SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

 

ROUNDTABLE PITCHES

Pitch your book to a children’s book agent or editor at one of our roundtable pitch sessions
and 
receive on-the-spot feedback on your pitch!

 

How it Works

 

Groups of ten writers will meet with one agent or editor on Zoom on Monday, August 2, at one of the three times listed below. Each writer will have the opportunity to give a two-minute pitch of their work (either a verbal elevator pitch or a reading of the first page of their manuscript). The agent/editor will then give five minutes of feedback on each pitch. Everyone will benefit from hearing the professional feedback on their fellow attendees’ pitches.

 

How to Register

 

Only SCBWI members attending the conference can register for the Pitch Roundtables. Please read the bios of each of the industry professionals below to get a sense of who might be interested in your manuscript or work-in-progress. PLEASE NOTE: Each and every one of the faculty listed below will be able to give you informed feedback on your pitch.

 

You may register for one ten-person roundtable with one agent or editor when you register for the Big Five-Oh Conference.

 

Space is limited, so register early.

 

If your first choice is full, you will be directed to sign up for a different agent or editor. When all the agents’ and editors’ tables are full, a waitlist will open. If you sign up for the waitlist, you will be contacted when a space becomes available. (PLEASE NOTE: there are no individual waitlists for specific agents/editors).

 

The Zoom link for your roundtable session will be sent through Constant Contact before the conference.  The sessions will take place on Monday, August 2, 2021, at the following times:

Session One:   9:00am-10:00am PDT / 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

Session Two:   11:00am-12:00pm PDT / 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

Session Three:   1:00pm-2:00pm PDT / 4:00pm- 5:00pm EDT

 

*You will not be able to select a specific time. All times will be assigned by SCBWI. Register only if you are able to attend any of the above sessions. If you miss your session, we cannot refund you or reschedule. 

 

Please contact Kim Turrisi at kimturrisi@scbwi.org if you have questions.

 


 

PITCH ROUNDTABLE FACULTY BIOS

Editors | Agents

 

Editors

 

Karen Chaplin is an executive editor at Quill Tree Books / HarperCollins Children’s Books. 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 (The Jewel trilogy), and Margot Lee Shetterly (Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition and picture book); PW Flying Start Paul Mosier (Train I Ride); two-time Edgar Award Nominee Lamar Giles (Fake ID, Endangered, Not So Pure and Simple); Caela Carter (ALA Notable, Forever, or a Long, Long Time); Jennifer Lynn Alvarez (The Guardian Herd series; Riders of the Realm series); Kathleen Krull (Fly High, John Glenn); Rebecca Ross (The Queen’s Rising duology and Sisters of Sword and Song); and Paula Stokes (Liars, Inc., Girl Against the Universe). She has also worked with such illustrators as Laura Freeman, Maurizio Quarello, Eric Velasquez, and Iacopo Bruno. 

Genres she’s looking for: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Lois Evans is an assistant editor at Random House Children’s Publishing. She is interested in character-driven stories across all age categories. She has experience working on platform-driven projects (work from celebrities, influencers, etc.) and licensed publishing with brands like Disney, DC, and Nickelodeon. Lois is especially passionate about stories that center the experiences of people of color as they intersect with themes like class, gender/sexuality, and migration. In picture books, she’s looking for projects that feature warm, commercial art and writing that tackles current issues with honesty and compassion. Think: Bedtime Bonnet, The Day You Begin, and Tea with Milk. In middle grade, she’s interested in nonfiction with strong, narrative prose like Real Friends, and high-stakes ensemble fiction like the Babysitting Nightmares series and Twins. In YA, she loves books that challenge the status quo and experiment while grounding readers in tight, engaging prose. On the fantasy and speculative fiction side of things, she’s attracted to books like Pet and All the Stars and Teeth, which inspire readers to imagine complicated new worlds. In contemporary fiction, she seeks stories that can make readers cry as easily as it makes them laugh while subverting popular romantic and/or coming-of-age tropes.

