SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Critique-a-Palooza

Date/Time
Date(s) - 05/02/2022 - 06/10/2022
12:00 am

Category(ies)



May 2nd – June 10th, 2022

The online event formerly known as The Great Critique is now Critique-a-Palooza! Sign up for a professional written critique from a kidlit agent, editor, or art director this May. Not only will you receive personalized feedback on your manuscripts or illustrations from experts in the field, you’ll also get the chance to directly query all twelve participating faculty members when the event concludes. 

Every year, this event results in at least a handful of requests for full manuscripts, writers signing with agents, and even eventual publishing contracts! We can’t wait to hear what opportunities arise for this year’s participants.

 

*UPDATE* This event has fully sold out. To get on our waiting list, click here.

 

Early registration: opens Wednesday, March 23rd at 10:00 a.m. MST
*for current members of the Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI region only, who will receive an Event Password by email

 

Regular registration: opens Wednesday, March 30th at 10:00 a.m. MST
*
for everyone, including non-members and those living outside the region, no password required

 

Note: There will be no peer critique portion of the event this year.

 

How it Works
Scroll to the bottom of this page to register for up to three (3) professional written critiques from our fantastic lineup of agents, art directors, and editors—$55 per critique for members, $75 for non-members.

Manuscripts are due to our manuscript coordinator May 2nd, and you’ll receive your written critique(s) back by June 10th.

Then, for a limited time after the event, all twelve of our incredible Critique-a-Palooza faculty will open their inboxes to queries from all participants. Submission guidelines will be emailed out after all manuscripts have been returned in June.

This event always sells out, so reserve your favorite faculty without delay.

 

AGENTS

Adria Goetz, Literary Agent—P.S. Literary
Critiquing: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Illustrator portfolios

Adria Goetz is a senior literary agent with P.S. Literary Agency. She represents picture books, middle grade, adult fiction, and graphic novels. She represents books for both the general market, and the Christian market. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in English with a Creative Writing emphasis, as well as the Columbia Publishing Course. In 2019, she was selected as a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She was recently proud to represent THE OCEAN CALLS by Tina Cho, which received four starred reviews and was optioned for an animated special with 9Story Media, and THE WHATIFS by Emily Kilgore which made the shortlist for Barnes & Noble’s 2020 Best Picture Book Award. She was also proud to represent THE UGLY DOODLES by Valeria Wicker, NO ORDINARY THING by G.Z. Schmidt, BATTER ROYALE by Leisl Adams, and LOU by Breanna Carzoo. Adria lives in an old Victorian farmhouse with her husband Alex and their two darling cats, Maple and Mulberry. To learn more about Adria and what she is (and isn’t) looking for, check out her detailed wish list at adriagoetz.com. You can find her on Twitter at @adriamgoetz and on Instagram at @adriagoetz.

Adria’s Editorial Interests
I am currently looking for picture books, middle grade fiction, and graphic novels. In the picture book space, I am particularly looking for author-illustrators. I love magical picture books, heart-driven stories, family narratives, and funny, commercial-feeling stories. In middle grade, I’m looking for a strong voice and good hook. In the graphic novel space, I am open to a wide range of genres and illustration styles, from quiet contemporary to historical fiction to fantasy. My goal is to represent books that kids really love and want to read over and over again.

*Note: Adria was with Martin Literary Management when this event was first advertised. She has since switched agencies, but her editorial interests remain the same.

 

 

Rachel Orr, Literary Agent—Prospect Agency
Critiquing: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Non-fiction, Illustrator Portfolios

Rachel Orr is celebrating her fifteenth year at Prospect Agency, where she represents both authors and illustrators in projects ranging from picture books through YA. She previously worked for eight rewarding years at HarperCollins Children’s Books and uses those editorial skills to help prepare her clients’ work for submission. Her clients include Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Leeza Hernandez (ROXIE LOVES ADVENTURE), Cathy Carr (365 DAYS TO ALASKA), Samantha M. Clark (ARROW), Cori Doerrfeld (THE RABBIT LISTENED), and Keith and Larissa Marantz (CLYDE LIKES TO RIDE). Rachel lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two children, where she enjoys dancing, running and reading, of course.

Rachel’s Editorial Interests
I’m drawn to short, humorous picture-book manuscripts by authors (or author-illustrators) that have a strong marketing hook, as well as historical nonfiction beyond biographies. In terms of novels, I enjoy realistic, contemporary MG and light YA (along the lines of Katharine McGee and Jenny Han). I also represent illustrators and am open to critiquing portfolios.

