Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Manuscript and Portfolio Consultant Bios

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Manuscript Consultants

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Bonnie Bader has written over fifty books for young people, including six books in the popular Who Was? series and several licensed tie-ins. She was the associate publisher at Penguin Young Readers for 14 years, where she edited many bestselling series and created the Penguin Young Readers leveled-reading program. Currently, Bonnie serves on the Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and acts as the Publishing Advisor for the Society. In addition, Bonnie teaches classes to published and pre-published authors and illustrators. Bonnie holds a Master of Science in Education and loves visiting classrooms to share her love of reading and writing.

Talia Benamy is an associate editor at Philomel Books, where she focuses on everything from picture books to middle-grade and young adult novels. She has worked on books by Chelsea Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor, Temple Grandin, Jane Yolen, Abigail ‘Astronaut Abby’ Harrison, Lisa Graff, Ruta Sepetys, Dev Petty, Sarah Brannen, and Terry Border. She sees books as having the amazing power to shape the way kids see the world around them and their place in it, and she looks for manuscripts that have the potential to do just that.

Julie Bliven is an editor at Charlesbridge, where she enjoys focusing on fiction and nonfiction picture books and contemporary, realistic, middle-grade novels. Julie holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons University, where she has also been a writing instructor and mentor to the program’s MFA students. She has also served as a member of the Children’s Book Council Diversity Initiative.

Alex Borbolla joined Simon & Schuster in April 2015 as a managing editorial assistant but was drawn more to story editing than copyediting, so she moved down the hall to Atheneum Books for Young Readers in May 2016. As assistant to Caitlyn Dlouhy, Alex has been lucky enough to work with multiple award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors and is the editor of her own talented authors. She earned a B.A. in English and Communications from Rollins College and holds an M.S. in Publishing from NYU. Follow her on Twitter @Alex_Borbolla.

Karen Boss is an editor at Charlesbridge. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons University and is a mentor in their MFA program. Karen also has an MA in Higher Education Administration and worked at colleges and in the nonprofit sector for fifteen years. She edits fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle-grade, and YA.

Linda Camacho is an agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. She graduated from Cornell with a B.S. in Communication and has held various positions at Penguin Random House, Dorchester, Simon & Schuster, Writers House, and Prospect Agency. Linda’s done everything from foreign rights to editorial, to marketing, to operations and received her MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Linda is looking for middle-grade, YA, and adult fiction across all genres. She’s also seeking graphic novel writer-illustrators.

Karen Chaplin is an executive editor at HarperCollins where she acquires and edits middle-grade and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels, as well as fiction and nonfiction picture books. Authors she has worked with include New York Times bestselling authors Tim Green, Amy Ewing, and Margot Lee Shetterly; PW Flying Start author Paul Mosier; two-time Edgar Award Nominee Lamar Giles; Caela Carter; and Kathleen Krull among others. She has also worked with such illustrators as Coretta Scott King, Honor Illustrator Laura Freeman, Maurizio Quarello, and Iacopo Bruno.

John Cusick is a VP and literary agent with Folio Literary Management, representing a diverse list of award-winners and New York Times bestsellers. His focus is middle-grade, young adult, and crossover fiction. He is also the author of the YA novels: Girl Parts and Cherry Money Baby (Candlewick Press), and the forthcoming middle-grade, Dimension Why: How to Save the Universe Without Really Trying (HarperCollins). John tweets at @johnmcusick and discusses the craft and business of writing on YouTube at His submission guidelines are available on Publishers Marketplace:

Molly Cusick is an editor at Sourcebooks, where she acquires picture books and middle-grade and young adult fiction. Authors she publishes include New York Times bestselling picture book author Pat Zietlow Miller, Printz Honor winner and New York Times bestselling middle-grade and YA author Julie Berry, and New York Times bestselling YA and adult author Nina Laurin.

Jill Davis is an executive editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books. She edits picture books, illustrated and graphic middle-grade, and oversees Harold and the Purple Crayon. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and YA from Hamline University and is the author of three picture books and an unpublished novel. She works with Elise Gravel, Beatrice Alemagna, Eric Barclay, Daniel Bernstrom, Ame Dyckman, Constance Lombardo, and many others!

