Prior to joining Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises as Agent, Books for Kids and Teens, Mary Cummings was Education Director at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis where she curated the annual Festival of Children’s Literature, and hired judges for the McKnight Award in Children’s Literature from among the nation’s top editors of children’s books.
She has sold picture books, chapter books and novels to such houses as Little, Brown; Random House Children's; Abrams; Walker; Knopf; Henry Holt; Running Press Kids; Imprint; Holiday House; FSG; Viking; Peter Pauper Press; Walker; and Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, among others.
Stories about times, people, and places underrepresented in children's and teen lit
Magic realism, and fantasy grounded in or related to the real world
Great read-aloud picture books
Stories about important, complex relationships
Historical fiction and narrative nonfiction
Work tied to school standards (tell me which) or geared to a specific audience
Biographies, especially in the arts and sciences (as picture books or longer works)
Lyrically written science, nature, mindfulness and social awareness topics
Stories about holidays, including those important to a minority community
Author-Illustrator picture books
Poetry collections (picture books)
Middle grade or YA written in multiple formats (poetry and prose; diary and text etc.)
Probably not a fit for me:
Rhyme for picture books in problematic (see my related article)
Meta-narrated picture books
YA stories with characters out of their teens
Zombies, vampires, etc.
Mean girl stories and school dramas
Abuse, murder, gore (which is not to say I totally shy away from darkness and danger!)