SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Professional (Agent) Critiquers

Tara Gonzalez

Tara Gonzalez is an associate agent, as well as the assistant to Erin Murphy and social media coordinator for EMLA. She’s somehow still located in Florida, although she’s always planning her next big adventure. Beyond an obvious passion for books, Tara loves movies, buying things she probably doesn’t need on Etsy, and getting hooked on TV shows that get cancelled after one season. She has a Broadway addiction and will see as many shows as she physically can whenever she makes it up to New York City. In another life, she’d be the manager of a competitive esports team or potentially the person who wipes the imaginary dust off celebrities on the red carpet. Tara has her master’s degree in Media and Communication Studies and probably shouldn’t go back to school, but is always thinking about it.

 

Minju Chang

Minju Chang joined BookStop in 2006. She represents both fiction and nonfiction in all children’s book categories: picture books, chapter books, middle-grade, graphic novels and YA. She also represents illustrators and is on the hunt for author-illustrators.

Across all genres and formats, Minju looks for emotional resonance and distinctive voices. She is always on the lookout for an unusual and authentic “insider” point of view, stories that shift her perspective of the world, and vivid settings that make her want to linger and explore. On her current wish list: evocative magical realism; heartwarming MG with clever and gutsy characters; realistic and fantastical graphic novels for ages 5 and up; strong female characters in all genres; picture books that range from charming and quirky to irreverent and subversive; narrative non-fiction with a timely hook; voice-driven historical fiction; re-tellings of fairy tales, myths and legends; re-imagination of the literary canon (esp. Austen, Brontë sisters, Dickens, and Collins); “light” fantasy; YA romance with tons of humor; and stories about finding family and friends in unexpected places and ways. She is also eager to find projects from diverse creators, both writers and artists, and underrepresented voices. (Diversity including but also going beyond race and gender)

 

Emily Forney

Emily Forney is an associate agent for BookEnds Literary, a digital media and rhetoric teacher, cultural critic, and a writer for what feels like an eternity.

​After earning her MFA in Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University, Emily worked in editorial roles for literary magazines, journals, and digital prints before finding her home at BookEnds. She was a 2020 Publishing Fellow with the LA Review of Books and actively writes about identity, Blackness, and pop culture. She has writing with Bitch Media discussing YA romances, “Sex Re-Education: Netflix Offers a New Spin on Teen Virginity,” and a bunch of other places that really are only brought up as ice breakers in query letters Emily cringes at. But, you know, it’s fine. She likes to laugh at herself.

​When she isn’t reading submissions, working with her authors, or procrastinating her own writing, she’s usually binge watching an unhealthy amount of television and stress baking when deadlines are near. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona at the mercy of two cats and a dream of owning a goat farm one day.

 

Ameerah Holliday

Ameerah Holliday is a dancer and self-proclaimed poetess from San Diego, California. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from San Diego State University. Holliday is a former editorial assistant intern for Poetry International and currently serves as editorial director for the San Diego Poetry Annual and assistant editor for Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual.

Ameerah is primarily interested in young adult fiction, new adult fiction, fantasy/paranormal romance and novels in verse. She looks for writing that explores diverse experiences with elements of intersectionality. Stories that take you on a journey through growth and she loves a good friendship story. For non-fiction she’s interested in writing derived from performing arts or passion projects and discussions of mental health in minority communities.

 

Kaitlyn Sanchez

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is an agent at Red Fox Literary. She’s also a mom, wife, junior high school math teacher, and picture book author of humorous stories. She’s the proud co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest, creator of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest, and co-creator of Kidlit Zombie Week.

In her free time, Kaitlyn loves to play soccer, binge-watch shows on Hulu, and, of course, read. Her favorites are historical fiction, short stories, dramas, fantasies, mysteries, and of course picture books! She especially loves it when her husband, daughter, and her all cozy up and read together.

 

Tori Sharp

Tori Sharp joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an Associate Literary Agent in 2020 after interning for two years. Tori has a BFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and her graphic memoir, JUST PRETEND, is forthcoming from Little, Brown in spring 2021. When she’s not reading, writing, or making comics, she can be found swing and blues dancing, playing tabletop games, or exploring coffee shops in beautiful Seattle, WA. Tori represents all manner of children’s literature. You can learn more about her at www.noveltori.com 

 

 

Laurel Symonds

Laurel Symonds launched as a literary agent at The Bent Agency in Fall 2018 after nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She began her career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books in New York City. She has also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores.

As a literary agent, she is seeking children’s fiction and nonfiction, from picture books to young adult. For picture books, graphic novels, and other illustrated work, her tastes are diverse, ranging from sophisticated to quirky to gently humorous. She is interested in art in all mediums, but especially appreciate a smart use of color and perspective. For YA and MG, Laurel is currently seeking with a special interest in contemporary and fantasy-with-a-twist. She looks for engaging voices, commercial hooks, and immersive worlds. Her YA tastes are pretty commercial whereas her middle grade tastes can skew more literary and she’s especially interested in middle grade that might lend itself to illustration. Laurel also represents select nonfiction for children and young adults, especially projects about STEM or history with age-appropriate hooks and series potential. In every category, she is seeking voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked.

Upcoming publications in 2021 include Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field by Angela Ahn (Tundra/Penguin Random House Canada), I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog written by debut author Michal Babay and illustrated by Ela Smietanka (Albert Whitman & Company), and Viking in Love by Doug Cenko (Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Random House).

On a personal note, when Laurel is not reading, she enjoys baking, hiking, and spending time with her dog, Sherlock.

Laurel’s profile and submission guidelines are at www.thebentagency.com and she can also be found online on Twitter and Instagram (@LaurelSymonds).