Erzsi Deak is the founder of Hen & Ink Literary Studio. With Kristin Litchman, she created Period Pieces: Stories for Girls(HarperCollins). She is the author of Pumpkin Time! illustrated by Doug Cushman and published by Sourcebooks. Erzsi edits the Here, There, & Everywhere column in the SCBWI Bulletin and also scouts for French publisher Seuil/DLMJ. She is drawn to books with strong voice, levity amid the tension, and books where the character(s) earn their story/

Tina Dubois is a literary agent at ICM Partners, with a focus on middle-grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. She’s looking for diverse voices/#OwnVoices. Many of her favorite reads include an element of mystery, dangerous magic, and nerd humor. @tduboisny

Jennie Dunham (AAR and SCBWI member) worked at three New York City literary agencies before she founded Dunham Literary, Inc. in 2000. Her clients have been New York Times bestsellers and have won awards such as Boston Globe Horn Book Honor, New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, the Charlotte Zolotow Award, and International Reading Association Award. Her agency represents children’s books for all ages from novelty and picture books through middle-grade and young adult as well as literary fiction and non-fiction for adults.

Melissa Edwards represents children’s books for all ages and adult commercial fiction, as well as select pop culture nonfiction. Melissa joined Stonesong as a literary agent in August 2016. Previously, she was a literary agent at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency, where she managed the foreign rights for a forty-year backlist. She is a tireless advocate for her clients and a constant partner during the publication process and beyond. She can be found on Twitter @MelissaLaurenE, where she often tweets her active Manuscript Wishlist requests under #MSWL. Melissa is looking for children’s literature with heart, especially in picture books and middle-grade. For young adults, she is interested in seeing commercial fiction in all genres, particularly romance and thriller.

Feather Flores (she/her) is an editorial assistant at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. A lifelong writer and bibliophile, and one of the first recipients of the We Need Diverse Books internship grant, she is deeply committed to championing books by and about people from marginalized communities. Feather is drawn to stories that provide a window into the beauty and diversity of the human experience: the humor, the emotion, the curiosity, the magic. She acquires both fiction and nonfiction in a wide range of formats; everything from board books and picture books to chapter books and graphic novels. You can find her making a dent in her reading list on Instagram (@plumarosareading) or getting excited about things on Twitter (@featherfully).

Sylvie Frank is the senior editor at Paula Wiseman Books, a boutique imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division. She is the editor of award-winning and critically-acclaimed books including Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Scott Magoon; Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome; and Santiago’s Road Home by Alexandra Diaz. Since joining Paula Wiseman Books in 2013, Sylvie has been on the prowl for kid-focused, snappy picture books and contemporary, voice-driven middle-grade with a strong hook. She is drawn to original and diverse voices across all genres. One of her favorite pastimes is browsing agents’ and illustrators’ websites for new talent.

Stephanie Fretwell-Hill is a literary agent with a sales and editorial background. After starting her career in foreign rights at Walker Books in the UK, Stephanie moved home to the US as an acquiring editor at Peachtree Publishers. In 2016, she joined Red Fox Literary where she now represents authors and illustrators of fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle-grade, and YA. Some of her clients include R. W. Alley, Beth Anderson, Carolyn Crimi, Edith Cohn, Brad Sneed, Christina Soontornvat, and Archana Sreenivasan.

Benjamin Gartenberg, Assistant Editor, Scholastic Press, works primarily on picture books and middle-grade, fictional and otherwise. He worked on the novels, Mananaland by Pam Munoz Ryan and Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte, and the picture books, Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell, illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez; The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach; Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney; and Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls, among others.

Brian Geffen is an editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. He has worked with wonderful authors such as Julie C. Dao, Gregory Zuckerman, John Flanagan, Heather Kassner, Remy Lai, Katy Rose Pool, Rocky Callen, Christian McKay Heidicker, Oliver Jeffers, Loren Long, Lorna Scobie, and Andrew Maraniss, among others. Brian acquires a wide variety of young adult and middle-grade fiction, particularly fantasy, realistic contemporary, and action/adventure, as well as graphic novels and humorous picture books.

