Picture Books I Love, Some Things I Like as an Agent, and Other Tips about Connecting with an Agent

Hi all!

I just had so much fun this weekend presenting on “What I Like and Why” for PBPalooza created by wonderful picture book whisperer, Mira Reisberg. And I promised I’d share at least some parts of my presentation here (I saved some just for those who paid for scholarships ;)). If you’re popping by after, thanks again for attending. If you’re popping in to find out more about me to query me, welcome and if you work on picture books and need more help and support, definitely consider picture book courses for writers and illustrators by the Children’s Book Academy!

Things I Like (as an Agent) Based on my Personality

I am a very empathetic, fiery, excitable person (I know this is shocking news to many of you–I can hear your gasps of shock and awe).

I also have a lot of quirkiness and love to have fun, laugh, and learn and grow, so those are all things I’m really attracted to in stories as well.

So I often look for an emotional connection, learning about other cultures and ways of life, ways of cultivating empathy and understanding, and of course, fun quirky, unique things as well.

I connect with each client in a slightly different way, but they all have parts of their personalities that align with part of mine.

So in general, get to know who you’re submitting to if you can. Ie. I’m a teacher, but just like my students, I don’t want my books to be a lesson–that’s for school. In the books I read, I want the message hidden and I get to discover it through the fun of reading (does that mean there’s no room for didactic, definitely not, many concept books are didactic but that’s a topic for another time).

Books I LOVE that Help Make Up What I Like to Take on as an Agent

I read and love various styles so I appreciate them. I could go on for DAYS about the books I love. Here’s just a small, small sample with some of my picture book favorites: 

Fry Bread (Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal) to Magic Ramen (Andrea Want and Kana Urbanowicz), 

from I Will Be Fierce (Bea Birdsong and Nidhi Chanani) to The King of Kindergarten (Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton) 

from The Dot (Peter H. Reynolds) to My Papi Has a Motorcycle (Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña) 

from Ned the Knitting Pirate (Diana Murray and Leslie Lammle) to I’m Sad (Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi) 

from Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies (Megan and Jorge Lacera) to The Bad Seed (Jory John and Pete Olswald) 

from When Aiden Became a Brother (Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita) to The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh (Supriya Kelkar and Alea Marley)

from Doodle Day (Ross Collins) to Saturday (Oge Mora)

from How to Give Your Cat a Bath in 5 Easy Steps (Nicola Winstanley and John Martz) to Madam President (Lane Smith)

from The Upper Case (Tara Lazar and Ross MacDonald) to The Stuff of Stars (Marion Dane Bauer and Ekua Holmes) 

from Queen of Physics (Teresa Robeson and Rebecca Huang) to The Undefeated (Kwame Alexander and Ladies Nelson)

from Just Ask! (Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael López) to Planting Stories (Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar) 

from Lovely (Jess Hong) to The Stone Sat Still (Brendan Wenzel)

from The Little Blue Cottage (Kelly Jordan and Jessica Courtney-Tickle) to My Shape is Sam (Amanda Jackson and Lydia Nichols)

from Zero (Kathryn Otoshi) to Twinderella (Corey Rosen Schwartz and Deborah Marcero). 

from Nothing Stopped Sophie (Cheryl Bardoe and Barbara Mcclintock) to Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen)

from Rain! (Linda Ashman) to Giraffe Problems (Jory John and Lane Smith) 

from Bloom Boom! (April Pulley-Sayer) to All the World (Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee)

from One Dark Bird (Liz Garton Scanlon and Frann Preston-Gannon)  to I’m Trying to Love Math (Bethany Barton)

The books you read and appreciate are part of you and help provide what you’re attracted to so I try to read very widely to keep my eyes open.

I am not a fan of didactic usually, but there are exceptions to every rule. I do want to clarify something that came up in our critique group recently, the lack of didactic is usually for character driven stories in pb, there are gorgeous stories that are concept driven like I Will Be Fierce! that are meant to encourage and be didactic.

I tend to really love quirk, humor, puns, and always love heart but not too saccharine, like I LOVE In My Heart (Jo Witek) and Truman (Jean Reidy and Lucy Ruth Cummins) and My Heart (Corrina Luyken) and Because by Mo Willems which are full of heart but not too sweet.

I love lyrical too but must be well done. I fell in love with The Stuff of Stars so love that type of writing and I would love more funny and well done nonfiction, I can’t wait for Funky Fish ( Debra Shumaker and Claire Powell) and Battle of the Butts ( Jocelyn Rish and David Creighton), I loved Carl and the Meaning of Life (Deborah Freedman).

I love Fry Bread, Papi Has a Motorcycle, I’m Trying to Love Math. They’re not a traditional pb structure but they are so beautiful and needed.

I love empowering texts like The Proudest Blue (Ibtihaj Muhammad and Hatem Aly) and Parker Looks Up  (Parker Curry, Jessica Curry, Brittanh Jackson).

I adore meta, it could be going out of style some say, but I love it!

