Bestselling Authors, Top Editors and Literary Agents
Andrea Brown is the President of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. Founded in New York City in 1981, it was the first literary agency to represent both children's book authors and illustrators. Prior to opening her own firm, Andrea was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, and worked in the editorial departments of Random House and Dell. In 1990, she moved her literary agency to Northern California. Andrea has published articles and published a chapter about the children's book field in The Portable Writer's Conference, published by Quill Driver Books. She has been quoted in the New York Post, CNN.com, Yahoo News, Forbes, Good Housekeeping and Reuters News Service.
Laura Rennert has been with the agency since 1998. She specializes in all categories of children's books, from picture books to YA. She also represents literary-commercial fiction, thrillers, and psychological suspense/horror on the adult side.
Laura gravitates toward the gorgeously written, the weirdly idiosyncratic, and the refreshingly unexpected. The common threads in the diverse range of projects Laura represents are conflicted, dynamic characters; a fresh, strong voice; an unusual point of view; and vivid world-building. She loves works that draw on literary traditions and re-imagines them as something completely, captivatingly new. She has a special fondness for books that play with commercial tropes, but give them surprising emotional depth.
Caryn has been an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2003, and she has sold almost 400 books. She handles children's books only: YA and middle grade fiction and nonfiction, chapter books, and fiction and nonfiction picture books. She represents NYT bestselling authors, award-winning authors, debut authors, and authors at every stage in between. No matter the genre, Caryn is looking for books with emotional depth and a strong voice; excellent writing in a tightly-plotted story; and characters that stick with her long after she has closed the book. In YA, she gravitates toward books that make her think, and toward books that make her cry; in middle grade and chapter books, laughter tends to be the common thread; in picture books, it's lyrical storytelling and heart. She loves books that are intellectually challenging and that take risks, but in a very logical way.
Kelly represents illustrators and writers for all age groups and formats within children's literature (picture books, middle grade, chapter book, YA, and graphic novels).
Right now in YA, Kelly is interested in finding a sophisticated novel that examines social issues in a fresh way, or something that taps into her sci-fi, magic and fantasy nerdiness. In MG, she tends toward emotional, family-centered stories. She likes unique, clever picture books with emotional layers that reflect the challenges and conflicts 0-7 year olds face even if told from the perspective of a family of robots or mice. Kelly is a passionate graphic novel fan and excited about taking on new graphic novel creators. She loves humorous and/or fantastical adventures for a juvenile audience or personal, layered stories for older teen audiences. While her bar is high for nonfiction, she's particularly interested in projects focused on minority historical figures. She is also always on the lookout for dynamic illustrators, whether they're writing their own books or interested in illustrating other people's.
Jennifer began her career in agenting after working as a long-time children's bookseller and buyer. She is also the founder of the extremely popular YA event series "Not Your Mother's Book Club." She joined the Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer adores simplicity, but she is not interested in the conventional, predictable, mechanical, gimmicky, or ordinary. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books...and her true favorites are all of the above.
Jamie Weiss Chilton
Jamie Weiss Chilton represents all categories of children’s books, specializing in novelty books, picture books, and YA novels. Special interests for novels include contemporary, thriller, science fiction, humor, horror, and memoir.
What Jamie looks for: INTENSITY across all genres. She's seeking manuscripts that stay with her. This could mean the sweet intensity of an "I love you" picture book, or the shocked intensity of a YA that explores an essential part of the teen experience in a way she's never considered. Unique viewpoints and new takes on perennial topics interest her. In the younger genres, she looks for the hook that will make a book a must-have parenting or educational resource.
Jennifer's background in children's book publishing includes five years reviewing children's literature at Booklist magazine, and five years as an editor at Dutton Children's Books.
In the picture book arena, Jennifer is interested in authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators who bring a distinctive, well-developed point of view to their work. She is particularly drawn to fiction in middle grade and YA, especially richly imagined fantasies that depart from typical quests (portals entered by protagonists who fulfill prophecies don't tend to be for her). The most dogeared books in her childhood library tended to be fantasy adventures, survival stories, and sprawling, atmospheric tales with Dickensian twists and satisfying puzzles. She gravitates to all of the above, but contemporary realistic fiction can work for her too, especially if it's voice-driven and carefully structured.
Jennifer represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and YA stories, and is actively building her list. Although she specializes in children’s literature, she also represents adult fiction, both literary and commercial, particularly crime, suspense, and horror projects.
For picture books, she is drawn to a wide range of stories from silly to sweet, but she always appreciates a strong dose of humor and some kind of surprise at the end. When it comes to middle grade, she likes all kinds of genres, including adventures, mysteries, spooky-but-not-too-scary ghost stories, humor, realistic contemporary, and fantasy.
Lara represents authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She has been with ABLA since 2010 and is also the agency's Digital Manager.