Samantha Gentry joined Little Brown Books for Young Readers in 2019 with a primary focus on middle-grade fiction and commercial nonfiction. She has a particular interest in pop-culture tie-ins and platform-driven stories in the nonfiction space. In middle-grade, she’s always on the lookout for voice-driven stories with unforgettable characters, a friendship story, interesting family dynamics, a touch of magical realism, and anything that will make her laugh. She’d love to see more character-driven stories with a touch of humor and quirk but is also a sucker for the charming tales that feel like instant classics. Forthcoming projects include Christopher Pumpkin by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, illustrated by Nick East; Hair Twins by Raakhee Mirchandani, illustrated by Holly Hatam; and In the Blue by Erin Hourigan. She is also selectively seeking young adult novels from authors with a platform, stories and storytellers from diverse backgrounds, and edgy contemporaries with a strong and distinctive narrative voice.

Tara Gilbert joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2020. Previously, she was an Associate Agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Tara has been in the publishing industry since 2017, which included an internship at Entangled Publishing. When Tara isn’t reading manuscripts and working with her clients, she is a full-time technical recruiter in the aerospace industry. To learn more about Tara, please visit her website at

Adria Goetz is a literary agent with Seattle-based Martin Literary & Media Management. She specializes in picture books, middle-grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as gift books and devotionals. She graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in English with a Creative Writing emphasis, as well as the Columbia Publishing Course. In 2019, she was selected as a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She was recently proud to represent Taste Your Words by Bonnie Clark, The Ugly Doodles by Valeria Wicker, The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, and No Ordinary Thing by G.Z. Schmidt. To learn more about Adria and what she is (and isn’t) looking for, check out her wish list at She tweets at @adriamgoetz.

Karen Grencik became a literary agent because of a man she admired. She wanted the world to know his story. In 2001, she accomplished her goal when Double Luck, Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan, written by Lu Chi Fa with Becky White, was published by Holiday House. Karen’s next sale, George Hogglesberry, Grade School Alien, written by Sarah Wilson, was acquired by a new editor, Abigail Samoun, at Tricycle Press. In February 2011, Karen and Abigail joined forces to open Red Fox Literary, LLC, a boutique agency that specializes in children’s books for all ages. Karen specializes in picture books and is looking for character-driven stories that fill her with emotion or stories that make her laugh, preferably with a strong marketing hook.

Wendi Gu is an agent at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is lucky to work with fiction and nonfiction children’s books across the spectrum, from board books all the way up to young adult. Wendi enjoys lyricism at the line level, sophisticated rhythm, as well as whimsical, absurdist humor. She does not shy away from heavy, darker subjects related to mental health, trauma, and displacement, with a special focus on family stories, and nonfiction books that unearth unexpected corners of history and science. For middle-grade and young adult novels, she enjoys voice-driven stories with thoughtful, contemplative, often flawed characters. She is looking for authors who value intersectionality.

Andrea Hall is an editor with Albert Whitman & Company. She is drawn to stories that have layers of meaning and diversity. Some of the titles she’s acquired include Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code, Shubh Diwali! and Far Apart, Close in Heart.

Deborah Halverson is the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies and Writing New Adult Fiction, the teen novels Big Mouth and Honk If You Hate Me, the picture book Letters to Santa, and three books in the Remix series for struggling readers. Formerly an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books and now a freelancer specializing in young adult/middle-grade fiction, new adult fiction, and picture books, Deborah has been working with bestselling authors, veterans, debut, and aspiring writers for almost twenty-five years. She is also the founder of the popular writers’ advice site and serves on the advisory board for the UC San Diego Extension Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating certificate program.

Hilary Harwell joined the KT Literary team in 2016 to support office operations and assist with queries and manuscripts. She began taking on clients in 2017 and has now been promoted to full agent with a growing list of clients and sales. She has a penchant for fully-developed characters who leap off the page and into her heart (even if they’re not always the most lovable), for tightly plotted stories that show her new ways to look at the world, for elegant prose, strong emotional resonance, and for stories told from diverse perspectives so that more children and young people can find themselves inside the pages of the books we help create. She’s currently looking for middle-grade and young adult projects, both realistic and fantastic.

Susan Hawk is an agent at Upstart Crow Literary, a boutique literary agency she joined after twenty-five years of working across many areas of the children’s book world. She represents writers and illustrators of books for kids and teens, board books through YA, as well as graphic novels and non-fiction. Her clients include Ruth Spiro (author of the Baby Loves board books), J.M.M. Nuanez (Birdie and Me), and Rachael Allen (Georgia YA Author of the Year, and author of the forthcoming YA novel, The Summer of Impossibilities).

