Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SM 19 Jessica Anderson











JESSICA ANDERSON, Assistant Editor at Christy Ottaviano Books


Jessica Anderson, assistant editor at Christy Ottaviano Books, an imprint of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, works on a wide range of picture books, middle grade and YA fiction. She is on the lookout for lyrical picture book biographies, quirky middle grade fiction, and gritty contemporary realistic YA. She is the editor of the YA debuts The Spaces Between Us by Stacia TolmanWrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee; and Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown, as well as the picture book biographies Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows, illustrated by Ebony Glenn, and Samuel Morse, That’s Who! by Tracy Nelson Maurer, illustrated by El primo Ramón, among others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Columbia University.

Balancing Action and Emotion: Keys to Revising and Knowing When Your are Ready to Submit



 Optimizing Symbolism and Plot Devices: How to Ensure Your Style and Pacing Work Hand-in-Hand
Individual Work Beforehand:
What can you identify as a symbol or plot device in your manuscript?
Does it organically weave into the global setting, characterization, action and themes of your work?
Does it fall short of meaningfully connecting to any of these elements?
Make a list of 1-3 symbols or plot devices currently at work in your manuscript, and evaluate each one through the questions above. Identify which symbols/plot devices feel essential and why, and which are not effectively serving the telling.


Behind the Scenes of a Middle Grade Novel: From Submission to Finished Book

This session explores an editor’s role, with a comprehensive look at the life cycle of a middle grade novel–from submission through acquisition, early editorial development, copyediting, design, proofing, and selecting final production specifications. A detailed behind-the-scenes perfect for children’s book creators seeking to know more about the journey to a finished book.


First Impressions:  The Art of Effective Positioning

This session explores strategies in pitching and positioning through a series of case studies, from picture books through YA, fiction and nonfiction. An insightful exercise for children’s book creators eager to command readers’ attention–from agents to editors and beyond–and make a memorable first impression with their work.