I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer twice, at two different Big Sur workshops – one in the Rockies and one in, well, Big Sur. Both times I was impressed with her warmth, intelligence and genuine desire to help writers. I know she puts these qualities to good use because she represents my friend Linda Ashman, and I continue to hear nothing but good things. See for yourself when you read about Jennifer’s recent deals below! I was so pleased when she agreed to be a 12 x 12 featured agent, and anyone who snags her will be in good hands! Thank you, Jennifer!
A little bit about Jennifer from the Andrea Brown website:
Jennifer came to Andrea Brown Literary Agency after nearly five years of reviewing children’s literature as part of the Books for Youth staff of Booklist magazine. That adds up to close readings of around 1,000 books, lending Jennifer a wide-angle view of the tastes of individual houses.
Prior to Booklist, Jennifer was an Associate Editor at Dutton Children’s Books, where she acquired and edited titles that included CHICO, by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and THE HEROIC ADVENTURES OF HERCULES AMSTERDAM, by Melissa Glenn Haber. (She also enjoyed an amusing turn on the other side of the desk as a coauthor of THE OFFICIAL EASY-BAKE COOKBOOK).
In the picture-book arena, Jennifer is interested in authors and author-illustrators who bring a distinctive, well-developed point of view to their work; at this time, she is not acquiring illustration-only clients. She loves picture books that are story time-ready stories (no one-joke tales or mood pieces) that resonate with universal childhood experiences and concerns; fables and folktales aren’t for her.
When I asked Jennifer what she is looking for in picture books these days, here is the response she sent me:
As for what’s interesting to me in PB manuscripts, I warm to idiosyncratic voices that don’t condescend (think William Steig and Russell Hoban); stories that are either hilarious, mind-expanding, or heart-melting (all three would be the holy grail); and clever premises that are well paced and pay off with a terrific ending. I tend to appreciate a narrative that’s a bit postmodern in its approach, expanding character or story with elements that break away from the body text. PB narrative nonfiction that’s not institutional in feel is okay. Above all else, though, I look for concision, and a good understanding of the give-and-take between words and pictures that make for a seamless whole.
Recent picture book sales include three manuscripts by noted poet Linda Ashman: PEACE, BABY!, to be illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (Chronicle); Linda Ashman’s nearly wordless, graphic novel influenced story, RAIN! (Houghton Mifflin/HMH); and a lyrical ode to the rhythms of the natural world, ALL WE KNOW (HarperCollins). Past sales include author-illustrator Gail Page’s HOW TO BE A GOOD CAT, the latest entry in her picture book series about Bobo the dog (Bloomsbury); and TEN ON THE SLED, a picture book written by Kim Norman (Sterling).