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Art Director, Editor and Agent Faculty

ART DIRECTOR

SASHA ILLINGWORTH (ASSOCIATE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS). Sasha will be doing one-on-one critiques for illustration portfolios and book dummies.

Bio coming soon!

EDITORS

ERIKA DIPASQUALE (EDITOR, HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS). Erika will be doing one-on-one critiques for any kidlit project, including illustration portfolios.

Erika DiPasquale has worked at HarperCollins since 2017, first as a member of the adult foreign rights team and now as an Assistant Editor at Harper Children’s. She works on projects for all age ranges, from board book through YA, fiction and non-fiction. She’s excited about stories that tackle difficult topics in digestible ways as well as anything described as humorous, silly, quirky, clever, or unconventional. Erika also works on the Pete the Cat, Harold & the Purple Crayon, and If You Give A Mouse… programs and supports Nancy Inteli on her list, including the Food Group and Margaret Wise Brown programs.

KATIE HEIT (SENIOR EDITOR, SCHOLASTIC). Katie will be doing one-on-one critiques.

Katie Heit is a senior editor at Scholastic working on picture books and early readers. She primarily edits nonfiction, with select fiction titles. She works with many nonfiction authors, including Charles R. Smith Jr., Nell Cross Beckerman, Rekha S. Rajan, and many more!

LIZ KOSSNAR (SENIOR EDITOR, LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS). Liz will be doing one-on-one critiques for any kidlit project.

Liz Kossnar is a Senior Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and reads for picture book, middle grade, YA, and graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction—so nearly the full range of children’s books. But what piques Liz’s interest is a level of wit, subversion, and unexpected learning. For picture books, I love funny books about the quotidian or droll, elevated by cleverness. For novels, she connects best with those that have a strong footing in the contemporary space, even if set in a fantastical, futuristic, or speculative world. Overall, she’s excited by books that are commercial and hold some universal Truth. Liz is not a fan of sentimentality, animal stories, or romance.

ELIZABETH LAW (EDITOR, HOLIDAY HOUSE). Elizabeth will be doing on-the-spot critiques.

In college, Elizabeth Law dreamed of becoming a children's book editor, and so she moved to New York upon graduation and did just that. She worked at Viking Children's Books for 18 years, then Simon & Schuster and Egmont USA before holding her current position at Holiday House. Elizabeth has been tasked with acquiring contemporary middle grade and young adult fiction at Holiday House, including Polly Farquhar's Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream, and Dan Gutman's Houdini and Me, and she has also recently acquired a handful of picture books, including the forthcoming Giants Are Very Brave People by Florence Parry Heide and Merrill Rainey.  Elizabeth likes anything funny or scary, and picture books on unusual or interesting topics. Finally, she always has a soft spot for doll and dollhouse books.

SYDNEE MONDAY (ASSOCIATE EDITOR, KOKILA BOOKS/PENGUIN BOOKS). Sydnee will be doing one-on-one critiques for picture books, middle grade, young adult, and illustration portfolios. No graphic novels.

Sydnee Monday, Associate Editor, joined Kokila/Penguin Young Readers in May of 2018. Their growing list features children’s lit debuts from Keah Brown, Kiera Wright-Ruiz, Rinny Perkins, and more. Prior to Kokila, she worked at NPR, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, and Sankofa Bookstore in Washington, D.C. They're a graduate of Howard University.

TOVA SELTZER (EDITORIAL ASSISTANT, HOLIDAY HOUSE). Tova will be doing one-on-one critiques for picture books only.

Tova Seltzer is the editorial assistant to Neal Porter Books, an imprint of the boutique children’s publisher Holiday House. Since joining NPB in 2022, she has been honored to support the brilliance of acclaimed picture book creators like Jordan Scott, Sydney Smith, Nikki Grimes, Philip and Erin Stead, and many others; and equally honored to help introduce new and rising talents. She lives in Jersey City with her black cat Temerity.


AGENTS

HEATHER CASHMAN (AGENT, STORM LITERARY). Heather will be doing one-on-one critiques.

Heather Cashman has always devoured any book--fiction or nonfiction--that told a good story and introduced a new world, but she especially loves the ones that make her want to be the heroine of her own life. Her work in Biochemistry inspired her imagination for creating worlds. Writing for enjoyment turned into an interest in improving craft. After three years at The Bent Agency and Entangled Publishing, editing professionally, and being Managing Director of Pitch Wars, Heather is now a Senior Literary Agent and Agent Mentor at Storm Literary Agency. For all writing, Heather enjoys unique characters formed from their own experiences in a unique world. The characters need to feel real with a distinct voice from the first line. Thematic elements and strong character arcs are a must. She loves commercial fiction that has a literary flair and inclusive books that bring us together as citizens of the world. You can find out more about her at her website, heathercashman.com, or by listening to her Way-Word Writers podcast at way-wordwriters.com or on all major platforms.

SUSAN HAWK (AGENT, UPSTART CROW). Susan will be doing on-the-spot critiques for any kidlit projects.

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. She 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 Sarah Tolcser (MAJESTICA), Rachael Allen (DC Icons/RH, HARLEY QUINN series), and Autumn Krause (BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE).

SEAN MCCARTHY (AGENT, SEAN MCCARTHY LITERARY). Sean will be doing one-on-one critiques for any kidlit projects.

Sean McCarthy founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013 after working at Overlook Press and Sheldon Fogelman Agency. His clients include Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Dana Wulfekotte, Heather Ayris Burnell, Bob McMahon, Margaret Chiu Greanias, and Junghwa Park, 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. He is drawn to flawed, multifaceted characters with devastatingly concise writing in YA, and character-driven stories or smartly paced mysteries and adventures in MG. In picture books, he looks more for unforgettable characters, off-beat humor, and especially clever endings. He is not currently interested in message-driven writing or query letters that pose too many questions. You can find him at mccarthylit.com and on Bluesky (https://bsky.app/profile/mccarthylit.bsky.social), most likely complaining about the Mets.

CHARLIE OLSEN (AGENT, INKWELL MANAGEMENT). Charlie will be doing one-on-one critiques for any kidlit projects, especially graphic novels.

Charlie Olsen started his publishing career at InkWell in 2007 and works with award-winning writers and artists, including Morris Award-winner Jeff Zentner, National Book Award-winner Nate Powell, New York Times bestseller Jeff Lemire, and National Book Award finalist ND Stevenson; the McElroy Brothers and Carey Pietsch, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Nadia Shammas, Sara Alfageeh, and picture book author Gus Gordon; he also represents non-fiction—both illustrated and traditional prose—like The He-Man Effect by Brian Brown (First Second); and most recently a book by Paul Thomas Murphy about Whistler’s notorious defamation lawsuit against one of his critics, Falling Rocket (Pegasus).

RACHEL ORR (AGENT, PROSPECT AGENCY). Rachel will be doing on-the-spot critiques.

Rachel Orr is celebrating her fifteenth year at Prospect Agency, where she represents both authors and illustrators in projects ranging from picture books through YA. She previously worked for eight years at HarperCollins Children’s Books and uses those editorial skills to help prepare her clients’ work for submission. Her clients include Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Leeza Hernandez (Roxie Loves Adventure), Cathy Carr (365 Days to Alaska), Mike Ciccotello (Beach Toys vs. School Supplies), Barbara DiLorenzo (One Thursday Afternoon) and Jenn Harney (illustrator of Ame Dyckman’s How Dinosaurs Went Extinct: A Safety Guide). She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two children. You can follow her on Twitter @rachelprospect.