Alexandra Aceves

Holiday House Publishing

My Manuscript Wish List®

(Disclaimer–before you read any further, please note that I work at a children’s book publisher and am unable to make offers of publication on manuscripts written for adult audiences. Please, I’m begging you, stop sending me your adult MSs.) 

I’m an editor at Holiday House with a primary focus on YA fiction in prose or graphic novel form. I’m also acquiring very selectively in nonfiction picture books (see below for what I’m looking for in PB NF as it’s very particular) and narrative nonfiction for middle grade.

On the fiction side, I’m particularly interested in fresh-feeling contemporary realism, soft-genre fiction that draws from non-European traditions and/or centers protagonists from underrepresented groups, atmospheric horror, and research-grounded historical fiction with an unusual setting.

On the nonfiction side, I’m specifically looking for manuscripts with a climate or sustainability focus, a solid research backbone, a knack for explaining STEM concepts in a way that is accessible to younger readers, and an emphasis on creative solutions over scary facts. I would absolutely love to see some projects that bring to light an interesting or unusual sustainability initiative (think vertical farming, solar glass, etc.).

In general, I love:

  • Books that sell me on a tricky high-concept hook (think Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End).
  • Books that experiment with structure, chronology, or narrative POV in interesting ways (think A. S. King’s Dig).
  • Books that defy categorization and push at the boundaries between “realistic” and “speculative” (think Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet).
  • Graphic novels with strong visual rhetoric and beautifully realized worlds (think Wendy Xu’s Tidesong).
  • Books with a dry sense of humor (think Gary D. Schmidt).
  • Books that immerse me in a rich and culturally informed fantasy world (think A Wish in the Dark)
  • Books that handle sad or difficult subjects without feeling like tragedy porn (think Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s Fighting Words).

I’m a sucker for:

  • Boarding school stories–weird or classic takes!
  • Books that take place in one night.
  • Alternate histories with a strong raison d’être.
  • Diverse Shakespeare mashups.
  • Ballet books, but only if the writing is authentic enough to convince me that the author used to be a ballet dancer.
  • Gothic, Southern Gothic, and Postcolonial Gothic fiction.

I’m actively seeking:

  • Contemporary YA
  • Really special graphic novels.
  • Projects that represent experiences from within the Latine/Latinx community, especially projects with Spanish translation potential.
  • Projects that represent experiences from within the LGBTQIA+ community, especially manuscripts with bi, pan, or omni protagonists.

I’m not the best fit for:

  • Books for adults–Holiday House only publishes kidlit.
  • Board books, chapter books, or early readers.
  • Bibliotherapy.
  • Books about wars, especially WWII, unless there’s a very unique, compelling, or underexplored angle. I hate to even qualify this one with an “unless”–of all the war-themed historical fiction I read in my previous job as a kidlit book reviewer, I can think of literally only one book I would have wanted for my own list (VILLAGE OF SCOUNDRELS by Margi Preus).
  • Gross-out humor.
  • Books with animal protagonists, or animal-themed fiction in general, unless it’s very unconventional.
  • High fantasy manuscripts with worldbuilding grounded in Western European tradition, especially if they’re a planned first installment in a series and don’t stand alone.

Fun facts about me:

  • I was born in Mexico City and most of my extended family still lives in Mexico. I emigrated to the US with my parents when I was pretty young, and I’ve been bilingual my whole life.
  • I’m also proficient in French, which I studied from high school through graduate school.
  • Before I worked in publishing, I was a professional ballet dancer for a few years.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

I accept agented and unagented submissions. Please email queries to and include #MSWL in the subject line. I prefer to see full manuscripts (for fiction) / full proposals (for nonfiction or graphic novels), and I’d be grateful if unagented authors would include a full synopsis with their submission materials. Finally, if you’re submitting a full-text manuscript, please send it in Word if you can (things like image-heavy graphic novel pitch packets are fine as PDFs).

Please note Holiday House company policy regarding responding to submissions (house rules, not mine): Due to the volume of manuscripts we are receiving, Holiday House does not to respond to materials that we are not interested in publishing, and we are unable to acknowledge receipt of unagented materials. We do, however, make every effort to carefully consider each submission we receive. If we are interested in your manuscript, we will respond within four months of receiving it.

Guidelines & Details