Genres she’s looking for:  Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Feather Flores (she/her) has worked on the children’s editorial team at Chronicle Books in San Francisco since 2018. 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. Her list encompasses both fiction and nonfiction titles in a wide range of formats, everything from board books and picture books to middle grade and graphic novels. You can find her talking about what she’s reading on Instagram (@plumarosareading) or getting excited about things on Twitter (@featherfully).

Genres she’s looking for: Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, and Picture Book.

Brian Geffen is a senior 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. Born and raised in Queens, NY, Brian is a fan of traveling, eating, rap, and learning foreign languages.

Genres he’s looking for:  Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Arely Guzmán is an editorial assistant at Knopf Books for Young Readers and Make Me a World (both imprints of Penguin Random House). She earned her MFA in creative writing with a focus on nonfiction from Columbia University. Arely grew up in the Tijuana/ San Diego border, reading as many books—in English and Spanish alike—as she could get a hold on. She is particularly interested in books that explore navigating in-betweenness and intersectional identities. 

Genres she’s looking for: Middle Grade and Young Adult.

Jess Harold is an associate editor at Scholastic/Orchard Books where she is curating an expansive lists of picture books and other illustrated works. She is looking for unique, character-driven, and emotional (funny AND sad) stories centered on marginalized voices and experiences. Stories that blend the worlds of fantasy and reality make her swoon! 

Genres she’s looking for: Picture Book.

Bunmi Ishola was raised in Texas and Nigeria and spent most of her childhood reading. She thought she wanted to be an author, but Nigerian practicality encouraged her to pursue journalism instead. After working for different newspapers and magazines, Bunmi left journalism to teach middle school social studies and English. After seven years in the classroom, she decided to take a chance and find a job working with one of her biggest passions: books. She now works as an editor for Penguin Random House, primarily focusing on faith-based children’s books. 

Genre’s she’s looking for: Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, and Picture Book.

Amanda Maciel has been editing children’s books since 2001 and is currently an executive editor at Scholastic Press. Her list of middle grade and YA titles include the #1 New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland; the New York Times bestselling graphic novel trilogy The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag; the acclaimed YA novel Muted by Tami Charles; and the New York Times bestselling Front Desk series by Kelly Yang. She is also the author of two YA novels, Tease and Lucky Girl. For her list, she’s always looking for commercial fiction with voice, heart, and series potential in both standard and graphic novel formats. 

Genres she’s looking for: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, and Young Adult.

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. 

Genres she’s looking for: Middle Grade and Young Adult.

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 Peña, among many others. Kate acquires projects across genres for younger readers of all ages, ranging from original board books up through realistic contemporary YA and beyond. 

Genres she’s looking for: Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Carolina Ortiz is an associate editor at HarperCollins Children’s. In her spare time, she is a Mentorship & Retention Co-Director at People of Color in Publishing and a Mentorship Co-Director at Latinx in Publishing. You can find her on Twitter at @pushthepanorama.

Genres she’s looking for:  Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, and Young Adult.

Alexa Pastor joined Simon & Schuster in August of 2014. Since that time, Alexa has edited rewarding stories across all age ranges, including #1 New York Times bestseller Five Feet Apart, HerStory (a PW 2018 Best of the Year pick), and projects from incredible authors including Ben Clanton, Kathleen Krull, Nikki Grimes, and Naomi Klein. She is acquiring picture books, middle grade, and YA that hug that literary/commercial line with fresh, honest voices that demand to be heard and a unique approach to structure or theme. She is not a great match for fantasy, historical fiction, or novels in verse. You can follow Alexa on Twitter @Alexa_Pastor926

Genres she’s looking for:  Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult.

Sarah Shumway is executive editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. She edits books for all ages, including the picture books How to be a Pirate by Isaac Fitzgerald and Brigette Barrager, A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule and Sara Palacios, Sloth Went by Adam Lehrhaupt and Benson Shum, and Amah Faraway by Margaret Chiu Greanias and Tracy Subisak; her fiction list includes middle grade by turns touching and humorous, like Ways to Make Sunshine by Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson, and lovely MG fantasy like the Unicorn Quest series by Kamilla Benko; her YA tastes tend to compelling concepts that ask big questions, like The Leaving by Tara Altebrando, and soapy, twisty contemporary stories like How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao and The Loophole by Naz Kutub. Sarah is excited to find more fresh-concept, charming, and resonant picture books, especially from author-illustrators; tender, touching, literary middle grade as well as more fun/funny voices; and YA fiction with thoughtful, deep themes, strong characters, and voice. Bonus points for subverting tropes or bringing a fresh perspective to the tried and true. And if it reads like a K- or C-drama, she’ll be hooked. Sarah is particularly interested in working with authors on books that show children and young people empathetic, inclusive, challenging, and empowering views of our world.

