What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
We say on our website that we are looking to represent evergreens—books that will stand the test of time. I love this philosophy, as I have never chased trends in what I look to represent, and I do not believe that authors should do so—especially in children’s fiction, where I think what we are looking for is always changing. Good books are impervious to trends!
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I would love to find a new, realistic middle-grade novel with a complex story, along the lines of Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s Under the Egg, which combines an art mystery with history. Or Varian Johnson’s upcoming middle-grade book, The Parker Inheritance, which could be described as The Westing Game meets Holes, centering on two 12-year-olds who search their small Southern town for the hidden will of an eccentric millionaire who disappeared years before, confronting the town’s divided past and their own family secrets. These are the kinds of combinations that I loved as a young reader and that I still love.
I have said before that I am looking for a YA Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and this is still on my wish list—something that is funny and true and has layers and layers of storytelling. Offbeat and unpredictable—which applies to middle-grade as well!
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I do not think any subject is off-limits, but I don’t request a lot of conventional romance stories. I do love stories about close friendships—a relationship that I think can be even more fraught than a romantic one for middle-graders and teens. Kim Savage’s thrillers are a great example of this; her books explore the dark side of girl friendships and also a close and often all-consuming sister relationship. Also, Nina LaCour’s forthcoming We Are Okay, an exquisite rendering of grief and love and friendship.
What is unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
I started my career in adult books and still represent adult fiction, but my list is primarily YA and middle-grade, and I think it is an incredibly exciting time to be in children’s publishing. Children’s books are more important than ever, and this community is passionate about creating lifelong readers and about advocating for those young readers.
I joined Pippin in the fall, and it is as supportive and collaborative a team as I could imagine. We are devoted to finding and representing the best books. I think what sets Pippin apart is our particular fierceness about creating the largest footprint possible for our books and authors through not only the original U.S. deal, but also foreign, audio, live-stage, film, permissions, merchandise, etc., and also marketing. We are obsessive about every detail and license.
Sara Crowe is a senior agent at New York–based literary agency Pippin Properties. She began her career at the Wylie Agency and worked in foreign rights for eight years. For the last decade, she was at Harvey Klinger, Inc., building a list of children’s and adult fiction, including many New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors and titles. She loves finding new talent to champion and nurturing and developing careers.