Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 24, 2020



Libby longs to be a great librarian like her aunt Nora, and it just chaps her hide when kids vandalize books. She hangs up Wanted posters to drive the “outlaws” from her “territory.” But when she realizes that a librarian’s real job isn’t protecting books but connecting them with readers, she must find a way to lure them back.


Library’s Most Wanted, my debut picture book publishing in May 2020, began as an idea in February 2016. Four years from first draft to published book may seem like a long time, but in the publishing world, that’s quicker than an 8-second bull ride at a rodeo.

In 2015, I had newly committed to my writing. I had long struggled with the fear that I was wasting my time with my writing, but that year I realized that if I didn’t actually commit the time to really work and get better, that was the real waste of time. In 2016 I joined the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, an amazing group of education and support for picture book writers with a goal of writing twelve new picture book manuscripts per year. Library’s Most Wanted was my February draft.

Like most of my picture book ideas, it started with a title. Originally it was Library’s Most Wanted List because I liked the alliteration of Library and List, but eventually I realized the shorter title was better.

When I started brainstorming, I tried to think of Library “crimes” that might fit on Wanted Posters. I came up with a character, Libby, who is deputy librarian for the day and wants to protect the books from the outlaws. But what would the outcome be? The ending couldn’t be a library empty of kids! I realized I needed another Most Wanted list. A list of what the library really wanted, mainly, kids who love to read! Libby has to round up the kids again when she realizes her mistake.

I had found a wonderful critique group—hi Sheep Shelf!—through 12×12, and they saw the manuscript multiple times and helped tremendously. In fact, the manuscript progressed so much over the course of a year that I thought it was done!


So in April 2017 when I brought it with me to the SCBWI conference in Austin, I expected to be told it was ready for submission. In truth, I had already been submitting it. It was one of my strongest manuscripts. But it turns out, I still had work to do. In a professional critique session, author Carmen Oliver pointed out several places where things I had thought were clear were lacking. Sometimes, when you know a story so well, the things you think are there never made it to the page. I’m so grateful for her kind and clear critique.

After fixing some problems and sending it through the critique group again, Library’s Most Wanted was submission ready. I was sending it out to agents, but at the same time, I was participating in Twitter pitch parties. At these events, you pitch a manuscript, and if an agent or editor likes it, that’s an invitation to submit “above the slush.” It received a few agent likes, but nothing came of those. Then, in July 2017, my pitch for Library’s Most Wanted received a like from Nina Kooij at Pelican Publishing. I really wanted an agent, but I’d heard of some authors being able to find an agent after receiving an offer of publication, so I took my chances and sent my manuscript.

Crickets. But that’s business as usual in publishing. In November, I sent an email asking about my manuscript and was told it was going to acquisitions! That’s exciting, but it’s still not a guarantee, so I waited.

During this time I didn’t stop submitting. I even got likes from a few more agents during the Twitter pitch parties and sent off various manuscripts. In April 2018, I received an offer of publication from Pelican. At the same time, my now agent, Bibi Lewis of the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, had asked to see more of my manuscripts. I let her know I had received an offer of publication, and long story short, I signed on with her two weeks later.

What took longer was the finalizing of the contract with Pelican. In fact, it wasn’t ready for me to sign until September of 2018. Part of that had to do with Pelican having to choose a new illustrator when the original one fell through.

Next? Lots of waiting. I did get to give some input on early art and the eventual cover, but in fact, pretty much nothing else but waiting happened for close to a year while the artist, Sarah Pogue, did her work. In October 2019, I approved final revisions to the text. Then, waiting. (This is a theme in publishing).

The past several months have been a rush trying to figure out how to promote this book, and of course these last couple of months has been surreal with coronavirus hitting and libraries being closed. How do you launch a book about libraries when libraries are closed? But my hope is that when they open, everyone will be excited to get back. And maybe Library’s Most Wanted can be part of celebrating their reopening.



Carolyn Leiloglou earned her BA in English from Biola University and has since earned significant recognition for her work. She was a finalist in the 2018 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing and won first place in the chapter book category of the 2018 Kidlit College Contest, where she also placed second the same year for nonfiction picture book. Leiloglou is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and spends her time writing, homeschooling her children, and curating children’s books on her blog, House Full of Bookworms.

Carolyn Leiloglou (lay-LAW-glue) lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Demetrios, a pediatrician, and their four kids, who she homeschools.

Her stories and poems have been published in children’s magazines such as Ladybug, The School Magazine, and Clubhouse Jr. You can find more of her work at Carolyn is epresented by Bibi Lewis of the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency.


I am a curious, adventurous, artistic introvert who believes that the magic of childhood can last a lifetime. So, clearly, children’s book illustrator/author is my dream job!!  I work as an illustrator, portrait artist and teacher. Sometimes I write, as well. I never get tired of drawing new characters and experimenting with art techniques. I live on an island with my amazing daughter who helps me stay tuned in to her generation of inspiring, creative and open minded kids.
I’ve illustrated two books for the educational market and my first trade picture book comes out in May 2020 (Yippee!).


  1. Loved reading the journey this took – and the fun premise of this book! Congratulations on this debut to both Carolyn Leiloglou and Sarah Pogue!


  2. Congrats, Carolyn! This looks adorable.


  3. This looks like a very cute book! And I love the illustrative style! My sister and I can relate, where you know your story so well that you forget that your knowledge doesn’t always make it to the page. 😄👍


  4. Great journey story. The book looks really cute. Thanks for the post.


  5. Congrats Carolyn and Sarah! What an amazing journey. Looking forward to reading 🙂


  6. The language in your book looks like so much fun!


  7. Your book journey certainly reveals your persevering writing spirit, Carolyn! What an original premise! Sarah’s illustrations complement your writing style perfectly. Congratulations to you both.


  8. Wonderful to meet a fellow 12×12 member, and congratulations on your debut!


  9. This book looks wonderful! Great work! What a fun idea.


  10. Love this new book! I spent many elementary grade school recesses in the library, helping to shelve books and looking for new ones to read. Congratulations!

    I will tweet this, and I follow by email. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: