Kayla Cichello brings to Upstart Crow Literary nearly a decade of experience in children’s publishing. A former Conference Coordinator for the Summer and Winter Conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she most recently logged several years as assistant to Senior Agent Jennifer Rofé at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She is open to picture books through YA and illustrators, and select adult manuscripts in the upmarket and contemporary romance categories. She is searching for those voices that make her laugh and keep the page turning. Some of her clients include author Ana Ot, author of the upcoming THE HEART NEVER FORGETS (Atheneum/S&S, 2024) and author/illustrator Kirbi Fagan, illustrator of the New York Times Bestselling A HORSE NAMED SKY (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2023) and several unannounced upcoming projects.

In her own words: “I’ve always been a voracious reader. From the time I could read, I would spend summers staying up late with a flashlight reading, making my way through each Nancy Drew mystery and the Little House on The Prairie series. I would often imagine myself as a new character in the stories; a kind friend to Laura or Nancy’s sassy sidekick (move over, George). For me, reading has never felt like an escape from reality, but rather an invitation to run alongside the author’s imagination, and strengthen my own. Weekends always included a trip to the library with a list of books to check out and back up selections in case my first choices were currently checked out.

"Hailing from Texas, I did not take the traditional path into publishing. After majoring in English at the University of Texas, I found my way to California and into the generous and welcoming tribe of SCBWI. I owe my education in children’s books to Lin Oliver, Kim Turrisi, and Jennifer Rofé, each of whom imparted on me their knowledge of and passion for this industry.

“I may have upgraded from a flashlight, but I’m still on the lookout for those stories that will make me stay up late turning the next page.”