Only accepting queries from:
· middle-grade writers
· chapter-book series writers
* To clarify further, I am accepting queries only from those working in the listed categories. I am not currently accepting queries for picture book or YA texts. However, if you write in multiple spaces, please query for one of the listed categories and mention your other areas of interest.
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.
Newbery Medalist and 2023-2024 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Meg Medina's NO MORE SENORA MIMI, about a young girl who reconsiders her enthusiasm to move on from her neighbor and caregiver—and which offers a poignant salute to the caregivers who enter a child's tender world, illustrated by Brittany Cicchese, to Kate Fletcher at Candlewick, for the author and illustrator, in a six-figure deal.
Author-illustrator Eliza Wheeler's Cozy series, beginning with A COZY WINTER DAY, featuring a cast of animal characters enjoying the delights of a wintery day, to be followed by A COZY SUMMER DAY, to Nancy Paulsen at Nancy Paulsen Books, in a six-figure deal.
Author-illustrator Mike Boldt's CANTALOUPE AND HONEYDO RIDE A BIKE, in which the melons help each other learn how to cycle successfully, and CANTALOUPE AND HONEYDO BAKE A CAKE, in which the friends attempt to follow a recipe, to Jessica Garrison at Dial, in a six-figure deal.
Author-illustrator Brittany Cicchese's TINY WORLDS, about an introverted boy who shares with his extroverted grandmother the miniature wonders of the natural world, to Kate Fletcher at Candlewick, in a pre-empt.
Author-illustrator Joe Cepeda's THE BEST WORST CAMP-OUT EVER, an early reader about a boy and his father on their first camping trip together, and even though things don't go as planned, the adventure makes for the best worst camping trip ever, to Grace Maccarone at Holiday House, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal.
Author-illustrator Breanna Carzoo's THE SQUISH, about a sandcastle that tries to protect itself from being constantly knocked down by all of life's squishes until it discovers the value in resiliency, rebuilding, and reaching out to others, to Megan Ilnitzki at Harper Children's.
Author-illustrator of OLD ROCK (IS NOT BORING) Deb Pilutti's THE DINOSAUR IN THE GARDEN, narrated by a dinosaur who talks about living on the very land that is now a garden where a dinosaur-obsessed girl plays and explores, to Susan Kochan at Putnam Children's, in a pre-empt.
Author-illustrator Renée Kurilla's IT'S WINTER and IT'S SPRING, to follow IT'S FALL, humorous odes to the joys of the seasons—from snowball fights and holiday magic to blooming flowers and puddle-splashing, to Deirdre Jones at Little, Brown Children's.
Ishaa Lobo to illustrate BIGFOOT'S BIG HEART (Sarah Glenn Marsh), in which a lonely bigfoot, sad to always be hiding away in his cave, decides to write Valentine's Day letters to his equally lonely mythical friends hiding out all across the world–only to have the letters lost and then found by some unlikely new friends along the way, to Tamar Brazis and Meriam Metoui at Viking Children's.
Amber Ren to illustrate BECOMING BOBA (Joanna Ho), about the history of boba, cultural shifts through generations, and letting your true colors shine; exploring the common diasporic question, "What does it mean to be boba (or Asian) enough?", 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 BABY STEPS, a graphic novel about a 14-year-old whose life is thrown into chaos when her mother experiences a traumatic birth and postpartum depression, leaving the girl to care for the baby while her mother recuperates and her stepfather works, all of which alters her perspective on the real-life consequences of pregnancy and choice, to Connie Hsu at Roaring Brook Press.
THINGS I LOVE: