Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 20, 2015

Free Fall Friday

Please email your poems and Illustrations to Kathy.temean (at) and put Thanksgiving Special or Christmas Special in the subject area.

Jennifer Stokes is returning to Kids Can Press as editor. (She had been there for 6 years before leaving to work freelance.)

Wendy Levinson (formerly Silbert) is re-joining Harvey Klinger on November 30 in the newly created position of director of development. In her new role, Levinson will seek new clients for the agency focusing on adult fiction and non-fiction with the occasional YA or middle grade. The clients will then be distributed among the agency’s agents. She will also work in an editorial capacity on existing agency projects.

Martha Rago has been appointed to the newly created position of executive creative director, Random House Children’s Books,reporting to Judith Haut, as the children’s art departments are united. Isabel Warren-Lynch, executive art director for the Knopf, Delacorte, Crown, and Wendy Lamb Books imprints, and her team, will report to Rago, as will Tracy Tyler, executive art director, licensed publishing; associate art director Nicole de las Heras; and Jason Zamajtuk, art director, Random House/Golden Books for Young Readers.


Agent Amy Stern has agreed to be November’s Guest Critiquer. Just a heads up, as like in previous years, there will be no December First Page Critique opportunity. I stopped doing it in December because everyone gets so busy that no one sends in a first page.

Here’s a little bit about Amy:

Amy Stern started at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in 2010 as an agent assistant and has spent the past five years taking on additional responsibilities while not quite believing that she gets to work with children’s books as her job. After receiving degrees in English and creative writing at Bryn Mawr College and masters degrees in children’s literature and library science at Simmons College, she interned at a literary agency and fell in love with the industry.

She taught science fiction and fantasy at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, where she also got her MA in children’s literature and her MLS in library science.

In her copious spare time, she mentors writing students at Simmons’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. She is currently accepting picturebook, middle grade, and young adult submissions from authors and illustrators, particularly if the work explores underrepresented identities. She’s not your best bet for a heterosexual romance or historical fiction, but is open to pretty much anything else. You can find her on twitter: @yasubscription or on her blog: blog

We talk a lot about finding the “right book at the right time for the right reader” when we’re talking about getting things for other people to read. I don’t think that we give it nearly as much thought when we’re choosing what to read ourselves. We are people who crave good stories, and then talk about them on the internet. We are the opposite of the reluctant reader.

She reads a lot about superheroes, watches a lot of reality television, talks a lot about problems with gender normativity in popular culture, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.

Amy says, “One of the hardest things I’ve had to do- as an agent, as a scholar, and perhaps most importantly as a person who loves stories- was come to terms with the fact that I can’t actually separate myself from the books I read. I can recognize the artistry and skill that goes in to telling a story without loving it; conversely, I can recognize there are parts of a novel that are deeply flawed while still connecting with it on a deep visceral level. But I will always see the best stories as the ones that combine those two for me, and that’s inherently subjective.”


In the subject line, please write “November 2015 First Page Critique” and paste the text in the email, then attached it in a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure your name is with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be skipped over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: November 25th.

RESULTS: December 4th.

Please only submit one first page a month. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow



  1. Thanks for the updates, Kathy. 🙂


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