Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #16

Dear Ms. Sciuto:

My agent and I parted ways earlier this year when she decided to pursue her own writing, and so I am seeking new representation.  In an online interview, you said that you are very hands-on, and that Full Circle supports authors through the entire publication process. This is exactly the kind of representation I am looking for, and so my picture book, FLOODED: THE TRUE STORY OF A GIRL AND HER DOGS, is pasted below for your consideration.

Six-year old Cadence and her family face a devastating flood. As Cadence fears for the fate of her dogs, she must also accept the destruction of her town and home. When she finally reconnects with her beloved pups, Cadence realizes just how much she still has, and is flooded with gratitude.

There are only a few picture books about floods, and I couldn't find any that focus on the worry a child feels about pets that are left behind. After Sandy struck the East Coast, it became clear that FLOODED would be meaningful to many children. At 704 words, this story will appeal to fans of Jacqueline Woodson’s EACH KINDNESS and Alvaro Villa's FLOOD.

I am an active member of the SCBWI, and my article, “Flopping Frogs” is in Highlights’s September issue. Recently, I received a fellowship to attend the Vermont Studio Center for my adult non-fiction writing. I have been an elementary school teacher and an instructor in Early Childhood and Adolescent Education at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Please note that FLOODED is on multiple submission.

Thank you for your time.



I want to play fetch with my dogs.           

Sierra jumps with her ball, and Freud’s got a hopeful grin.

But it’s raining. Again. And the creek looks mean.

“We’ll play after school,” I tell them.  “Promise.”

When Mom says it’s time to go, I grab my backpack.

I don’t want to close the doggie gate, but I do…house rules.

Like always, Sierra leaps at the gate and Freud whines.  

“I’ll be back soon,” I say, wishing I could take them with me. Then Mom and I walk out to the bus. 

The ground squishes beneath our feet.


At school, Lily asks, “Is the creek gonna flood again?”

Ms. Weiss can’t stop talking about the weather.

I twist my bracelets into figure eights. Sierra and Freud like to hide under my bed during storms, but they’re locked in the mudroom. 

It rains during math. 

It rains harder during spelling.

During gym, Ms. Weiss announces early dismissal. I bite my nails until Dad comes to take me home to my dogs.


It’s colder now, and I shiver under my raincoat. We drive slowly past Lily’s house, the gas station, the corner store that sells Freud’s favorite treats.

Suddenly, Dad stops. Water gushes across the road. 

“Sierra! Freud!”

I try to open the door, but Dad stops me. I can barely hear him. “There’s nothing we can do, Cadence.” 

I hug my backpack all the way to Grammy’s.


K. L. Hallam said...

Your query almost made me tear up. This sounds like a wonderful and Important PB story to tell. It's a question that lingers for all children, I'm sure. What happens to the animals after the flood. Best of Luck getting this into the hands of children! :)


This is such a great premise for a children's picture book. The query is great.

I could feel the emotion in the text and wished illustration existed to go with such a compelling story.

Good luck.

Jill said...

Great query and nice story. I always feel like my kids deal better with issues if they can read them in a picture book. Best of luck!

Darshana said...

Great query. I remember reading it on WriteOnCon. Best of luck.

Margaret G. said...

Very tight query AND story. I also remember your query from WOC. I would love to read more. Great job!

Candice said...

I thought you did a wonderful job building suspense and emotion in your first 250 without any redundancy that sometimes goes along with picture books.

I grew up near two rivers so our home flooded very frequently but the one that sticks out most in my mind was when we lost 6 puppies and 5 rabbits to the floodwaters so I can definitely see a market for this.

Agent Sara Sciuto said...

This is a great query! I really appreciate the originality of the concept and I like that it has a nonfiction book. I couldn't think of a picture book out there about floods, so I think there could definitely be a spot in the marketplace for this. It also sounds like it was inspired by a true story of a girl and her dogs, which gives the concept more impact for me.

I really enjoyed the sample pages. I had an emotional connection with the girl and felt the tension of the coming storm/flood. I wanted to keep reading!

P.B. said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments! It's nice to hear you all think I've handled the query and story well (at least the first 250 words). Happy, happy, happy me!