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Blog > Understanding Publishing – Posted on Jul 21, 2020

Top Children's Book Agents Accepting Submissions in 2021

Behind every great children's book is a brilliant, creative author — but behind them, propping up the entire operation, is a savvy, well-connected agent! So if you've written an amazing kids' book but you're not sure how to proceed, querying a few children's book agents is a great way to go.

Of course, it can be challenging to know which agents to target, or where to even find them in the first place. That's why we've compiled this list of 34 children's book agents who represent everything from picture books to YA graphic novels, so you can easily find the perfect rep for your work!

These agents are listed alphabetically by last name, but feel free to search for your category or genre (e.g., “middle grade” or “SFF”) to discover who's seeking titles like yours. Finally, remember to pace yourself — don't mass-email all these agents at once, and try to avoid reaching out to multiple people at the same agency, unless your first contact has already passed. With all that in mind, best of luck and happy querying! 📬

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Children's Book Agents (A-M)

1. Stephen Barr

💼  Agency: Writers House
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: intricately woven, emotionally resonant YA and MG; memorable picture books from adventurous author-illustrators

Stephen Barr has been with renowned literary agency Writers House for over a decade now, and he’s racked up dozens of award-winning clients in that time. These include Emily Hughes, author-illustrator of the picture book Wild, and John Corey Whaley, known for the acclaimed YA novels Noggin and Where Things Come Back. Barr describes his literary taste as “omnivorous” but does mention a soft spot for unrequited love stories in YA, as well as MG tackling heavy themes “with a light, optimistic, eccentric touch” in the vein of Stargirl and Wonder.

2. Michael Bourret

💼  Agency: Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult, graphic novels
👀  Currently seeking: unconventional MG fiction and nonfiction; distinctively styled graphic novels for children of all ages

One of the leading agents at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, Michael Bourret specializes in middle-grade fiction and hopes to diversify the genre, one label-defying work at a time. “I'm looking for the offbeat, quirky, original voices that aren't easily categorized,” he says. He also notes his interest in books that deal with issues of poverty and class. Finally, he claims to be on an eternal quest for a great YA western — so if you’ve got an Eastwood-esque teen protagonist on your hands, Bourret is the agent for you.

3. Danielle Burby

💼  Agency: Nelson Literary Agency
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: MG and YA stories with complex female characters and dramatic elements; high-concept plots and nuanced prose

Children’s agent Danielle Burby has a profound appreciation for books that “sweep [her] up in their writing” and involve a vibrant cast that she “wants to spend more time with (which doesn’t necessarily mean likable!)”. Though she represents MG and YA of all genres, she’s especially drawn to magical realism, young adult thrillers, and complicated family dynamics à la Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. She’s also intrigued by social justice themes and own-voices MG and YA, with a special interest in LGBTQ+ stories.

4. Patrice Caldwell

💼  Agency: Morhaim Literary
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: MG science fiction & fantasy; YA horror and other darkly themed works

A former editor at Scholastic and Disney-Hyperion, Patrice Caldwell has a finely honed sense of what young readers want. She’s always on the lookout for “high-concept YA” and “MG projects with an amazing hook,” especially in SFF — some of her recent favorites are The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta and Wilder Girls by Rory Powers. She loves magical heist YA, wants to see more space and cyberpunk sci-fi, and prioritizes diversity in her represented works: “I’d love to see and champion more intersectional coming-out stories,” Caldwell says.

5. Jemiscoe Chambers-Black

💼  Agency: Andrea Brown
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: contemporary MG that weaves in humor, whimsy, and wonder; YA romance, especially romantic comedies

Jemiscoe Chambers-Black is now building her client list at Andrea Brown and excited to take on new prospects. She’s interested in realistic, contemporary MG told in a compelling voice, though she’s also open to “paranormal, low fantasy, and magical realism” and exceptional works in other genres. When it comes to YA, she’d love to see the next romance blockbuster, ideally in the form of a rom-com! Because Chambers-Black hopes to represent a wide range of voices as she develops her list, she’s especially receptive to BIPOC and LGBTQ stories.

6. Sara Crowe

💼  Agency: Pippin Properties
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels
👀  Currently seeking: multifaceted author-illustrators; creative nonfiction for MG and YA readers

A senior agent at Pippin Properties, Sara Crowe has helped launch the careers of such accomplished authors as Erin Entrada Kelly and Nina Lacour (winners of the 2018 Newbery and Printz awards, respectively). According to Crowe’s website, she “loves finding new talent and nurturing and developing careers” — so debut authors, listen up! She is particularly interested in writers who produce their own visuals, i.e., author-illustrators and graphic novelists. Still, she’s also looking for general nonfiction MG and YA, especially from BIPOC creators.