 

 

Kaitlyn Sanchez, Agent—Context Literary Agency
Critiquing: Picture Books, author-illustrated Graphic Novels, Illustrator portfolios

Kaitlyn Sanchez is a mom, wife, agent with Context Literary Agency, middle school math teacher, and picture book author. She’s also the proud co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week as well as creator and co-host of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. In her free time, she loves to play soccer, binge-watch TV shows, and, of course, read, especially when she’s all cozied up with her husband and daughter reading together.
Website: kaitlynleannsanchez.com
Twitter: @KaitlynLeann17
Facebook: facebook.com/KaitlynLeann17
Check here to follow her clients on social media

Kaitlyn’s Editorial Interests
I adore stories with heart, stories with family and friendships, stories with diversity (including but not limited to BIPOC, neurodiversity, LGBTQ+, disability), stories where I learn something (typically in a nondidactic way), stories featuring SEL, and stories with humor.

 

 

Amy Stern, Literary Agent—Sheldon Fogelman Agency
Critiquing: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novels

Amy Stern works with clients who write and illustrate all kinds of children’s literature, from picturebook through young adult, in poetry, prose, and graphic formats. She joined the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in 2010 as an agent assistant after receiving masters degrees in children’s literature and library and information science from Simmons College and completing an agency internship. Since then she has worked her way up to managing clients on her own, while also handling all agency permissions. Before she began her journey to agenting, Amy double majored in English and Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College and worked at libraries and bookstores. She has served as a mentor for the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature’s MFA program, and regularly participates in conferences and conventions.

Amy’s Editorial Interests
I’m open to anything, but I’m not a great match for stories that are first and foremost romance, and I prefer low fantasy and sci fi to high. I love pretty much all kinds of picture books, but I’m really picky about meter in rhyming books, and I want every line to matter for more than just furthering the structure.

 

ART DIRECTORS

Erica De Chavez, Senior Designer—HarperCollins Children’s Books
Critiquing: Picture Book Dummies, Illustrator Portfolios

Erica De Chavez is a Filipino-American children’s book designer by day for HarperCollins Publishers and by night transforms into a freelance author-illustrator. She is the illustrator for the indie-published middle-grade advice book, The Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship by Annie Fox, and contributed over 40 fun stickers to The Future Is Ours: Feminist Stickers to Express Yourself by Duopress Labs. Her latest publication, a picture book, Mighty May Won’t Cry Today by Kendra and Claire-Voe Ocampo is a National Indie Excellence Award finalist.

Erica’s Editorial Interests
Picture book dummies that are about kids from all walks of life and show the diverse and blended communities we all live in. I am actively hiring illustrators for picture books, board books, early readers, illustrated middle grade chapter books, and graphic novels.

 

 

Sasha Illingworth, Associate Creative Director—Little, Brown
Critiquing: Picture Book Dummies, Illustrator Portfolios

Sasha Illingworth is currently an Associate Creative Director at Little Brown Books for Young Readers where she oversees a diverse list of formats including chapter books, middle grade and teen novels, along with select picture books and graphic novels. After earning her BFA in illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, she moved to New York where she started her career in publishing and illustrated over 30 book covers. Sasha has art directed and designed a diverse list of bestselling and award winning books such as; Thank You Omu (Oge Mora), Saturday (Oge Mora), Malala’s Magic Pencil (Malala Yousafzai/Kerascoet), Hello, Tree (Ana Crespo/Dow Phumiruk), Parks and Recreation: Leslie For Class President (Robb Pearlman/Melanie Demmer), Strong Mama (Robin Arzon/Addy Rivera Sonda), and many more.

Sasha’s Editorial Interests
I work on a diverse list of books, so I am always on the hunt for fresh illustration talent for picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels and graphic novels. I love picture books dummies and have a soft spot for stories that explore diversity, personal narratives, non-fiction stories and I always love a story that can make me laugh!

 

 

EDITORS

Foyinsi Adegbonmire, Associate Editor—Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan
Critiquing: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Foyinsi Adegbonmire is an Associate Editor at Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She acquires Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, from contemporary to mystery to grounded science-fiction, and enjoys lighthearted stories with conversational narrative voices. She was named a 2021 PW Star Watch Honoree and her acquisitions include New York Times-bestseller Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. / When not reading or thinking about her very large TBR pile, she can be found watching Black sitcoms from the 90s/early 2000s and fictional crime shows, or obsessing over bullet journaling.

Foyinsi’s Editorial Interests
I’m currently particularly interested in young adult fantasy with strong worldbuilding that is NOT super emotionally dark or heavy and lighter middle grade contemporary stories.

 

 

Della Farrell, Associate Editor—Holiday House
Critiquing: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Non-fiction

Della Farrell is an associate editor at Holiday House Publishing. She joined Holiday House in 2018 after working as the nonfiction editor at School Library Journal. Della is always on the lookout for can’t-put-down, well-researched children’s and YA nonfiction. If there is as much back matter as there is main text, she wants to read it. She is particularly interested in middle grade nonfiction on labor movements and climate change. Her list also includes middle grade and YA fiction and graphic novels.

Della’s Editorial Interests
For middle grade and YA fiction, I enjoy contemporary realistic fiction, horror, and mystery. I’m interested in stories with thoughtful world building, a touch of humor, and characters who are questioning their place in the universe. For nonfiction, I’m interested in picture book, middle grade, and YA, particularly narrative nonfiction on such topics as labor and social movements, art history, climate change, and STEM more generally.

