer at Scholastic, a senior designer at Greenwillow Books, and then became the creative director at ABRAMS Kids and Comic Arts, where he spent 13 years overseeing the design of 250 books a year––from picture books, to novels, to graphic novels, and art and entertainment books. Chad is behind the aesthetic for over forty New York Times bestselling and award-winning books including the blockbuster Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, the Caldecott honor and Coretta Scott King Award winning Trombone Story illustrated by Brian Collier, and the Newbery Medal honor books El Deafo and Heart of the Samurai.

Most interested in representing: illustrators who understand how to use the look of their work to communicate their voice through broad subject matters and compositions

Maria Elias is a senior art director at Penguin Young Readers. She has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Maria designed adult books for a decade before moving on to Children’s at Disney Hyperion and later Workman Publishing. In 2019, she co-founded Rise x Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Maria’s work has been recognized by AIGA, the Type Directors Club, and others. She also writes about design and is a proud member of the LatinX/Latine in Pub community. (All attendees meeting with Maria must wear a mask.)

Most interested in acquiring: established or aspiring illustrators interested in working with Rise should have samples that show your voice and feel like part of a larger idea or body of work; concept-driven passion projects are encouraged; no prior experience in the 0-5 realm is necessary, just a spark of relevancy and applicability to our mission.  Rise focuses on empowering narrative fiction and non-fiction illustrators. Our mission is to engage, empower, and evolve the youngest readers (ages 0-5) with authentic, relevant, and elegant books.

Not the right editor for: fantasy; cartoony (oversized facial-features) styles; anthropomorphized animals

Katie Fitch has worked in children’s publishing over fifteen years and at several houses, including Penguin, HarperCollins, and ABRAMS. She currently works at Scholastic as associate art director. Katie studied graphic design in college, graduating with a BFA in visual communications. Over the course of her career she has worked on a range of middle grade, picture books, YA Fiction, board books, and a few graphic novels here and there.

Most interested in finding: illustrators with unique styles; Katie works on a few graphic novels a year and is constantly trying to find new artists for those.

Aram Kim is a writer, illustrator, and designer of children’s picture books. She is an art director at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, where she helps other creators make their stories come to life. Aram has designed and overseen many award-winning picture books including 2021 Caldecott Medal Winner We Are Water Protectors and 2021 Caldecott Honor Winner A Place Inside of Me. She has worked with many illustrators ranging from debut illustrators to established illustrators on a wide range of children’s books. When Aram is not designing, she writes and illustrates her own stories. She is the creator of the Yoomi, Friends, and Family series in which the Korean American cat Yoomi shares everyday adventures with her family and friends while she expands her world. Aram’s most recent picture book is Tomorrow Is New Year’s Day (FSG, 2022). It is about Seollal, the Korean celebration of Lunar New Year’s Day. Aram is a recipient of 2022 Mills Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy. The award is given to a children’s book creator who is dedicated to promoting a lifelong love of reading in young children. Visit AramKim.com.

Most interested in finding: illustrators for picture books

Not the best art director for: YA cover illustrators

Tracy Shaw is an executive art director with Hachette Book Group at Little Brown Books for Young Readers (LBYR). She’s been with LBYR for more than 20 years, starting in Boston as an assistant in production. She currently heads James Patterson’s children’s titles among other LBYR projects.

Most interested in finding: illustrators for middle grade and YA novels