Katie Heit is a picture book editor at Scholastic Books where she edits nonfiction picture books and chapter books, as well as select fiction picture book titles. She works with many nonfiction authors, including Sandra Markle, Dean Robbins, and Nick Seluk, among others. She is drawn to books that approach nonfiction in a unique, kid-friendly way and is especially on the lookout for nature and STEAM topics.

Sasha Henriques is an associate editor at Random House Books for Young Readers where she acquires picture books, middle-grade, and young adult projects, both fiction and nonfiction. For young adult, Sasha loves mysteries and thrillers with adult crossover appeal, historical fiction with fresh takes on stories we think we know, retellings and modernizations of classic tales, contemporary rom-coms, and horror with a psychological, suspenseful bent. She lives for high-concept, genre-crossing speculative reads. For middle-grade, she prefers witty female protagonists and stories that are funny and voice-driven. Above all, she’s looking for diverse voices, sassy narrators, and sharp writing! She particularly hopes to find projects that represent the LGBTQ+ community, explore immigrant and first-generation stories in a commercial way, and feature otherly-abled characters.

Carol Hinz is an editorial director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She acquires and edits picture books as well as photo-driven nonfiction, publishing about thirty titles a year. Books she’s edited include Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson; One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon; A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim; and Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem by Kate Messner. Find her on Twitter: @CarolCHinz.

Greg Hunter is the Editorial Director of Lerner Publishing Group’s Graphic Universe imprint. He has served as editor on graphic novels including Sincerely, Harriet by Sarah Winifred Searle (starred review, Kirkus), the North American edition of My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun (starred review, Booklist), and the Life on Earth series by acclaimed cartoonist MariNaomi. He has also edited prose middle-grade novels such as The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez by Robin Yardi (starred review, Kirkus) and the Quinnie Boyd Mysteries series by C.M. Surrisi, including the Agatha Award-nominated A Side of Sabotage. He values storytelling that balances the irreverent, the surprising, and the sincere.

Elizabeth Law is a self-described children’s literature fanatic with nearly 30 years’ experience in children’s book publishing. She began her career at Viking Children’s Books and Puffin Books and held positions as an associate publisher at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and as publisher of Egmont USA. She is currently a senior editor at Holiday House Publishing and has worked with many authors and artist including Andrew Clements, Dan Gutman, Adam Rapp, Tony diTerlizzi, and Lane Smith. @Elawreads

Tricia Lawrence is a senior agent at the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle-grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong worldbuilding, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won’t let go.

Celia Lee is a senior editor at Scholastic where she acquires for the Cartwheel and Orchard imprints, acquiring everything from board and novelty books to picture books and other illustrated formats. She studied English Literature and Art History at Virginia Tech and earned an MS in Publishing from NYU. She previously worked for Scholastic’s Book Clubs division, working on their specialty flyers in partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

Arianne Lewin is an executive editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. She edits books in every category, and her authors include Melissa de la Cruz, Rick Yancey, Rachel Hawkins, Beth Ferry, and Maria Gianferrari.

Tiff Liao is a senior editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. Some of her recent titles include the #1 New York Times bestseller Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and its bestselling sequel Children of Virtue and Vengeance, A Game of Fox & Squirrels by Jenn Reese, I Am Perfectly Designed by Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and Jason Brown, and the Peasprout Chen series by Nebula Award finalist Henry Lien. Prior to joining Holt, she was an editor at Penguin Young Readers. You can follow her on Twitter for (mostly) bookish musings @tiff_liao.

Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (a division of Hachette Book Group) where she has worked since 1999. She edits children’s books for all ages, from picture books to young adult. For picture books, she loves both silly, laugh-out-loud picture books, as well as beautiful, thought-provoking ones. For middle-grade and young adult, she would love to acquire a commercial “next big thing” series (of course!), as well as strong literary fiction with award-winning potential. As one of the founding members and former chair of the Children’s Book Council’s Diversity Committee, she has a particular passion for books with diverse characters and themes. She’s also a sucker for books that feel completely unique, books that can make her both laugh and sob, and books that can be described (in all seriousness) as “important.”

Wendy Loggia is a senior executive editor at Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books, where she edits middle-grade and YA fiction and oversees Underlined, a new line of YA paperbacks debuting in July 2020. Coming up on her list: The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White; Coming Up for Air by Nicole B. Tyndall (debut) and Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham. @wendyloggia on Twitter.

