Tag Archives: Charles Santoso

On Reading and Writing: Tapping into your Kid

I remember back when my grandmother was in her 80s she told me she didn’t necessarily feel older or even wiser than she’d ever been. She said that she still just felt like herself, same as she always was. As my mom has aged she’s expressed the same sentiment to me, almost surprised that her exterior doesn’t match her interior. And I find, now being firmly middle aged, that I too don’t feel “middle aged,” whatever that means.

So, what do I feel? Well, I know I have knowledge and wisdom that has come from my lived experiences, including being a parent (which is the most life-altering event that ever happened to me). But also I’ve been alive on the planet for over 50 years now, so I’ve read a shit ton of books, so there’s that. So, I guess I feel kind of different than when I was younger.

Linda & Judi.jpg

Little Linda with my big sister.


But basically, I just feel like myself. Because I’m not that different from the little girl who blurted out the answer in 3rd grade, when the teacher wouldn’t call on me, despite my insistently waving raised hand. And I’m not that different from the young girl who watched with envy as her best friend got her period and even better, got a first boyfriend, back in 7th grade. And also, I’m not that different from the teenaged girl who wrote angsty poetry, protested against nukes, and was known for her potty mouth and stances on social justice issues back in high school.

I know, you’re probably saying to yourself something like Thank you for sharing, Linda. What the fuck does that have to do with reading or writing?

Well, for people like us, who write for children, it’s important to stand in the places and embody the viewpoints of kids. I know as adults we sometimes might want to “teach a lesson” or write something that can be helpful or impactful for kids. That’s ok. But you have to ask yourself, If I were a kid, would I give a shit about reading this book? Speak to what kids are listening for, in words and stories that they can hear. Speak to the kid that you were.

9781481426404.jpgA fantastic picture book that does that, crouching down to kid level, telling a story that includes things they care about, looking at the world through a child’s point of view, is IDA, ALWAYS, written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso. If you haven’t read this story about the polar bears in the Central Park Zoo, go read it right now. Both the story and the pictures are gorgeous and full of love and sadness and hope, and it feels so very true. It feels absolutely child-centric.

9780545270120.jpgA wonderful middle grade book that speaks to kids in kid language is Sarah Weeks’ lovely  PIE . One of the many things I appreciate about this book is its attention to the details that kids notice. And this story is all about details! Physical details and emotional details. Although the book takes a very long view, ending when the main character is an adult (which is unusual for a middle grade story), this story touched my inner 10-year old self absolutely. It also made me quite hungry for pie.

So, when you’re writing, whether it’s for a 4-year old or a 10-year old or a 16-year old, jump back into your 4-year old or 10-year old or 16-year old self. He’s still totally there. She’s still totally accessible. Eye to eye. On their level. Write your books to that self. Truly it’s the way your words and stories and ideas will speak to children’s hearts and minds.

I swear, some days I’m quite certain I’m still 11 or 17 and sometimes 5. At least on my inside. How old do you feel inside? Who do you write to?



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Inside Scoop: Dish From a Literary Agent Intern – Contest Time!


This week I present to you a contest of epic proportion… or rather marginally small proportion, with a few exciting giveaways. ‘Tis the season for blaring Holiday music, over packed stores and chaotic family get togethers that leave you drained and deflated. Well, I don’t think I can help with any of that, but I do know that a way to unwind in times like these is to be creative. At least for me, I know taking time to myself to do something fun, which gets my mind working in a carefree way, always brings me joy. Which is what this season is all about.

So I would like to throw down a book spine poetry contest. The rules are simple, using only book spines, create a poem, take a picture, post it, and the five I like most will win! You can see in the photo above what I am talking about (I wrote that from the inspiration of a special someone). FYI – THE PICTURES AREN’T POSTING IN THE COMMENTS, so after posting your entry in the comments, also email the picture to linda (dot) p (dot) epstein (at) gmail (dot) com.

A few other things:

  • Submissions are being accepted from 6 A.M. Monday, December, 15th to Thursday, December 18th at 8 P.M./EST
  • Post your submission in the comments section of the blog
  • Only 1 entry per person
  • Clients are exempt (sorry guys!)
  • Only for the continental US
  • Winners will be announced Friday, December 19th

imgresIf you follow these guidelines, the best five I find will win some pretty stellar giveaways for their reading (and listening) pleasure. First place will receive an ARC of The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konisberg; second place will receive a 10 minute Skype session with Linda; and runners up will receive The Hunger Games Trilogy book set; an audio of If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth; and an ARC of The Best Friend Battle by Lindsay Eyre (with illustrations by Charles Santoso).

I wish you all the best of luck! Use your originality and talent and send me some authentic pieces of literary masterpieces using… well, literary masterpieces (if you so choose). I look forward to seeing what you all come up with and wish you all very Happy Holidays!!

Kim Photo Bio

Kimberly Richardson is currently interning for Linda Epstein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, while pursuing her Masters degree in Pace University’s Publishing Program. She also interns at the National Association of Professional Women. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688.


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Holiday Presents for Writers and Readers: Book Give-away! Skype With an Agent!

map6Watch the blog next Monday, December 15th

In the spirit of the holiday season,

we will be giving away gifts!

imgresFirst of all, we have an ARC of client Bill Konigsberg’s THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH, (Arthur A. Levine Books, May 2015). Did you love OPENLY STRAIGHT?! How about OUT OF THE POCKET? Well, THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH is the next gem from Bill. The prolific and talented Andrew Smith (WINGER, GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, 100 SIDEWAYS MILES, etc…) said that THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH is “undeniably human and unforgettably wise,” and my very own husband said, “Great characters, great mix of sweet, serious, funny and important.” So there you have it. If you win this little gifty, you’ll get to read Bill’s next book months before anyone else!

imgres-1We also have a galley of Lindsay Eyre’s THE BEST FRIEND BATTLE (Scholastic, March 2015). This is a chapter book for kids aged 7-10, and is illustrated by Charles Santoso. (Charles is also the illustrator of client Joe McGee‘s zombie picture book PEANUT BUTTER AND BRAINS, coming from Abrams in Fall 2015.) If you have a friend who’s in 2nd through 5th grade, this would be a nice present for them!

071913gansworth-ifieverWe’re also giving away a 9 disc audio book of IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE by Eric Gansworth, read by the author. I don’t know about you but I adore hearing books read by the people who wrote them. “Acclaimed adult author Eric Gansworth makes his YA debut with this wry and powerful novel about friendship, memory, and the joy of rock ‘n roll.”

9780545374095But wait! That’s not all! Because we’re also giving away a boxed set of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) in case there’s anyone left on the planet who hasn’t read these books.

Skype Latest Full Version Download Free For 2014 AugustLastly, we’re giving away a 10 minute Skype call with…Me! The winner of this gift will have 10 minutes of my undivided (ADD) attention, to ask questions about publishing, talk about books, ask for advice, etc…(but please don’t pitch me a project please).

So, check back here on Monday morning,

to see how to win one of these cool gifts!

Thank you to Cheryl Klein, Arthur A. Levine Books, and Scholastic, for their generosity in supplying ARCs, galleys, books and audio books, which has allowed me to give away these gifts. Their generosity is appreciated.


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