Esther Cajahuaringa

Sterling Children's Books

My Manuscript Wish List

I am a children's book editor who acquires picture books and graphic novels, with a specific passion for partnering and collaborating with BIPOC creators and storytellers. As a former educator and non-profit organizer, I draw upon my experiences working directly with young people and adults when thinking about today's readers. The stories I am most drawn to are those where readers witness and partake in a character's wide-range of emotions and experiences freely, bravely, messily, and most of all honestly. I want young readers to inhabit the worlds of these characters, whether they're people (fictional or real) or animals, and discover the power and fun of stories.

Why I love picture books: It's usually the first entry point in a young reader's journey to reading, and that means we have an opportunity to shape a child's reading experience. Pictures and words need to work in rhythm with each other, and the collaborative aspect of picture books between author-illustrator or author and illustrator is one of my favorite parts of being an editor. There's also so much about the picture book making process that I geek out about and could go on and on! (the paper, the case!)

Why I love graphic novels: I've adored comics as a child, and it wasn't until I was working with English Language Learners that I saw another entry point for a young person with graphic novels. It might be someone on the fringes of "not wanting to read anymore", loving picture books so much but wanting to read in a different category, or even learning English for the first time but too embarrassed to pick up a picture book, graphic novels could meet the gap by introducing a new visual format for telling stories. I love the versatility of graphic novels and the visual engagement for readers.

Stories I'm looking for:

  • where characters are unequivocally themselves (think Miguel from Coco or Lilo from Lilo and Stitch as examples)
  • sibling stories (in the vein of the Maple & Willow series)
  • intergenerational stories
  • immigration stories (particularly in graphic novels and/or a novel-in-verse)
  • music-related stories (particularly in graphic novels)
  • uncover lesser known topics/people/truths about history
  • realistic contemporary
  • humorous stories
  • underdog stories

Fun facts about me:
  • Proud daughter of Peruvian immigrant parents
  • Proud middle child
  • Proud Angeleno (I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and even though I've lived in the East Coast for seven years, LA will always be home for me).
  • I grew up playing violin, piano, and percussion (orchestra and marching band girl right here!)
  • I am the only left-handed person in both my immediate and extended family (sitting at the dining table was always complicated with all the right-handers!)

Submission Guidelines

I edit picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels, and am only accepting agented submissions at this time.


Vital Info

Fiction: Children's, Graphic Novel, Historical, Literary, Picture Books
Non-Fiction: Biography

Favorite sub-genres: Latinx stories
I'd like the next...
  • wordless picture book
  • I Talk Like A River
  • Dreamers
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • intergenerational family story in the vein of Jane the Virgin for mg graphic novel
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but either in mg graphic novel or mg novel-in-verse format
  • Julie and the Phantoms for mg graphic novel

My favorites include...


  • Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
  • Inside Out and Back Again, Thanhhà Lai
  • Matilda, Roald Dahl
  • Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
  • Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Harry Potter series
  • Frog and Toad series
  • Calvin & Hobbes collection
  • The Last Stop on Market Street, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson
  • Fry Bread, Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal
  • School's First Day of School, Adam Rex and Christian Robinson
  • Dreamers, Yuyi Morales
  • Because, Mo Willems and Amber Ren
  • Ghosts, Reina Telgemeier
  • Be Prepared, Vera Brosgol
  • Creepy Carrots, Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown
  • Drawn Together, Minh Lê and Dan Santat
  • Wherever You Go, Pat Zietlow Miller and Eliza Wheeler


  • LOTR
  • Star Wars
  • Harry Potter
  • The Goonies
  • Rocky Balboa series
  • Tangled
  • Coco
  • Moana

TV Shows

  • Gilmore Girls
  • Friends
  • The West Wing
  • Jane the Virgin
  • One Day at a Time
  • Never Have I Ever
  • The Office

My Upcoming Events:

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