Genres she’s looking for:  Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Nick Thomas is a senior editor with Levine Querido. Previously, he was senior editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, where he started as an editorial assistant. He has also held positions with Bloomsbury, Chicken House, and David Fickling Books before returning to his AALB roots. He edits middle grade and young adult books and looks for stories that change something about you by the time you’re finished. Some of the books he has edited include Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera, and Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. 

Genre’s he’s looking for:  Middle Grade, Nonfiction, and Young Adult.

Stacey Whitman is the founder and publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books that publishes diverse middle grade and young adult novels, graphic novels, and nonfiction. Acclaimed authors Stacy has worked with include Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Axie Oh, Supriya Kelkar, Yamile Mendez, David Bowles, Joseph Bruchac, and Tony Medina. In 2013, Stacy founded the New Visions Award, which honors a new unpublished writer of color. She holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College. You can find her on Twitter at @stacylwhitman.

Genres she’s looking for:  Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, and Young Adult.

 

Agents

 

Kayla Cichello brings to Upstart Crow Literary nearly a decade of experience in children’s publishing. A former Conference Coordinator for the International Summer and Winter Conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she most recently logged several years as assistant to Senior Agent Jennifer Rofé at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She is open to a wide range of books, from picture books through young adult novels, and is especially keen to discover #Ownvoices stories and champion new creators of tomorrow’s classics. For picture books she is drawn to animal protagonists with humor and heart (think I Don’t Want to be a Frog by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt), and stories with an environmental hook. For Middle grade and YA, she loves dark humor, rich worldbuilding, well-crafted mysteries, and contemporary rom coms with a clever twist.

Genre’s she’s looking for: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, Picture Book and Young Adult.

Zabé Ellor (he/him) is the author of YA contemporary novels May the Best Man Win and Acting the Part, and the adult fantasy Silk Fire. He works as an associate literary agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, and is looking for YA, MG, graphic novel, and nonfiction submissions.

Genres he’s looking for: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction and Young Adult.

Karly Dizon is an associate agent at Fuse Literary Agency. She has a deep love for characters with a strong voice and seeks out stories she can get lost in. Diversity in genre fiction is a major bonus. She specializes in picture book, middle grade, and young adult genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary).

Genre’s she’s looking for: Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Adria Goetz is a senior literary agent with Seattle-based Martin Literary & Media Management. She specializes in picture books, middle grade, adult fiction, and graphic novels. She represents books for both the general market, and the Christian market. 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 2019 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, No Ordinary Thing by G.Z. Schmidt, and Halal Hot Dogs by Susannah Aziz. To learn more about Adria and what she is (and isn’t) looking for, check out her wish list at adriagoetz.com. She tweets at @adriamgoetz.

Genres she’s looking for: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, and Picture Book.

Hilary Harwell is an agent with the KT Literary Agency. As a proud member of the KT Literary family, Hilary represents children’s and young adult authors. Hilary is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she earned a degree in Anthropology. As an agent, Hilary partners with her growing list of clients to develop their projects in preparation for submission and strategizes to help them build long-term writing careers as published authors. She’s highly communicative, empathetic, and supportive as an agent–tailoring her approach to each client’s unique needs, acting as a strong advocate, and helping them navigate the business side of publishing their work.

Genres she’s looking for:  Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Picture Book and, Young Adult.

Ameerah Holliday is a dancer and self-proclaimed poetess from San Diego, California. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from San Diego State University. Holliday is a former editorial assistant intern for Poetry International, and reader for Full Circle Literary Agency. She currently serves as a Junior Agent for Serendipity Literary Agency, editorial director for the San Diego Poetry Annual, and assistant editor for Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual.

