Jonathan Westmark, Editor

Jonathan Westmark, Editor

I’m looking to create books that affirm and expand readers’ understanding of themselves and the many ways in which they can fit into the world. And I’m looking for authors and illustrators who represent the diversity of our population.

With picture books, I tend to be drawn to those that shed light on underrepresented perspectives, approach STEM topics in an entertaining and accessible way, activate a child’s sense of wonder, use quirkiness or humor to deliver a light message, or take on a tough subject while leading with a strong story. As for early readers and chapter books, I’m looking for well-defined characters, a strong, contemporary hook (particularly in CBs), and voicey writing.

In middle grade, I’m mostly looking for realistic contemporary with trade and library appeal. But I do love historical fiction that clearly bears on the present and am open to light sci-fi, low fantasy, mystery, and adventure that feels relevant and is clearly doing something. With YA, I’m a sucker for great world building or a rich interplay with history, depending on the genre. I’d also love to see YA that brings in real-life science in a fun and accessible way.

Picture books that are 100% sweet aren’t right for me. Neither, likely, are those with more than 9 exclamations.