7. John Cusick

💼  Agency: Folio Literary Management
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: exciting new voices in MG and YA; sci-fi, fantasy, and genre fiction from under-represented groups

Though he’s not to be confused with the eighties teen icon, John Cusick has represented several iconic clients! These include Julie Murphy, author of the NYT bestseller Dumplin' (since adapted into a Netflix film starring Jennifer Aniston), and Hafsah Faizal, author of We Hunt the Flame. Today, Cusick is seeking unique and impactful voices in all genres of MG and YA, with an emphasis on proactive protagonists and passionate prose. “I want stories that move readers,” Cusick says. “Moments that make me look up and say ‘Wow, yes. I’ve felt that.’”

8. Jessica Errera

💼  Agency: Jane Rotrosen
📚 Represents: young adult
👀  Currently seeking: diverse, adventurous, imaginative YA; snappy stories with great hooks that can be read in a single sitting

Jessica Errera represents many adult genres at the Jane Rotrosen Agency, but she’s carved out a solid niche in YA as well. She craves exciting plots delivered via unusual methods: “I love anything with lists, letters, texts, and other media embedded into the story, or subplots that weave together in unexpected but seamless ways.” In terms of subject matter, Errera has a penchant for family stories, stories involving food or travel, and vibrant retellings of well-known tales.

9. Alice Fugate

💼  Agency: Trident Media Group
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult, select picture books
👀  Currently seeking: witty, whimsical MG and YA; works full of fantastical elements, but with messages that tie to the real world

An associate literary agent at Trident, Alice Fugate is building a client list composed mostly of MG and YA, as well as a few author-illustrator projects. Fugate is drawn to stories that have “a classic but fresh feel,” as well as those with “distinctive, surprising voices from diverse backgrounds.” She admires revolutionary children’s storytellers like C.S. Lewis and Hayao Miyazaki, and enjoys animal fables, fairy tale retellings, and thought-provoking stories of all kinds.

10. Wendi Gu

💼  Agency: Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: picture books with cute, quirky characters; voice-driven MG and YA that feel “classic” in their thoughtful narration and meaningful subject matter

Wendi Gu represents a variety of children’s literature for Greenburger Associates, from board books to YA novels. She appreciates poetic storytelling elements such as “lyricism at the line level [and] sophisticated rhythm.” But it’s not just about style for Gu — she’s also a curator of serious subjects, with a focus on family stories and narratives related to mental health, trauma, and displacement. She’s extremely interested in stories about the first-generation American experience, and says she has a soft spot for “any book that makes you want to hug someone.”

11. Jordan Hamessly

💼  Agency: New Leaf Literary
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: contemporary, heartfelt MG and YA; nonfiction picture books with a STEM focus

After nearly ten years working as an editor, Jordan Hamessly made the switch to championing new authors as an industry-savvy literary agent! Her genre preferences lean toward sci-fi and horror, and she names Stephen King and Shirley Jackson among her favorite authors — though she also holds “a deep affection for contemporary middle grade and YA with heart and humor.” These days, Hamessly is on the lookout for stories that “bring the queer experience to the children’s space, across all ages.”

12. Elizabeth Harding

💼  Agency: Curtis Brown, Ltd.
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: children’s fiction and nonfiction for young readers of all ages; bold picture books that are classics in the making

As vice president of Curtis Brown, Ltd. (now over a century old!), Elizabeth Harding is one of the most reputable children’s book agents around. She takes on picture books, MG, and YA of all stripes. However, as a veteran agent with so many award-winners on her list, Harding is also reasonably selective with new clients. Ambitious authors should note her fondness for informative, engaging picture and chapter books, such as the How Do Dinosaurs? series by Jane Yolen and the historical fiction novels of Karen Cushman, both of whom Harding represents.

13. Brianne Johnson

💼  Agency: Writers House
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult, select picture books
👀  Currently seeking: funny, exciting, intensely creative MG and YA; lively, humorous picture books with series potential

In her thirteen years at Writers House, Brianne Johnson has built what she calls a “boundary-pushing, empathy-building” list of children’s books. Her favorite authors are a combination of “dark/crass/wacky/hilarious,” ranging from Roald Dahl to Francesca Lia Block, and her sundry collection of clients reflects that. These days, Johnson is especially interested in taking on more diverse YA books with social justice themes. In her own words, “bring on the queer, the under-represented, the hot-button reproductive rights, and feminist stories!”

