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Only accepting queries from:

· middle-grade writers

· chapter-book series writers

· author-illustrators

· illustrators

*  If in addition to middle grade or chapter books you write in other categories, such as picture books or YA, you are welcome and encouraged to query.

Jennifer came to agenting via education, having been a middle-school teacher for five years. She joined ABLA in 2005 and has never left!

Middle grade has always been Jennifer’s soft spot and she's open to all genres in this category – literary, commercial, contemporary, magical, fantastical, historical, and everything in between. A common theme in the middle-grade books Jennifer represents is children finding their space in their world — especially strong-willed underdogs or quirky, misunderstood, or overlooked children who come into their strength. Overall, Jennifer seeks projects in which children will see themselves and feel understood, or they will see others and gain understanding, or they will experience a version of themselves that they wish they were, or they will experience something that they want only to experience through the safety of a book.

In authored-illustrated picture books, Jennifer seeks funny, character-driven stories; beautifully imagined and written stories; and milestone moments with a twist. The endings also elicit an emotional response – be it a guffaw, hurrah!, or a heart-tug.

In chapter books, Jennifer seeks commercial and action-packed series for emerging readers in the vein of The Princess in Black series and The Dragon Masters series.

In illustration, she seeks unique voices and perspectives that have a voice so strong that it’s immediately recognizable as belonging to the creator.

Author-illustrator Brett Bean's HONEY BUNNY AND MUK MUK MOOSE, an illustrated chapter book series about two forest friends who make whimsical inventions to help the forest—even if it takes a few times to get them right, to Alex Wolfe at Penguin Workshop, with Rob Valois editing.

Candice Bradley to illustrate BEFORE THE SHIPS (Maisha Oso), celebrating the achievements of Africans centuries before the transatlantic slave trade and how it speaks to the strength and resilience of modern-day Black Americans to Clarissa Wong at Scholastic.

Abigail Albano-Payton to illustrate TEACHER TO A MOVEMENT (Yvonne Clark-Rhines and Monica Clark-Robinson), about the life and work of civil rights activist, teacher, and trailblazer Septima Poinsette Clark, who championed literacy, voting rights, and equity for all, to Alexandra Cooper at Quill Tree.

Author-illustrator Maggie Edkins Willis's A FRIEND FOR GHOST, about a ghost who has always been too shy to say hello to his neighbors, but when a girl moves in next door who seems to love Halloween as much as he does, he decides to step out of his comfort zone and make a new friend, to Catherine Laudone at Paula Wiseman Books.

Sasha Mayer's SQUASH and SQUASH 2, featuring an unusual cat who has an up-and-down friendship with his person, to Maria Modugno at Random House Studio, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal.

Author-illustrator Joe Cepeda's SUMO LIBRE, the story of one boy who loves lucha libre and another who loves sumo wrestling, and how their disagreement about which is better leads the friends to create something unexpected and spectacular, to Nikki Garcia at Little, Brown Children's.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez's THE BLUEST SKY, in which a boy and his family make the difficult decision to try to leave Cuba during the Mariel Boat Lift in 1980—a decision with unintended and deadly consequences, to Nancy Siscoe at Knopf Children's.

Dev Petty and illustrator Mike Boldt's ELMORE THE CHRISTMAS MOOSE, the first holiday title from the comic team that created I DON'T WANT TO BE A FROG, in which a moose applies to be Santa's new reindeer, despite the facts that he can't fly and he's not a reindeer, to Frances Gilbert at Doubleday Children's.

Crystal Allen's BETWEEN TWO BROTHERS, about a 13-year-old boy who idolizes his older brother and dreads the day he'll leave for college, but when a catastrophic event changes the dynamics of their strong bond, he hatches a risky plot in an effort to heal their relationship, even if the attempt scars him, to Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins in a very nice deal.




Talking animals


Middle grade has always been my soft spot, and I’m open to all genres in this category. I would especially love to find a young series with a beloved character.
I long to have an emotional response to the end of a picture book—a guffaw, a hurrah! or a heart-tug.
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