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