Amanda Maciel is an executive editor at Scholastic with nearly twenty years of experience acquiring and editing chapter book, middle-grade, and YA fiction. Her list includes the New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland; the Witch Boy graphic novel trilogy by Molly Knox Ostertag; the Front Desk trilogy by Kelly Yang; and the forthcoming YA novel-in-verse Muted by Tami Charles.

Melissa Manlove is a senior editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for sixteen years. Her acquisitions encompass picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, graphic novels, and novels in verse. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has twenty years of children’s bookselling experience.

Krista Marino is a senior executive editor at Delacorte Press (Random House Children’s Books) where she acquires and edits young adult and middle-grade fiction. Among her list are bestselling series, like the Maze Runner; literary gems, like Kathleen Glasgow’s Girl in Pieces; genre-bending debuts, like Rory Power’s Wilder Girls; and trendsetters, like Karen M. McManus’s One of Us Is Lying. Whether it’s an original voice, a unique world, a different worldview, or a compelling plot, she’s looking for stories that you can’t stop thinking about as well as novels with unexpected twists and authentic, compelling voices. She loves anything that keeps her up at night and begs her to finish in one sitting. Young adult and middle-grade, and across genres, she wants fresh concepts, lots of heart, and she always loves a great mystery.

Jennifer Mattson (@jannmatt) has been an agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency for more than a decade and began working in children’s publishing immediately out of college, including five years as an editor at Dutton and five years as a Books for Youth reviewer with Booklist magazine. She represents all audiences and genres, from picture books through young adult, and looks for authors or author-illustrators who bring a deep professionalism, an open mind, and a fresh point of view to their work.

Sean McCarthy founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013. He began his publishing career as an editorial intern at Overlook Press and then worked at Sheldon Fogelman Agency as the submissions coordinator and permissions manager before becoming a full-time literary agent. His clients include New York Times bestseller Zachariah OHora, Hyewon Yum, Dana Wulfekotte, Andrea Offermann, Jamie A. Swenson, and Heather Ayris Burnell, among others. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-Creative Writing and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota.

Kate Meltzer is an editor at Roaring Brook Press, a division of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She has worked with bestselling and award-winning authors such as Marie Lu, Melissa de la Cruz, and Matt de la Pena, among others. Kate acquires projects across genres for younger readers of all ages, ranging from original board books to picture books, middle-grade, and YA. She is particularly interested in coming-of-age stories, speculative fiction, immersive fantasy, rom-coms, and ugly-cry love stories.

Andrea Morrison is a literary agent with Writers House, where she works with authors and illustrators in genres ranging from picture books to middle-grade and YA. Having studied Literature/Writing at the University of California, San Diego and having earned her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, Andrea is hands-on editorially. She’s hungry for YA that appeals to all ages and blends crazy-beautiful language with characters navigating the nutty, magical, and hard parts of being a teen. She’s also particularly excited about author/illustrator picture books and funny, heartfelt middle-grade novels. Most importantly, she’s looking for characters that need to be heard, for stories that grab your heart and don’t let it go. For more info: She’s also on Twitter at @AndreaAgency.

Ammi-Joan Paquette is a senior literary agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency representing many leading children’s and YA authors. She is also the author of many books for young readers, including the magical adventure The Train of Lost Things, the bestselling picture book Ghost in the House, and the Two Truths and a Lie series, co-written with Laurie Ann Thompson. Visit her at

Alexandra Penfold is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary Agency and the New York Times bestselling author of All Are Welcome, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman. She represents works for all age ranges and across genres. Some of the books Alexandra has represented include SCBWI Golden Kite winner Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley; Be the Change by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk; and Quackers by Liz Wong. Clients include New York Times bestselling illustrators Elizabeth Baddeley and Suzanne Kaufman, and authors Bethany Hegedus, Adam Lehrhaupt, and Stephanie Ledyard, among others. Alexandra is the author of several books for children: Eat, Sleep, Poop, illustrated by Jane Massey; We Are Brothers, We Are Friends, illustrated by Eda Kaban; The Littlest Viking, illustrated by Isabel Roxas; and Food Truck Fest, illustrated by Mike Dutton. Find her on Twitter @agentpenfold or She will only be reviewing Picture Books.