14. Maggie Kane

💼  Agency: Irene Goodman
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: character-driven MG and YA, especially involving complex female characters; stories with elements of dark humor and/or the macabre

A relatively new rep in the children’s lit scene, Maggie Kane is still building a cohesive list of twisty, suspenseful titles. Her passions include elegantly crafted thrillers, folklore-drenched historical fiction, Black Mirror-esque sci-fi, and anything else that you might label “beach reading with bite.” Kane requests dark tales of female friendship and experience, as well as villains “you love to hate” forming mesmerizing relationships with their heroic counterparts (think Gone Girl and Killing Eve).

15. Hannah Mann

💼  Agency: Writers House
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, select young adult
👀  Currently seeking: picture books and MG featuring distinctive voices; stories with flawed characters, family dynamics, and unusual settings

A Writers House agent since 2013, Hannah Mann gravitates toward dreamy, pastel-colored picture books, MG graphic novels, and any kids' book with a memorable message. Her recent titles include Baby Feminists by Libby Babbott-Klein, and I Miss My Grandpa by Jin Xiaojing (which boasts one of our favorite children’s book covers of 2019!). Mann is open to picture books, MG, and the occasional YA novel, and she especially enjoys mysteries and layered, dynamic characters. At the end of the day, though, she notes that when it comes to good children’s lit, “voice is almost everything.”

16. Jennifer Mattson

💼  Agency: Andrea Brown
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult, select picture books
👀  Currently seeking: MG about resilient kids in tough situations; richly imagined, mind-bending fantasy in MG and YA; “slam-dunk” picture books

Jennifer Mattson has spent her entire career working in children’s publishing and has been an agent at Andrea Brown for over a decade now. She has a clear-cut sense of what she likes to represent — chiefly “fantasy adventures, survival stories, and sprawling, atmospheric tales with Dickensian twists.” In terms of picture books, she’s looking for carefully developed POVs and classic-feeling themes, recalling  “the childhood emotional truths of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona” and “the cozy lap-sharing perfection of Emily Jenkins’ What Happens on Wednesdays.”

17. Holly McGhee

💼  Agency: Pippin Properties
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels
👀  Currently seeking: profound and moving MG and YA, especially graphic novels; picture books with relatable characters and evocative illustrations

The founder and president of Pippin Properties, Holly McGhee has a deep passion (and stellar reputation) for bringing great children’s fiction to light. In her 20-year career, she’s represented iconic clients like Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux) and Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin (the author-illustrator team behind Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type). McGhee is always in search of more children’s books that will “make a difference in the world,” emphasizing the importance of powerful messaging, no matter how young the target audience.

18. Andrea Morrison

💼  Agency: Writers House
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: quirky picture books filled with heart; MG about friendships, family, and adventure; complex characters in all genres of YA

The agent behind modern illustrated delights like Thread of Love and I Feel Teal, Andrea Morrison has a soft spot for colorful picture books, but she represents MG and YA as well. Voice and character development are crucial for her, and she especially loves YA that “reflects the realities of being a teen in our world” and MG that shows the “intricacies of [friend] and family relationships.” She needs truth in every story but doesn’t mind if it’s told in an unconventional or even fantastical way, as when “magical elements reveal truths” about the real world.

Children's Book Agents (N-Z)

19. Elana Roth Parker

💼  Agency: Laura Dail
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels
👀  Currently seeking: funny MG adventure series with a grand scope; light, happy YA

Elana Roth Parker is a jack-of-all-trades agent at Laura Dail, representing everything from whimsical picture books to intricate graphic novels. Parker calls her taste “commercial-leaning” but not necessarily trend-based, saying that her favorite books “lie at the intersection of timely and fresh.” She isn’t genre-picky and is always on the lookout for imaginative, escapist works in MG and YA. That said, she doesn’t want anything too dark: “I read to escape, not to get punched in the face.”

20. Zoë Plant

💼  Agency: The Bent Agency
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: heartfelt MG with an unusual voice/setting; YA fantasy and suspense

Zoë Plant’s proclivities lie on the shadowy side for a children’s agent. “I’m not afraid of a little darkness,” she says — though she acknowledges that, for MG, in particular, she prefers books with “a spark of joy to temper it.” Given the saturation of the SFF market, Plant is currently on the hunt for YA and MG that present fantasy and sci-fi a little bit differently. She’s always open to SFF stories “with a spooky edge” (and bonus points if there’s a social message à la Get Out).

