Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Critique-A-Palooza 2.1 Faculty



Critique-A-Palooza 2.1 Faculty

Additional headshots and bios added soon!



Sunita Apte, Editor—Reycraft Books
Sunita is the half-Indian, half-Hungarian child of immigrants. She has lived and traveled in Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Born and raised in the southern United States, she grew up never seeing herself reflected in the books she read. To help rectify this state of affairs, she has spent thirty years in publishing working to create inclusive, compelling material for children and young adults.





Trisha de Guzman, Editor—Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, Macmillan
Trisha de Guzman is an Editor at Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She was born in Manila, Philippines before immigrating to New York City at seven years old, where she has been ever since. Trisha edits books for children and young adults and is passionate about amplifying marginalized creators. In her spare time, she likes to climb rocks, do mutual aid work, and watch scary movies.






Kelly Delaney, Editor—Knopf Books for Young Readers, Penguin Random House

Kelly Delaney is an Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers, where she acquires and edits books for young readers of all ages. She has a master’s degree in Publishing: Digital and Print Media from NYU and has been at Random House Children’s Books for over ten years. Books she has edited include Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi, Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung, The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop, and Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. You can follow her on Twitter at @kellyunderwater.






Sarah Fell, Senior Editor—Magination Press

Sarah Fell is a senior editor at Magination Press, the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association, where she’s worked for nearly ten years. She feels fortunate to work on books that help kids and families through all of life’s challenges. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Latin from William & Mary (although she’s forgotten most of the Latin). Sarah lives in Washington, DC






Kate Fletcher, Executive Editor—Candlewick

Kate Fletcher works on everything from board books to YA novels—with authors such as Meg Medina, Bethanie Murguia, Liz Kessler, Hope Lim, Jennifer K. Mann, Mark Fearing and Helena Ku Rhee. She prefers picture books with a strong narrative arc and is often drawn to author/illustrators. For middle-grade and YA, voice is everything. She enjoys novels that are both scary and literary, stories about friendship, and realistic contemporary fiction.





Megan Ilnitzki, Editor—HarperCollins

Megan Ilnitzki edits picture books through young adult titles, with an emphasis in middle grade. She is looking for character-driven picture books, commercial middle grade fantasy, and voice-driven contemporary middle grade and teen fiction. Her list includes Alysa Wishingrad, M.O. Yuksel, Jason June, Rochelle Hassan, Samantha Berger, Breanna Carzoo, and more. She also works on the programs for Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, and Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil series.






Bunmi Ishola, Editor—WaterBook & Multnomah, Penguin Random House 

Raised in Texas and Nigeria, Bunmi Ishola spent most of her childhood reading. She thought she wanted to be an author, but Nigerian practicality encouraged her to pursue journalism instead. After working for different newspapers and magazines, Bunmi left journalism to teach middle school social studies and English. After seven years in the classroom, she decided to take a chance and find a job working with one of her biggest passions: books. She now works as an editor for Penguin Random House, primarily focusing on faith-based children’s books.       






Elizabeth Lee, Assistant Editor—Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, Macmillan

Elizabeth Lee is an assistant editor at FSG Books for Young Readers where she acquires books for children 0-18, including the forthcoming picture book, DEAR LIBRARIAN written by Lydia Sigwarth and illustrated by Romina Galotta; Ciera Burch’s young adult debut, THE INEVITABILITY OF HOME; and a sweeping historical teen novel by Libba Bray. Elizabeth is also an author under the pen name, E.L. Shen. Her middle-grade debut, THE COMEBACK (1.19.2021), received two starred reviews and was praised for its “big emotions” in The New York Times.






Alexandra McKenzie, Editorial Assistant—Charlesbridge
lex McKenzie is an editorial assistant at Charlesbridge, where she works on books for children of all ages. She holds a BA 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. Alex loves to read modern twists on classic tales, stories told from unique perspectives, and narratives with unusual structures.






