Wendy McClure, Editorial Manager
I love children’s books because the best ones stay with us and become part of our inner lives into adulthood. For picture books and board books, we’re known for special needs stories, and the ones I like best embrace diversity and promote empathy and awareness. I continue to look for nonfiction, especially story-based picture book biographies of women and people of color in the arts and sciences.
Please note that in my new position I’m not acquiring as many YA novels as I have in past years, and I encourage agents to look to the other talented editors here first. I will still consider the occasional young adult project, and am drawn to funny, voicey, and innovative stories, especially ones featuring protagonists who aren’t widely represented in the world of teen fiction. My tastes are similar for middle grade, and welcome historical fiction as long as it presents a fresh or unique perspective. I’m open to nonfiction MG and YA projects (such as memoir) as well, but please query or pitch first. I’m not the right editor for high fantasy. And, as always, no leprechauns, please.
Annie Nybo, Editor
I find myself drawn to literary books that teach me how to be a better human. Whether that’s through a touching love story, a tale of great sacrifice, or an inspirational biography, this is the defining characteristic of my middle grade and YA taste. I am also looking for clever picture books with a strong heart, own voices stories in any age range, inventive graphic novels, and narrative nonfiction. I’m not a great fit for commercial YA romance or hard scifi, and I am particularly drawn to contemporary novels, fantasy, historical fiction, and magical realism.
Eliza Swift, Editor
I’m always looking for laugh-out-loud comedy in all age ranges. For picture books, I love wacky stories with heart. In middle grade, I look for something a little more grounded, and love a strong voice. In YA, my comedic tastes lean toward sweet/earnest (think: WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI) rather than graphic or slapstick. For all ages, I’d particularly love to see works by authors who identify as being part of a marginalized community.
In YA, my tastes are expansive and I’m always looking for a fresh spin on a tried-and-true concept. I’m a fan of genre and speculative stories across a spectrum, and I always love a good rom-com. I’m not particularly interested in straight takes on historical fiction. Also, while I like stories that feels eerie and spooky, I’m not the right editor for ultra-scary or slasher horror.
Andrea Hall, Associate Editor
I’m currently seeking picture books with diverse or special needs topics, holiday stories (especially those underrepresented on the market), folktales, lighthearted stories with layers of meaning and an underlying message, and stories with historically relevant people or events that aren’t overdone.
In novels, I’m looking for authentic stories with an emotional core, memorable characters, and strong voice. I’m always looking for diverse stories and stories with tougher subject matter that’s tackled with heart and hope. I’m open to historical fiction, mystery, contemporary, contemporary fantasy, and magical realism.
Please do not send me gore or horror, but creepy is okay! I am also not the best fit for potty/bodily function humor.
Jonathan Westmark, Associate Editor
I’m looking for books that help readers better understand themselves and how they fit into the world. This can take the form of board books that introduce concepts to kids in innovative ways, picture books that sensitively tackle tough subjects without being didactic, picture books that highlight little-known or overlooked nonfiction topics, high-concept chapter books or novels that stretch readers’ imaginations, or character-driven novels with diverse characters and memorable voices.
Genre-wise, I’m a sucker for historical middle grade fiction, but I also enjoy realistic fiction, mysteries, adventures, sci-fi, and fantasy. I also look for stories about sports and those with wry humor. Young adult romances, not so much.