Thalia Leaf

Calkins Creek

My Manuscript Wish List

Calkins Creek’s focus is American history—we aim to help children and teens navigate the present by deepening their understanding of the past.

I'm primarily looking for nonfiction picture books and middle grade and YA historical novels. I love picture books about historical figures who deserve to be better known—artists, activists, scientists, and trailblazers of all sorts. I'm looking for novels that seamlessly combine historical context with exciting, character-driven stories. Please check out the "I'd like the next" section for more information.


Notable Calkins Creek Titles
Picture Books: Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Fay Duncan; Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock; Without Separation: Prejudice, Segregation, and the Case of Roberto Alvarez by Larry Dane Brimner; Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington; The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest by Heather Lang; Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette by Selene Castrovilla
Middle Grade: Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace; View from Pagoda Hill by Michaela MacColl
Young Adult: Blood and Germs: The Civil War Battle Against Wounds and Disease by Gail Jarrow

Here are some random book ideas I'd love to see in my inbox (here's hoping):

Picture book ideas


Novel ideas

  • Something like The Agency series by Y.S. Lee, but set in Newport high society or DC during some famous event.
  • Book about a teenage girl against the backdrop of the Clinton impeachment
  • Teen who is part of the Black Hebrew Israelites (
  • Teens in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War/the Philippine-American war. Maybe told from multiple perspectives (e.g. a US solider, and a Philippine civilian)?
  • A bunch of first-generation teens at an urban high school struggle with expectations from their peers, parents, and themselves. Sort of in the mode of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Catalyst, but each teen’s cultural background would be important, perhaps because of whatever’s going on at the time the book is set.
  • Immigration stories of all sorts



Submission Guidelines

PLEASE NOTE: All submissions to Calkins Creek must include a bibliography. I do not accept unagented manuscripts.

Vital Info

Fiction: Children's, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Non-Fiction: History

Favorite sub-genres:
I'd like the next...

Picture books: Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant; Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung; Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade; Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez; Were I Not A Girl: The Inspiring and True Story of Dr. James Barry by Lisa Robinson
Middle Grade: Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte, Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
Young Adult: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo, The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed; The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

My favorites include...

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