Beth Phelan has been an agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary since 2017. She represents authors of middle-grade and young adult books and gravitates toward stories and characters that inspire, and anything with a touch of humor and the bittersweet. Beth is also the creator of #DVpit, a Twitter pitch event for marginalized creators, which she launched in April 2016. Twitter: @beth_phelan, @DVpit_

Christina Pulles joined Albert Whitman & Company in December 2018, and before that worked at Sterling Children’s Books and Simon & Schuster’s Simon Spotlight imprint. Books that she’s edited include the picture books A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan and Xia Gordon, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast: Mission Defrostable by Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney, and Two Bicycles in Beijing by Teresa Robeson and Junyi Wu, as well as the middle-grade novels Howard Wallace, P.I. and its sequels by Casey Lyall, and Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and its sequel by Dusti Bowling.

Kristin Rens is an executive editor at the Balzer + Bray imprint of HarperCollins. She has been privileged to work with award-winning authors such as Michelle Markel, Crystal Allen, Elizabeth Wein, and Jeff Garvin, and is also the editor of the New York Times bestsellers Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye, and The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine. Kristin edits picture books, middle-grade, and young adult fiction, as well as select nonfiction.

Quressa Robinson joined the Nelson Literary Agency in 2017 after working at a previous agency and as an editor for five years. As a New York based agent, she is eager to build her middle-grade, YA, and adult lists. Quressa is also a member of the 2017-2020 We Need Diverse Books Walter Grant Committee and holds an MFA in Creative Writing: Fiction from Columbia University.

Ann Rose is an agent at the Prospect Literary Agency. She has been exploring publishing by working and mentoring with literary agents in various capacities for the past few years. Now she’s thrilled to be building her own list and is actively seeking clients ready to grow amazing careers with her. Ann’s perfect manuscript is a character-driven story that isn’t afraid to push boundaries. She loves an unlikable character even though she is incredibly likable herself!

Steven Salpeter is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. in New York. He represents a broad range of literary and commercial writing and loves stories with strong themes and high stakes. In nonfiction, Steven is interested in activity books, books that shine a light on difficult issues, or books that teach kids new skills.

Sara Sargent is a senior executive editor at Random House Children’s Books, where she publishes cutting-edge nonfiction and fiction for young people of all ages. She focuses on books that feel of-the-moment, reflecting what kids, parents, teachers, and educators most need now. Sara has previously held publishing positions at HarperCollins Children’s Books and Simon & Schuster. Her wish list includes picture books with diverse representations of family experiences; young adult psychological thrillers with crossover appeal; Crazy Rich Asians for young adult; Daisy Jones and the Six for young adult; young adult LGBTQ+ contemporary rom-coms; middle-grade or young adult fiction featuring protagonists who explore themes of ableness, neurodiversity, or chronic illness; and fiction and nonfiction PB, MG, and YA with themes surrounding climate change.

Emma Sector is a literary agent at Prospect Agency. She started her career with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, where she worked in the marketing department before joining the Aladdin editorial team. After leaving Simon & Schuster, she continued to do editorial work on a freelance basis and become acquainted, as a publicist, with the bookstore landscape. Having approached publishing from so many different angles, Emma has developed a comprehensive view of the children’s literature market, as well as an appreciation of all the hard work it takes to get a book from author to reader. She is looking to create long lasting relationships with authors, working with them to polish their work and find the right editorial match.

Kate Sederstrom is a freelance editor and copywriter. Her experience in agenting, publicity, and editorial gives her a wide breadth of knowledge on how to both develop stories and craft the perfect pitch. She’s worked in the Random House publicity department, at the Bright Agency, and, most recently, on the editorial team at Bloomsbury Children’s books.

Erica Rand Silverman is a senior agent with Stimola Literary Studio. In her 10+ years in publishing, Erica has worked with some of the most exciting new talent and treasured mainstays in the industry as well as the estates of our favorite classics.  She is currently focused on representing authors and illustrators of illustrated books for children. Erica is a tireless advocate for her clients and proud to be a part of an industry that is so thoughtfully shaping young hearts and minds. Erica is most interested in author-illustrator picture books through chapter books and interesting novelty formats. She is looking for a diverse array of voices, perspectives and styles.

Alexander Slater is an agent at Trident Media Group.  His list includes authors like Jodi Kendall, Janae Marks, Anuradha Rajurkar, and other award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors. In looking for new projects, he hopes to find smart and innovative thrillers, as well as witty and original rom-coms in the young adult space, and speculative, horror, or grounded sci-fi and fantasy fiction for middle-grade readers. All stories must have the urgency all the best stories for children share and be from writers eager to engage in the diverse and dynamic conversation ongoing in contemporary literature.