21. Tanusri Prasanna

💼  Agency: Foundry
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: wry, meaningful picture books; literary yet captivating MG; ambitious, thoughtful YA across genres

Having begun her career as an advocate for human rights and under-represented groups, Tanusri Prasanna is very passionate about diverse perspectives in children’s lit. To that end, she accepts a wide variety of clients but insists on nuanced characters and intricate stories even in her picture book titles. However, she’s not an uncompromising realist and holds a deep appreciation for “fantasies that transport her into a different world” — especially those based on mythology from different cultures (think Leigh Bardugo and Nnedi Okorafor).

22. Allison Remcheck

💼  Agency: Stimola Literary Studio
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult, select picture books
👀  Currently seeking: fantasy, suspense, and contemporary/realistic MG and YA; fresh voices and powerful stories that often go untold

For Allison Remcheck, children’s books have been a lifelong love — a love that drove her to become an ambitious associate agent at Stimola Literary Studio. She intends to make her mark in the MG and YA spaces, seeking low fantasy with series potential, mystery and thriller books, and contemporary romance and coming-of-age “with a focus on current issues and diversity without being didactic.” Remcheck believes there’s nothing better than getting the perfect book into each young reader’s hand and hopes to nurture her clients’ titles to help them do just that.

23. Laura Rennert

💼  Agency: Andrea Brown
📚 Represents: young adult, select middle grade and picture books
👀  Currently seeking: feminist and multiculturally inspired YA; emotional and idiosyncratic plots that unfold in breathtaking prose

Executive agent Laura Rennert is one of the top representatives at Andrea Brown, with bestselling YA clients such as Maggie Stiefvater and Ellen Hopkins. Rennert describes herself as “drawn to narrative risk-takers,” which won’t surprise anyone familiar with her authors’ works — according to her, she can’t get enough of the “refreshingly unexpected.” She does have a few specific subjects she enjoys. Still, she’ll consider any emotionally gripping story told in an unorthodox way, naming Mitali Perkins’ You Bring the Distant Near as a quintessential example.

24. Quressa Robinson

💼  Agency: Nelson Literary Agency
📚 Represents: middle grade young adult
👀  Currently seeking: cute, quirky, charming MG; contemporary, historical, sci-fi, and fantasy YA; diverse protagonists, happy endings

Quressa Robinson is one of those agents who will go above and beyond for the clients she loves. “When I find a great book, I get very invested,” she says. “The story becomes a treasured member of my family. It owns my heart.” To gain this devotion, you’ll need an MG or YA story with a literary yet commercially appealing feel, fully realized characters, and a sophisticated narrative approach. For Robinson, genre isn’t nearly as important as technique; that said, she does have a taste for culturally inspired fantasy. “If your story [features] fairies and warrior princesses with afros [or] inspired by an Asian or Latinx culture — then we are definitely a match.”

25. Jennifer Rofé

💼  Agency: Andrea Brown
📚 Represents: middle grade, select picture books, and young adult
👀  Currently seeking: MG in all genres; YA that uniquely portrays the adolescent experience; beautifully rendered, character-driven picture books

Another senior agent at Andrea Brown, Jennifer Rofé’s unequivocal niche is MG fiction. Realistic, fantastical, contemporary, historical: she reps it all, so long as it’s got a distinctive voice and a cast of richly developed characters. However, she’s also interested in YA and picture books, and she’s especially keen on acquiring more author-illustrators with strong artistic voices. Rofé is most inclined toward stories that provoke strong emotions (whether because they’re “funny, wistful, or cringe-worthy”) and stories that contain “milestone moments with a twist.”

26. John Rudolph

💼  Agency: Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult, select picture books
👀  Currently seeking: authentic-sounding MG and YA; conceptually intriguing stories; low fantasy

Having spent twelve years as an acquiring children’s editor, John Rudolph knows precisely what makes young readers tick. Today, he helps MG and YA authors reach them as an agent at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret! Rudolph mainly represents realistic, contemporary authors, though he also “love[s] a good ‘what-if’ scenario” in a story. More than anything else, he’s on the lookout for authentic voices and rousing plotlines in YA. At a younger level, he’d love to see “the next great illustrator who can also write.”

27. Jessica Saint Jean

💼  Agency: Jill Grinberg
📚 Represents: picture books, graphic novels
👀  Currently seeking: talented author-illustrators of all stripes

Jessica Saint Jean is perhaps the most newly minted children’s book agent on this list, having joined Jill Grinberg in 2020 to begin her search for top-notch author-illustrators. She’s currently looking for visual storytellers only, though she’ll accept titles ranging from board books to YA graphic novels. If you can sketch, draw, color, or paint, Saint Jean could be the agent for you! She’s particularly drawn to “strong narratives with memorable characters, surprise endings, stories with humor and heart, [and] stories from which she learns something new.”

