Pitch Fiesta Update: 15 Writers Matched with Mentors to Prepare for the Event

We’re excited to provide an update on Latin@s in Kid Lit’s first Pitch Fiesta. The deadline for submissions was October 3. We received 21 entries and reduced that number to 15 viable contenders representing middle grade and young adult–realistic, science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, LGBTQ, and Southern Gothic.

So, here’s the thing. We had no idea how many entries to expect. I (Cindy) thought we’d get maybe a half-dozen, which the LiKL crew could easily manage to review and prepare for pitching. So, when we ended up with 15!! viable entries, we flashed the bat signal at our kid lit writer friends. For those of you who don’t know, the kid lit community is awesome, and in no time, we had enough people ready to mentor our writers.

Here’s the process: Each mentor has been matched with a writer. The mentor will review the writer’s query and first pages with a critical eye. The mentor will email comments, thoughts, questions, concerns, suggestions, etc. to the writer. The two will work to make the query and first pages as clean and agent-ready as possible. Polished queries will be posted on our site on November 12-13 for the agents’ review. We hope “I’ve got to have it” type sparks will fly and matches will be made between writers and agents! These sparks of love over a manuscript will eventually lead to more books by and about Latin@s!

For now, though, there’s work to be done. Still, we wanted to publicly say, THANK YOU!!! to the authors who stepped up to help! Many are members of the Fearless Fifteeners, the Diversity League, and/or the We Need Diverse Books Team. They all support diversity in children’s literature and want to “pay forward” the help they received on the path to publishing. Below are all of the mentors. Names and titles match with photos going lef to right. If you click on the photos, you will be taken to the authors’ websites for more information.

Cindy L. Rodriguez: WHEN REASON BREAKS (Bloomsbury)

Ashley Hope Pérez: WHAT CAN’T WAIT and THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY (Carolrhoda Books)

Zoraida Córdova: THE VICIOUS DEEP trilogy (Sourcebooks Fire) and LUCK ON THE LINE (Diversion Books)

Heather Marie: THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME (Curiosity Quills Press)


Erin Entrada Kelly: BLACKBIRD FLY (Greenwillow Books)

A.L. Sonnichsen: RED BUTTERFLY (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Anna-Marie McLemore: THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS (Thomas Dunne)

Ronald L. Smith: HOODOO (Clarion)

Kerry O’Malley Cerra: JUST A DROP OF WATER (Sky Pony Press)

Dhonielle Clayton: TINY PRETTY THINGS (HarperTeen) and THE BELLES (Disney-Hyperion)

Holly Bodger: 5 TO 1 (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung: LITTLE MISS EVIL (Spencer Hill Middle Grade)

Carrie Firestone: The title of Carrie’s debut novel hasn’t been finalized, but she will be published in 2016 by Little Brown & Co.

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Heather-AuthorPhotos-3-WEBSIZE  Kelly Jones  Erin Entrada Kelly A.L. Sonnichsen Anna-Marie McLemoreRonald L. SmithKerry CerraDhonielle Clayton Holly Bodger Kristy and Bryce  profile photo