Genres she’s looking for: Middle Grade and Young Adult.

Lori Kilkelly is the owner of LK Literary Agency and is dedicated to managing the careers of children’s and YA authors and illustrators with excellence and transparency. After a number of successful years in advertising and sales, Lori aspired to combine her aptitudes in these areas with her passion for children’s literature. To that end, she attended the post-grad program, ‘The Denver Publishing Institute’ and subsequently spent nearly a decade at the boutique children’s lit agency Rodeen Literary Management. During her tenure there, Lori learned the business side of agenting, created a social media presence for RLM, developed client and editorial relationships, and eventually began representing her own team of creators. Her clients include talented, best-selling, and award-winning authors and illustrators, among them Stacy McAnulty, Sherri Duskey Rinker, and Vesper Stamper. Having worked independently for much of her career, she eventually set about opening her own shop, and in the fall of 2018, with the support of RLM, she announced LK Literary Agency, joined by all of her clients in her new endeavor. With 100+ books under contract and titles with all major trade publishers, she is dedicated to bringing meaningful, funny, informative, and moving children’s books to market.  www.lkliterary.com  @lkliterary (across social media) 

Genres she’s looking for: Chapter Book, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Natalie Lakosil is an agent at Irene Goodman Literary Agency. For over a decade, she has helped to launch and build the careers of award-winning and bestselling authors. Natalie’s specialties are all ages (PB, chapter book, MG, YA) of children’s literature (fiction and nonfiction), adult cozy mystery/crime, female-driven thrillers, and upmarket women’s/general fiction. She also represents illustrators and select adult nonfiction.

Genres she’s looking for:  Chapter Book, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

James McGowan is an associate agent at BookEnds Literary Agency. He works in picture book fiction and nonfiction, middle grade fiction and nonfiction, and adult fiction. More information can be found on the BookEnds submissions page, and you can query him here: http://QueryMe.Online/jmcgowan.  Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jmcgowanbks or Instagram at www.instagram.com/jmcgowanbks

Genres he’s looking for:  Chapter Book, Non-fiction, and Picture Book.

Alexandra Penfold is an agent with Upstart Crow Literary Agency.  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 the 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. She is also the New York Times best-selling author of All Are Welcome, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman.  Find her at www.alexpenfoldbooks.com

Genres she’s looking for: Chapter Book, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, and Picture Book.

Alexander Slater is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and has been with Trident Media Group since 2010, working as a literary assistant, foreign rights agent, and then literary agent. He represents a variety of the New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors, like Frederick Joseph, Keah Brown, J.W. Ocker, Jonathan Hill, and SWCBI Emerging Voices Award winner Anuradha D. Rajurkar, among many others.

Genres he’s looking for:  Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, and Young Adult.

Jennifer March Soloway is an associate agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She enjoys all genres and categories, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. She adores action-packed thrillers, psychological horror, and mysteries. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking fresh perspectives underrepresented in literature. To learn more about Jennifer, follow her on Twitter, @marchsoloway, and find her full wish list at www.andreabrownlit.com.

Genres she’s looking for:  Chapter Book, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Young Adult.

Kelly Sonnack is a senior literary agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, specializing in graphic novels, picture books, and artist management. As one of the top-selling agents for children’s graphic novels, she’s open to all ages and genres except horror. In picture books, Kelly looks for vivid voices. She selectively represents MG and YA; she’s most interested in books exploring gender diversity and novels-in-verse. In non-fiction, she is drawn to projects that inspire and fascinate young readers (and their grown-ups). 

Genres she’s looking for: Graphic Novel, Nonfiction, and Picture Book.

Saba Sulaiman is an agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She holds a BA in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies from Wellesley College and an MA from the University of Chicago, where she studied modern Persian literature. Being an immigrant who is constantly negotiating her own identity and sense of belonging in a place she now calls “home,” she is committed to championing books by writers from marginalized communities 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 in both fiction and nonfiction with veracity and heart.

Genres she’s looking for:  Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, Picture Book, and Young Adult.