I love Ned the Knitting Pirate but please don’t send me rhyme unless you’ve actually studied rhythm, check out my resources page for rhyme help.

Megan and Jorge Lacera’s Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies, omg please send me your original, nondidactic lesson stories with another language embedded!

Harold Loves His Wooly Hat  (Vern Kousky) omg this story still blows my mind with that ending and Truman, so sweet and adventurous!

Other Hot TIPS

Another hot tip for finding an agent you connect with is read their blog (or for James watch his Youtube channel) because we share stuff all the time that shows what we love, ie right now we’re analyzing the winning entries from the fall writing frenzy on my blog and in the comments you can see what I thought and felt about these amazing stories. I also do author and illustrator interviews where I review their books as well so you can see what I think of those as well 🙂

Monster List of Picture Book Agents


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Thanks for popping by and come back tomorrow for more Fall Writing Frenzy Winners Analysis and Friday for another author interview and giveaway!


Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

44 thoughts on “Picture Books I Love, Some Things I Like as an Agent, and Other Tips about Connecting with an Agent

  1. Thanks so much for sharing, Kaitlyn ❤️ I enjoyed learning more about you and what you like. I know some of the books you mentioned. I love those too! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, Kaitlyn! I will think and let you know okay. I’m going through my library online to borrow some of the books you mentioned. I think my library is so small compared to the selections I’ve seen people posted on Twitter about what they were able to borrow. Hope I get to find some haha… Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season ❤ Stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for giving us a little peek at your ‘bookshelf’ of favorite PBs. Plus the photos of you–so fun!

    Picture books are such a wonderful art form, aren’t they? Planting Stories and A Stone Sat Still are on my list of favorites as well. The Little Blue Cottage will always be extremely special to me as it was one of the 1st stories that I’d ever critiqued in my 1st PB class. The author Kelly Jordan is an INCREDIBLE writer with a real gift for lush & evocative language, plus she’s a lovely person. You would like her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. omg you got to help crit Little Blue Cottage?!? Can you introduce me to this wonderful Kelly?? I’d love to pick her brain! And of course you did, your insight was probably so helpful! and thanks, I like those pics too (though I couldn’t find many without my little cutie ha, which those pics are actually better, but I try not to put her in social places much as she gets older) I love that we have some similarities on our bookshelves, feel free to share some that I don’t have on here that you love 😉


  3. Thanks for the treasure trove of info, Kaitlyn.  I enjoyed your talk at Palooza!

    Lizzie Maxwell310-592-7997 cell “There is only one way to avoid criticism; do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing”                                       Aristotle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing this on your blog! As fast as I tried to write, I didn’t get down all the books you like. I think I have over a hundred new books to check out from the Palooza 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I’m a speedy talker and had only a few minutes left, so sorry I didn’t do the handout right, but so happy you were able to get the list here 🙂 enjoy all the new books, but don’t let it overwhelm you, pick a few and start there 😉 I have a list that my twitter/blog friends inspired me to do with authors, illustrators, publishers, dates of publication, and my thoughts, if you’re writing, I highly encourage this


  5. Wow! Thanks for sharing this ! I love the kidlit community! Seems we never stop learning! (oops, guess that’s the teacher in me !!)
    Looking forward to week 4 of Fall Writing Frenzy Analysis! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this, Kaitlyn! Ive got some great titles to request for my library, but seeing we share lots of favorites. Of course, with PBs, it’s hard not to fall in love with so many.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! So funny you should ask. I went back to re-read your list… Does she have Giraffe Problems? yep. Does she have The Stuff of Stars? yep. What about All the World? of course. So, looking at my shelf and my kindle, here are some other favorites: Dandy (Ame Dyckman and Charles Santoso), The Scarecrow (Beth Ferry and The Fan Brothers), Blue on Blue (Dianne White and Felicita Sala), The Green Umbrella (Jackie Azua Kramer and Maral Sassouni), Giant Squid (Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann), and Swashby by the Sea (Beth Ferry and Juana Martinez-Neal)… 🙂 And so many more, but we all know that because we love books! And I will say, Fry Bread is at the top of my list, too, so it deserves another mention here… LOVE, love, love!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. omg of course! You know we LOVE it! Kiara’s favorite spread is with the carrot and I can’t say how many amazing things I love about this book, the fantastic premise, characterization, puns, amazing art, humor, and heart! You all are amazing, I can’t wait to read your MG, I can image how great it’s going to be! Thank you and Jorge for sharing this story with the world!


      1. I’m furiously trying to get this MG done! Phew! And i hope you and Kiara will enjoy our second book with Lee and Low when it comes out.

        Can’t wait to see the story you began during last year’s Palooza!!! PS, I’m happy you are agent-family with Matt T and Mindy!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great interview, Kaitlyn. It was fun getting to know you better. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite picture books. I especially enjoyed the biographies, Queen of Physics and Nothing Stopped Sophie. So inspiring! And the heartwarming book, Harold Loves His Wooly Hat.

    I love any picture book by Oliver Jeffers, That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell, and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka.

    Liked by 1 person

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