Kathleen Merz, Acquisitions & Managing Editor—Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Kathleen Merz is the Acquisitions & Managing Editor at Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. She has worked on a number of award-winning titles, including books that have won the Caldecott Honor, the Batchelder Award for translation, the Sibert Medal, and other honors. She studied English and linguistics, and especially enjoys working on translated books and picture books. Kathleen lives in Michigan, and when she’s not at work editing she can usually be found outdoors biking or kayaking.




Sarah Rockett, Senior Editor—Sleeping Bear Press

Sarah Rockett has been working in the children’s publishing industry for more than a decade and truly believes that picture books have the power to change the world. She loves traveling, spending time outdoors, and—of course—reading. She lives in Michigan with her husband, young son, and lazy cocker spaniel.










Amy Flynn, Associate Agent—Rubin Pfeffer Content

Amy Thrall Flynn is Associate Agent with Rubin Pfeffer Content. A former editor at Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Amy holds a BA in American Literature, an MA in English, and an MA in Children’s Literature. She works with writers and illustrators of fiction and nonfiction for ages 2 – 10, as well as middle grade and YA. She is drawn to original voices, character-driven narratives, beautiful writing, and emotional depth that resonates beyond the page. Amy has a special interest in innovative nonfiction that inspires curiosity and joy.






Sarah Gerton, Agent—Curtis Brown

Sarah Gerton is an agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd., building a list of fiction and narrative nonfiction for middle grade and young adult readers. She grew up in Minnesota and graduated from Wesleyan University and the Columbia Publishing Course.







Janine Le, Agent—Sheldon Fogelman Agency

Janine Le joined the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in 2010 and continues to assist in rights, contracts, and accounting as she expands her own client list. She represents authors and illustrators in picture books through YA and has placed work for clients including Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Leanne Hatch, Su Youn Lee, Songju Ma Daemicke, Anna E. Jordan, Meg Wiviott, and more.






Sera Rivers, AgentMartin Literary
Sera Rivers is a Senior Literary Manager at Martin Literary & Media Management. Sera accepts queries for MG and YA fiction, graphic novels, and the occasional picture book. To get a better sense of what Sera is looking for, you can read her Manuscript Wish List and submission guidelines at Prior to agenting, Sera worked in educational publishing for seven years and launched Avenue A Books, a children’s graphic novel imprint at Center for Responsive Schools. She holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University.







Laurel Symonds, Agent—The Bent Agency

Laurel Symonds joined 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 and 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. Her profile and submission guidelines are at






Hannah VanVels, Agent—Belcastro Agency

Hannah VanVels is an agent with Belcastro Agency. Hannah has worked various bookish jobs including a stint as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, a freelance editor for scholarly and academic essays and journals, and most recently as the acquiring editor at a young adult imprint with HarperCollins Publishing. Hannah loves working closely with authors and coming alongside them to make their vision come to life on page. She lives on Lake Michigan with her partner, two German Shepherds, and two cats.






Liza Pulitzer Voges, Agent—Eden Street LLC

Liza Pulitzer Voges represents writers and writers and illustrators for young readers from pre-school on up. She’s been in business over 30 years and works to tailor services to each client’s goals, to work together for literary, critical and commercial success.  







Art Directors:

Maria Middleton, Art Director—Candlewick
Maria T. Middleton designs books for kids. As Art Director of Imprints at Candlewick Press, Maria works across a variety of children’s book genres from picturebooks to graphic novels and non-fiction. She’s a fan of quirky characters, hand-lettered typography, serial commas, strong coffee, and the color red. Maria lives in Richmond, VA, with her husband and their rescue pup, Wyla. You can find her online at and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mariatmiddleton





Diane Earley, Creative Director—Charlesbridge
Diane Earley is the Creative Director at Charlesbridge Publishing where she is honored to work on a variety of titles from picture books to young adult novels. Diane has designed hundreds of books and collaborated with many wonderful illustrators, including Wendell Minor, Peter H. Reynolds, Don Brown, Grace Lin, Don Tate, and Priscilla Burris. Creating beautiful, compelling, and diverse books makes every day interesting and rewarding!Bio coming soon!





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