Lauren Spieller is an associate literary agent with TriadaUS. She has a sharp editorial eye and is passionate about author advocacy. Lauren is seeking middle-grade and young adult fiction, as well as select adult fiction and non-fiction. Whatever the age category or genre, Lauren is passionate about finding diverse and underrepresented voices. Lauren is the author of two young adult novels, Your Destination is on the Left and She’s The Worst.

Claire Stetzer is an associate editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Her list spans all age categories and includes Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera, Player Vs Player by Alexis Nedd, A Taste of Magic by J. Elle, and the Big Bright Feelings series by Tom Percival. Claire has also worked closely on titles from bestselling and highly acclaimed authors such as Renee Watson, Brigid Kemmerer, Sara Holland, Ally Condie, Brendan Reichs, Emery Lord, and Kate Messner.

Saba Sulaiman is an agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services. She’s looking primarily to build her list with picture books, middle-grade and young adult and is particularly (although not exclusively) interested in contemporary realistic stories. She is committed to highlighting marginalized voices with compelling stories to tell, stories that demonstrate the true range of perspectives that exist in this world and address urgent and often underexplored issues with veracity and heart. What’s on her wishlist? Unapologetically joyful narratives centering on intersectionally marginalized characters, underrepresented Queer perspectives, wildly original, character-forward picture book ideas, and South Asians behaving badly. Twitter @agentsaba. Website:

Kari Sutherland joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. Previously a senior editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she has worked with bestselling and critically-acclaimed authors on projects such as the New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success.

Laurel Symonds launched as a literary agent at The Bent Agency in 2018 after nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She began her career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books and has also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. As a literary agent, she is seeking children’s fiction and nonfiction. Her profile and submission guidelines are at and she can also be found online on Twitter and Instagram (@LaurelSymonds).

Beth Terrill is the US picture book editor for NorthSouth Books. She recently acquired Peace by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul, to be illustrated by Estelí Meza and Climb On! by Baptiste Paul, to be illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara. Other books she’s edited include Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos (Monica Brown, John Para), The Field (Baptiste Paul, Jacqueline Alcantara), I Am a Thief (Abigail Rayner, Molly Ruttan), The True Story of Zippy Chippy (Artie Bennett, Dave Szalay), and Surf’s Up (Kwame Alexander, Daniel Miyares). Beth is looking for fiction and nonfiction picture book manuscripts that are fresh and original. Humorous picture books are especially welcome.

Nick Thomas is a senior editor at Levine Querido, an independent children’s book publisher. Authors on the upcoming LQ launch list he has had the honor of working with include Darcie Little Badger, Eric Gansworth, and Donna Barba Higuera (the latter of whom he met through SCBWI!). He loves to work on every type of book under the sun, but most especially middle-grade and young adult, and at the moment is looking for wonderful fantasy and funny, thoughtful writing.

Erika Turner is a senior editor at Versify, the new imprint helmed by Kwame Alexander at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She acquires books for kids of all ages, including graphic novels, and is looking for unexpected concepts, surly middle-grade protagonists, and sweeping young adult fantasies. She’s partial to projects that explore our relationship to technology, spirituality, and history.

Andrea Welch is an executive editor at Beach Lane Books, a San Diego-based imprint of Simon & Schuster. She has the pleasure of working with a long list of wonderful authors and illustrators, including Liz Garton Scanlon, Denise Fleming, April Pulley Sayre, and Ekua Holmes. Recently celebrated books she has edited include Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel; The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Terry & Eric Fan; and the New York Times bestselling LMNO Peas series.

Krista Vitola is a senior editor at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. A few of the gems she is lucky to work with are Anne Bustard, Donna Gephart, Shanna Miles, Kelly Yang and Stuart Gibbs. She gravitates toward middle-grade and young adult novels with tons of heart, strong relationships, and a unique setting. If she learns something new in the process, she is even happier. Krista would love to find more novels that shed light on marginalized experiences and stories that will make her laugh.

Charlotte Wenger is a literary agent in the Boston area with Prospect Agency. Prior to joining Prospect, she was an associate editor at Page Street Kids. She has her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Simmons College (now University) and serves on the national advisory board of the Mazza Museum, the world’s largest collection of original artwork by children’s book illustrators. Charlotte is drawn to children’s literature and art for all ages—board books through YA, but especially picture books. You can find her on Twitter at @WilbursBF_Char.



