Cherrita Lee

Beaming Books

My Manuscript Wish List

Beaming Books publishes high quality children’s books that help kids thrive in every part of who they are—emotionally, socially, and spiritually. We aim for thoughtful fiction and non-fiction that prompts children to see and experience the world in new ways. With topics ranging from self-esteem to kindness, ethics, and acceptance, our books are designed to spark the imagination and equip kids and families to build a better world, contribute to the common good, and live full and flourishing lives together.

In the past, we have published roughly 25-30 books per year, but we’re expanding and looking to publish around 40 going forward. We are currently open to agented submissions in the following categories: fiction and non-fiction picture books and chapter books, as well as non-fiction middle grade and young adult.

We do not publish board books or activity books. While we’re hoping to branch into MG books in the future, acquisitions are currently on hold for them.

We look for books with themes of values, ethics, morals, and advocacy. Books with a strong hook that meet a felt need for children, parents, educators, and/or librarians are our specialty.

What I’m looking for:

As a Black editor, one of my goals is to acquire diverse voices including LGTBQIA+, BIPOC, Latinx, neurodiverse, and other underrepresented identities. I’m very passionate about diversity and representation in publishing.

I love witty, quirky, creative, and eccentric manuscripts that aren’t just a standard update or retelling of books or stories that already exist. An ideal manuscript will either introduce a new lens, subject, or approach to a classic topic or story—including unique cultural or character changes. Manuscripts that move me to laugh or smile are especially appreciated. I also love the idea of combining education, whether of school topics or social values with diversity, humanity, and charm—especially STEM skills and topics. Anything that helps kids see the interconnectedness of life is great, especially if it also covers the duties this connection bestows on everyone to take care of each other, the earth, the universe, and all that’s contained therein.

I want to be gripped and pulled into the story nigh immediately. I’ve ADHD—if you don’t hook me from the jump, the internet beckons. Skimming should draw me in so much that I get angry upon interruption.

I’m especially interested in manuscripts that deal with neurodiversity and mental health issues in a way that not only teaches children about the topic but helps those children who experience it firsthand. I would love books aimed at anxiety, consent/body ownership, inattentive and/or hyperactive ADHD, ASD, big feelings such as sadness or anxiety, and how it impacts children, especially BIPOC and feminine kids who are often under-served in these areas.

Characters who challenge traditional roles and tropes are appreciated as well.

Progressive is a must—miss me with your conservative ish.

Fantastical stories that sweep the reader away to another place and/or time, far different from contemporary America.

 

Here are some general topics/themes/ideas I’m currently interested in:

  • Intersectionality
  • Body positivity
  • A mischievous sense of humor coupled with kindness and beauty
  • Folk and fairy tales, legends, and mythology with new approaches, especially tales without western European roots
    • African or African diaspora influenced stories or retellings
      • Yoruba-based tales are a personal interest
    • Asian or Asian diaspora influenced stories or retellings
    • Slavic myths and legends as unique retellings
  • Found family
    • Happy adoption stories
  • Picture books that explore world religions, spiritual beliefs, and cultural practices with a lighthearted or lyrical approach that aren’t Eurocentric
  • Multicultural families, especially the merging of culture, traditions, and practices
    • Especially stories of multicultural children who are white passing and fitting in with the family dynamics
  • Finding your place or self
  • Friendships that seem fated to last into senior citizenship
    • Bonus points if these relationships are interracial
  • Light and whimsical stories that showcase the universal values of humanity: love, kindness, friendship, responsibility, etc.
  • Historical and biographical texts featuring strong BIPOC and women, especially activists
  • Stories about musical, artistic, crafty kids putting it down
  • Non-fiction and fiction that encourages children to be active participants in their community and society, especially:
    • Encouraging activism and building an interest social justice
    • Presenting stories of young activists who brought about change
    • Educates and equips kids to combat social issues such as white supremacy, racism, ableism, sexism, transphobia, and more in a child friendly and age appropriate manner
      • Other issues such as economic disparity, healthcare, climate/environmental change, and resource availability would be welcome as well
    • Non-fiction and fiction aimed at combating societal ills such as white supremacy, racism, sexism, ableism, etc.
      • Along similar lines, non-fiction and fiction that: encourages children to become involved in activism and their community
    • STEM books that present a specific idea or theme and connect it with a much larger concept such as kindness or other values
    • Animorphs-esque PB/CB—hard lesson(s) included
    • Witty
    • Any of the above + Studio Ghibli vibes

I'm also interested in biographies or fictionalized versions of the following historical figures:

  • Julius Caesar Stratford – freed himself and his family from slavery through learning to read
  • Barbara Rose Johns – Civil rights advocate
  • Vivien Thomas – surgical pioneer
  • Mary Touvestre – Civil War spy and hero
  • William Cathay / Cathay Williams – Civil War hero
  • Claudette Colvin – Civil rights hero
  • Gwendolyn Brooks – ceiling shattering poet
  • Jane Bolin – legal pioneer
  • Phillis Wheatley – poet
  • Rebecca Lee Crumpler – medical pioneer
  • Benjamin Singleton – activist

Here are some general topics/themes/ideas I’m NOT interested in:

  • Books informed more by educational experience than lived experiences
    • While I value and understand the place these have in media, as an Autistic woman, I’m weary of MS from experts that understand the facts more than what it’s like to actually experience the way those facts impact a life.
    • This may or may not include well-intentioned parents writing about their children’s experiences, depending on the MS.
  • Books that whitewash BIPOC experiences for a vague, general audience
  • White guilt

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to leec@beamingbooks.com

We only accept agented submissions.

Agents may submit by emailing their full MS, pitch, and author bio as attachments directly to my submissions email. Please include "Submission" and the title in the subject of the email. I look forward to hearing from you!

Vital Info

Editor
Fiction: Children's, Graphic Novel, LGBTQ, Middle Grade, Picture Books
Non-Fiction: Biography, History, Humor, Illustrated, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture

Favorite sub-genres:
I'd like the next...
  • Not Quite Narwhal
  • Stamped (children's edition)
  • Rainbow
  • Odd and the Frost Giants
  • Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
  • Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different
  • Ada Twist, Scientist

My favorites include...

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