 

 

Kate Fletcher, Executive Editor—Candlewick Press
Critiquing: Picture Books, Middle Grade

Kate Fletcher is an executive editor at Candlewick Press, where she has worked for the past eighteen years. She is proud to edit a wide range of projects ranging from young novelty books to YA novels with such authors as Meg Medina, Hope Lim, Liz Kessler, Bethanie Murguia, Mark Fearing, and Kate Banks. When not reading, she enjoys horseback riding and eating chocolate.

Kate’s Editorial Interests
I’m looking for picture book texts, chapter books, middle grade, and projects from author-illustrators. I’m usually drawn to fiction with a strong voice and narrative arc.

 

 

Renee Kelly, Senior Editor—Penguin Workshop
Critiquing: Picture Books

Renee Kelly is a Senior Editor at Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. She works on a range of titles, including picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels. Some of her acquisitions include the New York Times bestselling picture book Raise Your Hand by Alice Paul Tapper; Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book Flubby Is Not a Good Pet! by J.E. Morris; Sky’s the Limit, a photographic book of words and wisdom by Olympic medalist Sky Brown, and many more. Renee graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University and has written two books for children.

Renee’s Editorial Interests
I’m looking for picture books with humor and heart that help readers feel seen. I’m particularly drawn to character-driven stories, clever concepts, and eye-catching art (if you’re an author-illustrator). Above all, I aspire to publish books that are inspiring, inclusive, and entertaining.

 

Elizabeth Lazowski, Assistant Editor—Chronicle Books, Children’s
Critiquing: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Non-fiction, Illustrator Portfolios

Elizabeth Lazowski works in editorial in the Children’s group at Chronicle Books. She is cultivating a list of graphic novels, picture books, and middle-grade novels that uplift and amplify a wide variety of voices. She wants stories that address the overlooked spaces in and outside the US —who has not been, and still is not being, fairly represented in the literary space. In 2021 she was named a PW Star Watch Honoree. An avid plant mom, she lives in an ever-growing jungle in San Francisco, CA. You can find her on Twitter @e_lazowski.

Elizabeth’s Editorial Interests
I’m most interested in fiction—graphic novels, middle grade, and picture books—but non-fiction compendiums with a new twist are just as welcome. I’m looking for projects with a strong voice and a new perspective that are looking to push boundaries and set new standards. I want stories that address the overlooked spaces in and outside the US —who has not been, and still is not being, fairly represented in the literary space.

 

 

Alexandra McKenzie, Assistant Editor—Charlesbridge Publishing
Critiquing: Picture Books, Non-fiction, Original Board Books

Alexandra McKenzie is an assistant editor at Charlesbridge, where she works on books for children of all ages. She holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in early childhood education, both from Boston College. Before turning to children’s literature, she taught kindergarten and first grade in Boston. Now she strives to create books that give every reader a voice and every child the opportunity to see themselves on the page. Her all-time favorite book is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Don’t ask her how many copies she owns. She loves to read modern twists on classic tales, stories told from unique perspectives, and narratives with unusual structures.

Alexandra’s Editorial Interests
I work on a variety of titles from board books to YA, both fiction and nonfiction. As a former teacher, I look for representation of all kinds on the page and books that teach social-emotional lessons. I look for a strong voice with a personal story to tell and am especially focused on acquiring titles from diverse creators. I’m currently looking for: picture books with social-emotional themes, characters who are neurodivergent, underrepresented voices of all backgrounds, stories told from unique perspectives, characters that defy gender norms, and narratives with unusual structures.

 

 

Manuscript Formatting & Submission Guidelines

Illustrators, you may submit a full picture-book dummy or a PDF containing 8-10 individual illustrations for critique, with an accompanying cover letter (no more than a single page). Maximum file size: 25 MB.

Writers, format your submission according to these detailed Critique-a-Palooza Manuscript Guidelines. Manuscripts that depart significantly from these guidelines will be returned for corrections. Save your file with the following filename: “YourLastName-Title-FacultyLastName” (example: Lucas-DancingDragons-Sanchez).

E-mail your submission as an attachment to our manuscript critique coordinators (Beth & Melissa) at critiqueinbox [at] gmail [dot] com no later than midnight on May 2, 2022. Please use email subject line: “For Faculty Name: Title of Work” (example: For Jane Sanchez: Dancing Dragons).

If you purchase multiple critiques, please send a separate e-mail for each manuscript you are submitting.

You will receive written feedback on your submission via e-mail by June 10th, 2022.

Important Note:
You may only register for one critique per faculty member, limit of three total critiques. Paid written critiques are non-refundable. If your manuscript is not received by midnight MST on May 2nd, your spot may be given to someone on our waitlist, and your registration fee will be forfeited.

Questions? Please contact Assistant Regional Advisor Angie Lucas at utahsouthidaho-ara@scbwi.org.

Bookings