This entry is part 17 of 23 in the series Publishing Biz

If you want your book to be widely distributed, you need an agent. This is the current, very strong trend in children’s book publishing.

The year’s stats show that children’s book sales are up. Here is a list of the top 20 most successful literary agents for children’s books. According to Publisher’s Marketplace, these top 20 agents have together closed over 230 book deals this year (2015).

Here’s the list of top 20 children’s book agents 2015, starting with the year’s top closer.

top agents 2015

Artwork by Jonny Lindner.

Wherever and whenever possible, I’ve included details and additional links.

1. Kirsten Hall

Catbird Productions

Kirsten Hall is one of the most prolific writer-agents in the world. I would love to meet this gal. It’s very difficult to find out much about her, but you can check her Amazon Author page HERE.

2. Kelly Sonnack

Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Kelly is on the Advisory Board for UCSD’s certificate in Writing and Illustrating for Children, is a frequent speaker at conferences, including SCBWI’s national and regional conferences, and can be found talking about all things children’s books on Facebook (agentsonnack) and Twitter (@KSonnack).” – from the agency website.

Find out more HERE.

3. Holly McGhee

Pippin Properties

Ms. McGhee says, “I don’t read to be entertained—I read authors who require me to think, who make me laugh or cry, who help me understand the world and my emotions better. I don’t think about whether people in general will buy or read the book—I focus on how I feel—can I put it down, or not? I always figure that if I feel really strongly about a book, somebody else will too. Capture me with your voice—then take me on a journey.” – from the agency website.

To read more from the Writer Unboxed interview, go HERE.

4. Ammi-Joan Paquette

Erin Murphy Literary Agency

“Joan is a Senior Agent with EMLA, working from her home office in Massachusetts as the “East Coast branch” of the agency. She represents all forms of children’s and young adult literature, but is most excited by a strong lyrical voice, tight plotting with surprising twists and turns, and stories told with heart and resonance that will stand the test of time.” – from the agency website.

Find out more HERE.

5. Erin Murphy

Erin Murphy Literary Agency

“Erin represents writers and writer-illustrators of picture books, novels for middle-graders and young adults, and strong nonfiction. Her favorite reads feel timeless, have strong voices, and express unique creative visions. Because of her full client list, she rarely signs new writers or illustrators.” – from the agency website.

Find out more HERE.

6. Karen Grencik

Red Fox Literary

Karen says, “When you choose to write children’s books, it’s just that—it’s a choice. You do it because you love it. You do it because it fills you with passion. You do it because it brings you joy. You are among the lucky ones who live life with purpose. But you also must do everything you can possibly think of to achieve your goals. And you must be nice.” – from the agency website.

For more, go HERE.

7. Teresa Kietlinski

Prospect Agency

“Teresa writes poetry, has a fondness for cupcakes, and especially loves long boat rides on the lake with her husband and daughter. She reads five picture books a day—with no exceptions—and knows there is no greater joy then reading with her family. She is inspired by all that is wonderful, wacky and witty around her. To see some recent books that Teresa designed or art directed, click here.

“Teresa has a particular fondness for silly picture books that make her laugh out loud. As an agent, she is open to submissions from picture book artists ONLY and is particularly interested in artists with story ideas.” – from the agency website.

For more, go HERE.

8. Abigail Samoun

Red Fox Literary

“Abigail likes to organize her library according to which authors would get along well together (the Brontes next to George Elliot, Lois Lowry next to Margaret Atwood).” – from the agency website.

For more, go HERE.

9. Alexandra Penfold

Upstart Crow Literary

Find out more HERE.

10. Emily van Beek

Folio Literary Management

Ms. van Beek says, “I find it incredibly rewarding to work with new voices (and I’m thrilled to say that I’ve discovered several irresistible projects by debut authors and artists in the submissions pile). I’m also committed to helping established authors and artists continue to grow their careers. I am an “editorial” agent, in that I’ll work through as many drafts over the course of as many years as it takes to polish a manuscript I believe in to a high shine prior to submission. My goal is to build long-term relationships with authors and to help them publish books that will stand the test of time.” – from the agency website.

For more, go HERE.

11. Rebecca Sherman

Writers House. One of the largest literary agencies in the world.

Ms. Sherman specializes in picture books. For more, go HERE.

12. Rubin Pfeffer

Rubin Pfeffer Content

Rubin has found his passion in working closely with authors and illustrators, in strengthening and nurturing their work, and in helping writers and illustrators demonstrate their potential to publishers. RPC, founded at the start of 2014, is the exciting culmination of Rubin’s 40-year experience working in the book business.” – from the agency website.

For more, go HERE.

13. Lori Kilkelly

Rodeen Literary Management

Lori Kilkelly joined RLM in 2010, a year after president and founder Paul Rodeen (formerly with Sterling Lord Literistic) opened the agency in his hometown of Chicago. She began representing her own clients two and a half years ago and 2016 will see published 14 manuscripts she sold during that time to a diverse group of major publishers. She represents children’s literature from picture books to young adult novels, prefers fiction and likes humor as well as heartwarming (but not schmaltz). Lori works with career authors – writers who value craft and consider writing their life’s work. – emailed to me from Lori Kilkelly. (Thanks Lori!)

14. Kathleen Rushall

Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

For more, go HERE.

15. Rosemary Stimola

Stimola Literary Studio

For more, go HERE.

16. Stefanie Von Borstel

Full Circle Literary

“Children’s books she has represented have been awarded the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Best Picture Book, Pura Belpré Honors, The Christopher Award, NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor for Best Nonfiction, and the Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel. She is honored to work with Monica Brown, Sarah O’Leary Burningham, Toni Buzzeo, Diana López, Cindy Jenson-Elliott, Carmen Tafolla, and Jennifer Ward, to name a few. Some new releases include Toni Buzzzeo’s Whose Tools? board book series (Abrams), Monica Brown’s Lola Levine chapter book series (Little Brown) and Karen’s Benke’s Write Back Soon! Adventures in Letter Writing (Roost Books).” -from the agency website.

For more, go HERE.

17. Anna Olswanger

Olswanger Literary

For more, go HERE.

18. Steven Malk

Writers House

Steven Malk has a Twitter account HERE.

Mr. Malk says, “I want to represent books that make a difference in a kid’s life or even changes a life, because all of us in the business believe that books can change people’s lives. It’s an overwhelming, pretty amazing feeling.” – Books Make A Difference.

Read the Books Make A Difference interview. Good stuff.

19. Paul Rodeen

Rodeen Literary Management

“Rodeen Literary Management is actively seeking talented writers and illustrators of all genres of children’s literature including picture books, early readers, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction, graphic novels and comic books as well as young adult fiction and nonfiction.” – from the agency website.

For more, go HERE.

20. Caryn Wiseman

Andrea Brown Literary Agency

“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 story-telling and heart. She loves books that are intellectually challenging and that take risks, but in a very logical way.” -from the agency website.

For more on that, go HERE.

Keep creating, no matter what.


--Download Top 20 Children's Book Agents 2015 as PDF --

This entry is part of the series
Publishing Biz
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