Portfolio Consultants

Christy Ewers is the owner of The CAT Agency, where she represents illustrators and author/illustrators in the children’s market, after taking over for her mother, Chris Tugeau, who founded the agency in 1994. The CAT Agency is a boutique agency that believes in the hands-on approach in representing a diverse group of talent from all over the world. Christy works closely with the entire “family” of artists, spearheading promotion and deals for CAT Agency illustrators, as well as working closely with the authors in the group to help craft their stories and hone their writing for young readers. For more information, visit

Sarah Hokanson is an associate art director at Random House Children’s Books where she’s worked for over twenty years. She art directs and designs approximately thirty picture books, board books, and chapter books a year, working across all the Random House Children’s Books trade imprints.

Laurent Linn, art director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, has collaborated on picture books, middle grade, and teen novels with both celebrated and new illustrators such as the late Tomie dePaola, Vashti Harrison, and Raúl Colón. He is also the author-illustrator of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Draw the Line. Laurent is on the SCBWI Board of Advisors and is the artistic advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Laurent began his career as a puppet designer and builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, creating characters for productions including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. He eventually became the creative director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award.

Lily Malcom is the vice president and executive art director of Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. As an art director, she has worked with many talented, award-winning illustrators, among them David Small, Jon Agee, Jerry Pinkney, Judy Schachner, Erin E. Stead, Tao Nyeu, Loren Long, Blanca Gómez, and Corinna Luyken. Lily enjoys working with longtime professionals as well as first-time illustrators, and she’s always on the lookout for stories with unique, memorable characters and a strong visual narrative. Twitter @lil_design

Maria T. Middleton designs books for kids. She began her career at HarperCollins, spent almost a decade creating award-winning books at Abrams, and then led the middle-grade team at Random House Children’s Books. As art director of imprints at Candlewick Press, Maria works across a variety of formats and genres. She’s a fan of quirky characters, hand lettered type, serial commas, strong coffee, and the color red.

Elizabeth B. Parisi is the creative director of trade publishing at Scholastic Inc. A graduate of RISD with a BFA in illustration, Elizabeth has won 2 gold medals as an art director from the Society of Illustrators. She oversees over 200 book titles per year, in middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction genres, and has worked on many acclaimed titles including the Hunger Games series, with her husband, Tim O’Brien, as illustrator; Kent State by Lois Lowry;the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series by Sayantani Das Gupta; and Flying Over Water, by Shannon Hitchcock and N.H. Senzai. Widely respected in the industry, she is known for her innovative, focused designs and for knowing instinctively what the right image and design approach is for every book.

Martha Rago is the executive creative director at Random House Children’s books, joining the company in 2015. She oversees the design teams for all the imprints under the Random House Kids umbrella including Random House, Rodale, Doubleday, Knopf, Delacorte, Crown, Little Golden Books, Random House Studio and Anne Schwartz Books. Martha has had a long career as a book designer and art director and to keep her skills sharp and her creative joy intact, she also designs several books a year. She most recently worked with Lauren Castillo on Our Friend Hedgehog and with Rudy Gutierrez on the 2019 Caldecott honor-winner, Double Bass Blues, by Andrea J. Looney.

Lauren Rille is an art director at Simon & Schuster, where she works with the Beach Lane, Atheneum, and McElderry imprints. Before joining Simon & Schuster, Lauren was a designer at Sterling and Harcourt Children’s Books. Some books she’s designed include the most recent edition of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume with cover illustration by Debbie Ohi; Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel; Scraps by Lois Ehlert; The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by The Fan Brothers; and the New York Times bestselling Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. Lauren’s debut picture book, I Feel Teal, illustrated by Aimee Sicuro, was published in July 2018 by Beach Lane Books. Lauren loves the collaborative process of working with editors and illustrators, and she’s always on the lookout for new talent. 

Cecilia Yung is executive art director and vice president at Penguin Books for Young Readers, where she oversees illustration and design for two imprints, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books. She is fortunate to have worked with some of the major illustrators of children’s books, but the highlight of her work is to discover and develop new talent. She is on the Board of Advisors of SCBWI, as well as a member of its Illustrators Committee.