Kathleen Rushall

Andrea Brown Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List®

I’m looking for picture books, middle grade, and YA (no chapter books please).

For picture books, I love to laugh. I love irreverent character driven stories with a surprise ending or twist. And, on the other side of things, I’d like to find something sweet with a deeper meaning and beautiful language. I’m looking for picture books that inspire emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and empathy in a non-didactic way.

I’m also on the hunt for nonfiction picture books. (Science! Biographies! Common Core topics made fun!). I’d love to find more biographies and what some call “ficinformational” picture books (books with a fictional story that ties into the Common Core, or with a true-life story that has been fictionalized but includes factual back matter), a la Jess Keating’s EAT YOUR ROCKS, CROC! and Karen Jameson’s WHERE THE WEE ONES GO as examples of the former and Carole Lindstrom’s WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS and Laurel Neme’s THE ELEPHANT’S NEW SHOE for the latter. I would especially love to see more biographies about young climate activists.

I’m particularly passionate about the environment, conservation, animal welfare, and social justice and these are all themes I’m always happy to see in picture books. Climate change and pollution (still looking for a great book about plastic) are topics I very much want to see more books about across all ages. Let’s nurture the next generation of activists and advocates!

I’m especially hungry for more middle grade. Please send me your middle grade!

For MG, I’m always looking for heartfelt stories, as well as contemporary ‘coming of age’ stories with a relatable voice.

I’m happy to see atmospheric spooky MG or truly scary MG. I represent Lindsay Currie’s THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET and it’s a fantastic example of the kind of voice-driven, fast paced fright with atmosphere that I enjoy. I also love middle grade mysteries.

It’s all about voice! I love middle grade with a memorable narrator, and especially when the story dives into themes of family, culture, and friendship like Supriya Kelkar’s AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE and THAT THING ABOUT BOLLYWOOD.

Another example of MG on my list that I’d love to find more of is literary MG such as Aimee Lucido’s gorgeous novel in verse, EMMY IN THE KEY OF CODE, which weaves together friendship and coming of age with music and coding. And, of course I love high stakes adventures with clever kids at the helm a la Jess Keating’s Elements of Genius series.

Friendships and family relationships are something I particularly enjoy in middle grade. I always admire when parents (and other mentor family members like grandparents) are present as opposed to “off stage” throughout the book. I also love a dash of magic in contemporary MG. And again, I am always interested in wildlife, nature, conservation, climate themes.

I’m especially looking for a fresh, diverse YA rom-com with depth and heart like Gloria Chao’s RENT A BOYFRIEND. For YA, I’m especially interested in voice-driven contemporary. I’d love to find more light-hearted contemporary YA. I also enjoy YA that tackles big picture topics with nuance and heart (bonus points for humor).

I would love to find more YA horror, especially if it has a deeper message or smart underlying social commentary. I’m a fan of thrillers and would like something dark and twisty that makes me think.

I’m looking for voice-driven, compelling, high stakes fantasy and am especially interested in contemporary fantasy. A great example of my taste is Isabel Sterling’s THESE WITCHES DON’T BURN. I enjoy characters that are clever and secretive with the capacity to outwit each other (or the reader). I’m always interested in unreliable narrators or characters who turn stereotypes on their heads. Characters and voice matter most to me.

I also have a  soft spot for historical novels, both MG and YA. Especially if it takes place before WWII. (Take me baaaaaack farther than the 1940s!) I’d love to find historical fiction in the vein of Sharon Cameron or Elizabeth Wein with heart-wrenching choices and fascinating historic detail.  And I’m always on the lookout for Celtic or Viking inspired YA such as Adrienne Young’s SKY IN THE DEEP.

I adore magical realism in both MG and YA. Bonus points for complex family relationships (or secrets!) and unique, atmospheric locations that can be considered a character themselves.

For everything I acquire, from picture books through MG and YA, I’m passionate about championing diverse creators and underrepresented perspectives. LGBTQ voices are always welcome.

A few elements I’m always excited to see in YA include strong female leads, great rapport, small towns, lesser known mythology, unexpected circumstances, humor, and romance.

I’m always looking for novels that explore identity, finding yourself, and feeling seen for the first time. Try me!

I’m also looking for mind/ body/ spirit or metaphysical adult nonfiction (and I also love these topics when they pop up in fiction). I would be thrilled to find a fresh nonfiction project about any of the following: tarot, crystal healing, feng shui, mindfulness, meditation, intuition, astrology, energy healing, reiki, acupuncture, or yoga.

Submission Guidelines

To query me, please use my Query Manager form, and follow the directions. Depending on the project you are submitting, please include a query letter plus:

    • Picture Book Writers: full manuscript text pasted below your query letter
    • Illustrators: 2-3 illustration samples (in jpeg format), and link to online portfolio
    • Illustrators with dummy: full dummy (in pdf format or a Dropbox link) that includes 1-2 color samples, and link to online portfolio
    • Fiction Writers (chapter books, MG, YA): first 10 pages pasted into the form
    • Non-fiction Writers: proposal and sample chapter pasted into the form
    • Graphic novels: 2-3 sample page spreads in jpg or pdf format, summary/synopsis pasted into the form, plus a link to website/online portfolio
  • Please be sure to enclose a contact phone number as well as your email address.
  • You are free to submit to agents at other agencies at the same time, but it is a professional courtesy to let us know that yours is a multiple submission. If you receive an offer of representation from another agent, please let us know immediately so we can respond accordingly.
If we are interested in seeing more of your work, we will contact you at the email address you provided. If you have not heard from us within six to eight weeks, please assume that the material submitted is not right for our agency at this time.
​I’m grateful for the opportunity to consider your work. I read every query carefully, and I wish I could respond to everyone personally. Unfortunately, as we state in our submissions guidelines, because of the high volume of material that we receive, we are no longer able to respond personally to every submission. If your work is rejected, please do not resubmit the same work to another agent at our agency. However, you may submit a new work to another agent, or to the same agent. And, if the work is significantly revised, you may resubmit it after 6 months.

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