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Black Voices: Pushing for Change in Children’s Book Publishing

As a part of our Black Voices: Pushing for Change program, the Authors Guild Foundation is launching Office Hours, a series of small group chats between agents, editors, and other industry professionals and Black children’s book writers and illustrators.

Office Hours will give Black children’s book writers and illustrators an opportunity to directly engage with a professional in the children’s book industry, to ask questions and network. 

Office Hours Appointments Are Now Available!

Each session will have limited space on a first-come, first-served basis for about 10 participants, and will be conducted online via Zoom conference. These events are free and available to both Authors Guild members and nonmembers. Each writer is only allowed to join one Office Hours session in this session so that as many writers as possible have a chance to attend.

If you are a Black children’s book writer or illustrator interested in participating in Office Hours, please choose a time slot below that best fits your category. 

Mid-Career Writers

The Office Hours events below are for mid-career Black children’s book writers. Please sign up if you have published two or more books.

Kandace Coston 
Assistant Editor
Lee & Low Books

Kandace Coston is the assistant editor at Lee & Low Books, the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the U.S. After graduating from Barnard College, Columbia University, she won an internship grant with We Need Diverse Books and joined the Lee & Low team.

Sign up to attend Kandace’s Office Hours
Date: Monday, August 31
Time: 5:30 p.m. EST 

Emerging Writers

The Office Hours events below are for emerging Black children’s book writers. Please sign up if you have a serious intent to publish a book or have published fewer than two books.

Cheryl Klein
Editorial Director
Lee & Low Books 

Cheryl Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books, where she edits picture books and select middle-grade and YA fiction and nonfiction. She is also the author of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults and several picture books. You can find her online at and @chavelaque. 

Sign up to attend Cheryl’s office hours
Date: Monday, August 24
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Lara Perkins 
Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. 

Lara represents authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade books, and YA fiction. She has been with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2010 and is also the agency’s digital manager. Lara has a BA in English and Fine Arts from Amherst College and an MA in English Literature from Columbia University, where she studied feminist and postcolonial theory with a focus on Victorian British literature.

Sign up to attend Lara’s Office Hours
Date: Thursday, August 27
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST 

Caryn Wiseman
Senior Agent
Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.

Caryn has been an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2003, and she has sold over 450 books. She handles children’s books only: YA and middle grade fiction and nonfiction, graphic novels, chapter books, and fiction and nonfiction picture books. She represents New York Times bestselling authors, award-winning authors, debut authors, and authors at every stage in between. You can find her on Facebook at caryn.wiseman and on Twitter @carynwiseman.

Sign up to attend Caryn’s Office Hours
Date: Tuesday, September 1
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Note: While Office Hours is not intended for directly pitching book ideas to agents, it will offer a chance to learn about the publishing process and get answers to the questions you have about completing your next children’s book and getting it published. Later in the fall, Office Hours participants will be able to apply for a limited number of manuscript critiques.