In picture books, Lara is actively seeking picture book author-illustrators who bring distinct perspectives to their work, particularly perspectives that are underrepresented in children's literature. She is drawn to bold and colorful art, a playful use of texture and media, and kid-appealing humor and heart. She is also on the hunt for narrative nonfiction and biographies that combine fascinating real-life stories with exceptional visual potential.
Kathleen joined the Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2016 after agenting for five years with the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She represents writers and illustrators for picture books (both fiction and nonfiction), middle grade, and YA.
When it comes to picture books, Kathleen loves to laugh, have her heartstrings pulled, and enjoys quirky, character-driven stories with heart. She would be happy to find more biographies and what some call “ficinformational” picture books (books with a fictional story that ties into the Common Core).
Jennifer represents projects ranging from picture books to YA. Middle grade is her soft spot and she's open to all genres in this category – literary, commercial, magical, fantastical, historical, contemporary, and everything in between. As for YA, Jennifer is drawn to stories that shed a unique light on the adolescent experience; funny, wistful, or cringe-worthy romance; and fantasy and urban fantasy with exceptionally developed worlds. In picture books, she likes funny, character-driven projects; beautifully imagined and written stories; and milestone moments with a twist. Overall, she seeks rich characters, masterful writing, distinct voices and perspectives, and stories that transport the reader.
Emma Ledbetter is Editorial Director of Picture Books at Abrams Books for Young Readers. She joined Abrams in 2018 following eight years at Simon & Schuster, and some other things before that, including a particularly delightful summer interning on SpongeBob SquarePants at Nickelodeon. She has worked with award-winning and bestselling authors and illustrators such as Tomie dePaola, Christian Robinson, Julie Fogliano, Loren Long, Jillian Tamaki, LeUyen Pham, Isabelle Arsenault, and Molly Idle, and is honored to have edited many acclaimed picture books including Christian Robinson’s author-illustrator debut, Another; Sergio Ruzzier’s wonderfully offbeat Good Boy; and Ida, Always by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso, which The New York Times called "an example of children's books at their best." She looks for a wide range of fresh, insightful, diverse picture books, and is especially fond of Edward Gorey, Ruth Krauss, and Frances the Badger. See some of the books she’s edited and books she loves at pinterest.com/emmaled; bonus points if you can decipher her Frances-related Twitter handle, @brdnjamforemma.
Melissa Manlove is a Senior Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 14 years. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 19 years of children’s bookselling experience.
Clarissa Wong is an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she works on picture books, novelty board books, and graphic novels. Books she has edited include Where Are You From? written by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Jaime Kim, Wheels on the Go novelty board book series by Lindsay Ward as well as the Eisner Award nominated and National Books Critics Choice Finalist The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. She’s also a mentor for People of Color in Publishing mentorship program.
Follow her on Twitter @Cwongggg
Eric J. Adams
Eric J. Adams is an award-winning author, feature film producer, and screenwriter. He co-produced and wrote the screenplay for the feature film Supremacy (2015), starring Danny Glover and Academy-Award-winner Mahersala Ali. He co-wrote and produced Harold Ramis' (Executive Producer) Archie's Final Project (aka My Suicide) (2010). The latter won 21 major international film festival awards including the prestigious Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Eric is currently bringing to the screen Mitali Perkins’ acclaimed middle-grade novel Rickshaw Girl, named as one of the best 100 children’s books in the last 100 years by The New York Library System. Eric is also the author of six books, including the therapeutic children’s book On The Day His Daddy Left, and the suspense/thrillers Birdland (Hodder & Stoughton) and Plot Twist (St. Martin’s Press). As a journalist, Eric has written for dozens of national and regional periodicals, including The New York Times, The
Los Angeles Times, Wired, and Salon.
Eric Elfman is the award-winning author of 14 books for kids and young adults, including the popular Accelerati trilogy from Disney-Hyperion Books: Tesla's Attic, Edison's Alley and Hawking's Hallway, which Eric co-wrote with Neal Shusterman. As a screenwriter, Eric wrote or co-wrote screenplays for Interscope, Dreamworks, Walden Media and Universal. Also a writing coach, Eric has been on the faculty of the Big Sur Writers Workshop for the past twelve years, and among his private clients are a number of award-winning and NY Times bestselling authors. He can be reached via his website: www.EricElfmanCoaching.com
Tim McCanna (timmcanna.com) is the author of several picture books including Bitty Bot; So Many Sounds; Barnyard Boogie!; Jack B. Ninja; Boing! A Very Noisy Abc; Bitty Bot's Big Beach Getaway (ALA/LITA 2019 Golden Duck Notable Picture Book); and Watersong (New York Public Library 2017 list of Best Books for Kids and NCTE 2017 Notable Poetry Book). As a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), he served as Assistant Regional Adviser for the San Francisco/South chapter for 5 years.