28. Alec Shane

💼  Agency: Writers House
📚 Represents: middle grade, graphic novels, select young adult
👀  Currently seeking: MG adventure series, ghost stories, and comedies

Another zeitgeist-making children’s representative, Alec Shane is the former assistant to Jodi Reamer (the agent behind Twilight and The Fault In Our Stars) and is now striking out on his own! He’s seeking a range of MG and YA fiction and says that “getting boys to read again” is one of his primary goals. Consequently, he welcomes queries from authors of MG adventure series, mysteries, and “anything else geared toward young male readers.” If your book is the next Percy Jackson or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, give Shane a shot!

29. Rebecca Sherman

💼  Agency: Writers House
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: “instant classic” middle grade; contemporary YA with something to say; hilarious, character-driven picture books

Another longtime agent at the esteemed Writers House, Rebecca Sherman is looking for “stories that meet kids where they are (not talk down to them or go over their heads), and that can genuinely get them laughing.” MG is her true passion — especially fresh retellings and inventive folklore — but she also enjoys contemporary, eloquent YA and funny, re-readable picture books. Indeed, Sherman is “very much looking for highly illustrated work” — so if you’re an MG author-illustrator, this could be your lucky day!

30. Kelly Sonnack

💼  Agency: Andrea Brown
📚 Represents: graphic novels, picture books, select non-graphic works
👀  Currently seeking: MG and YA graphic novels; new work from author-illustrators; novels in verse

As Andrea Brown’s resident graphic novel representative, Kelly Sonnack is continuously on the hunt for brilliant new author-illustrators in MG and YA — though she also accepts picture book queries and the occasional novel in verse. Sonnack is a patron of the inventive and evocative, seeking stories that effectively convey “unique, memorable main characters who face (and overcome!) childhood challenges in engaging, surprising ways.” With that in mind, she’s also a strictly visual arts-focused agent, so non-illustrators may want to try their luck elsewhere.

31. Laurel Symonds

💼  Agency: The Bent Agency
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels
👀  Currently seeking: literary yet illustration-friendly MG; commercial YA; picture books and graphic novels with a singular vision

A jack of all trades at the Bent Agency, Laurel Symonds is interested in both realistic and SFF MG and YA. In terms of the latter, Symonds is especially intrigued by “fantasy with a twist.” However, she’ll gladly accept anything with an “engaging voice, commercial hook, and immersive world.” When it comes to visual stories, she has wide-ranging tastes, asking only that color and perspective be used in a thoughtful, compelling way.

32. Emily van Been

💼  Agency: Folio Literary Management
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult, select picture books
👀  Currently seeking: epic, unexpected, conceptually unparalleled MG and YA; emotional stories that resonate with adolescent readers

Emily van Been is a partner at Folio and a premier children’s book agent, representing phenomenal authors like Jenny Han, Lois Lowry, and Tamora Pierce. But don’t let her top-shelf clients deter you — van Been is still building her list, and she’s actively in search of “stellar, fun, expansive, bright, fantastical, joyful, adventurous middle grade.” She wants works that are enthralling and “impossible to put aside,” with bonus points awarded for spot-on humor (she cites Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging as an example) and mischievous escapism.

33. Jackie Williams

💼  Agency: Knight Agency
📚 Represents: middle grade, young adult
👀  Currently seeking: science fiction, fantasy, and horror in MG and YA; literary fiction with a commercial appeal

Associate agent Jackie Williams can serve all your science fiction and fantasy needs, with a particular penchant for geeky, nostalgic sci-fi à la Ready Player One. She’s also interested in mysteries, thrillers, and suspense in MG and YA. When it comes to characters, she values “smart female protagonists and/or unreliable narrators,” in the vein of Gillian Flynn. Williams may also accept some realistic contemporary works (especially those with a focus on athletics), but SFF authors should definitely take note that she’s currently open to queries.

34. Michaela Whatnall

💼  Agency: Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
📚 Represents: picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels
👀  Currently seeking: SFF in all categories; sibling stories and other character-driven works

Finally, we have Michaela Whatnall, who reps everything from picture books to YA. She loves intricately world-built science fiction and fantasy, and is partial to strong characters who lead the story by their chins. Whatnall is specifically interested in relatable “sibling stories” (think Caraval or From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler). Most of all, however, she simply yearns to get books into readers’ hands — which is why she never stops searching for her next favorite read.

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