Actively looking for: Diverse and marginalised authors across all ages and genres; child-centred Middle Grade; high concept YA; contemporary YA; books for the middle teen years; graphic artists and quirky illustrators.
Alongside my role as Rights Agent, I am also growing a Children’s & YA list. I’m looking for talent across all ages, from chapter books to Young Adult.
I think YA readers can handle more than we give them credit for and I would love to find something which talks to them as though they’re adults, not children. Something like The Hunger Games, for example. I particularly love high concept books in YA and would love to find more, though bear in mind YA is particularly tricky at the moment so something has to really stand out for me to be willing to take it on.
I’m also very keen on contemporary YA, particularly diverse romances and stories centered around teenage high stakes (The Party, That Guy etc.). If I can imagine it as a Netflix film, I’m here for it.
I would LOVE to find something for the clean teen market. Think Geek Girl meets Louise Rennison. Something for readers who are finished with MG but aren’t ready for YA.
In Middle Grade, I’m looking for child-centered stories. Too often I find MG books are trying to be too old and clever, and I worry it’s not for a child. I want fun, fantastical, spooky, chilling, cute, hilarious and everything in between, but very much for children aged 8-12.
For illustrations, I’d love to see something a little different. My favourite styles are usually graphic and quirky. I’m not necessarily looking for author/illustrators, so don’t worry if you’re not a writer. I’m not looking for picture book texts at the moment.
I’m also very keen to find more graphic novels. Think Spinning, Bloom, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me… You don’t have to be both the writer and the artist. I will look at scripts and/or artwork separately!
Across all ages, I’m looking to champion diverse and marginalised storytellers. I really want help to normalise these voices appearing in the Children’s & YA markets, and I don’t necessarily want issue books (though am open to them). You don’t have to share your pain for me to consider your book. I want diverse and marginalised storytellers to be able to tell whatever story they want, be that fantasy, romance, comedy, issue based or something else.
Things I’m not good for include high fantasy (it needs to be set in a recognisable world for me to be able to work with it), verse novels, gross out, horror and most themes of suicide and self-harm. If you are submitting a book with themes of suicide and/or self-harm, please let me know in your query letter.
Ten of my favourite recent children’s and YA books
THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas
PATRON SAINTS OF NOTHING by Randy Ribay
SLAY by Brittney Morris
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by Emily M. Danforth
UNPREGNANT by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
THE HOUSE WITH CHICKEN LEGS by Sophie Anderson
AMELIA FANG series by Laura Ellen Anderson
THE STORM KEEPER’S ISLAND by Catherine Doyle
THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS by Onjali Rauf
THE ISLAND AT THE END OF EVERYTHING by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Ten of my favourite picture books / illustrators
IT’S A BOOK by Lane Smith
HOW TO HIDE A LION by Helen Stephens
THE BEAR AND THE PIANO by David Litchfield
STUCK by Oliver Jeffers
RAIN by Sam Usher
SMELLY LOUIE by Catherine Rayner
THE KING OF SPACE by Jonny Duddle