Laura Atkins

Laura Atkins – Editor

Children's book author, editor and teacher with almost 30 years of experience and a focus on diversity and equity in children's books.


I'm a freelance children's book author and editor with close to 30 years of experience in the children's publishing industry. I've worked on a New York Times best-seller, a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, and others. My specialty is picture books, though I've edited middle grade and YA. I'm passionate about diversity and equity in children's books, and am selective about which projects I will edit. Now as co-author of books in the Fighting for Justice series, I've learned more about marketing and building a platform for social justice books. I work with many people who choose self-publishing as a way to get their books out into the world.

Children’s Non-Fiction
Middle Grade Picture Books Young Adult
English (US)
  • For Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (author), Carter G. Woodson Award from the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Award, the New-York Historical Society Children’s Book Award, the Social Justice Literature Award from the International Reading Association (ILA)
  • I See the Rhythm, Children’s Book Press, 1998, Assistant Editor Corretta Scott King Award for Illustration; Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998; American Library Association Notable Book
  • Sammy and the Dinosaurs, Orchard Books, 1999, Editor Children’s Book of the Month Club Selection; School Library Guild Selection; “Starred Review,” Publishers Weekly ; “Starred Review,” School Library Journal
  • DeShawn Days, Lee & Low Books, 2001, Editor “Starred Review,” School Library Journal; “Choices,” Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC); 2003 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award, Masterlist; Children’s Literature, Choice List 2002
  • Love to Langston, Lee & Low Books, 2002, Editor “Starred Review,” Kirkus Reviews; Best Books 2002, School Library Journal; Bank Street Bookstore’s Bestseller 2002; “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing,” The New York Public Library, 2002; NCTE Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts for 2003 (National Council for Teachers of English)
  • MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • MA in Children's Literature, Roehampton University, London

Work experience


Sep, 2006 — Present

Offering a range of services, including children’s book editing for Parallax Press, Blood Orange Press, and City Lights Books on the New York Times best-selling Rad American Women A-Z; manuscript critiquing and editing for individuals and self-publishers; running creative writing workshops and writing groups. See full portfolio at


Jan, 2006 — Jan, 2008 (about 2 years)

Co-founder and director of festival, including shaping programme, hiring speakers and PR, with authors/illustrators including David Almond, Michelle Magorian, Emily Gravett, and Polly Dunbar


Aug, 2003 — Jun, 2005 (almost 2 years)

Researching and editing content for international website with a focus on children’s literature from and about the Pacific Rim and South Asia, including interviews with authors and researching new books

Roehampton University, London

Oct, 2002 — Sep, 2004 (almost 2 years)

Part-time, responsible for planning and running conferences, including the annual British IBBY (International Board on Books for Young Readers)/NCRCL conferences (2002–2008) and CLISS (Children’s Literature International Summer School; 2003, 2005 and 2007)

Lee & Low books

Jul, 1999 — Jul, 2001 (about 2 years)

Responsible for acquiring and editing three to five multicultural picture books per year, including finding and editing manuscripts, selecting artists, and working with freelance designers on art direction

Orchard Books

Jul, 1998 — Jul, 1999 (about 1 year)

Working with the Publisher on the acquisition and development of 12 to 18 books per year, especially imports; managing and evaluating submissions

Children's Book Press

Oct, 1994 — Jul, 1998 (over 3 years)

Working with Publisher to acquire and develop three to five multicultural and bilingual picture books per year; finding and managing relationships with freelance designers


I See the Rhythm

Toyomi Igus

This award-winning picture book invites children along to dance to the rhythm of swing at the Savoy in Harlem, to rejoice to the rhythm of gospel from a church pew on a Sunday morning, and more. Each stunning spread—including art, poetic text, a description of... read more
No one knows how the idea of a New York bagel popped into Yum Yung's head -- perhaps it was inspired by a dream, or by listening to sparrows' songs. Yum Yung lives in Korea where there are no New York bagels, and one day he just knows he has to have one. This ... read more
In a dusty old box in the attic, Sammy finds some dinosaurs that his sister says are junk, but Sammy knows better, and takes care of each one, and they begin talking to Sammy, but just loud enough for him to hear. Children's BOMC Main. Jr Lit Guild.
Barnabas loves helping his family. His "help" comes in the form of barking, tooting, and drooling. Barnabas' family; however, has had enough of his bad manners. Will obedience school change Barnabas' bad-mannered ways or will his family be forced to live with ... read more
Mr. Pack Rat is a particularly acquisitive small mammal with a hoarding problem (sound like someone you know?). Through trial and error, he begins to question whether having more things is really the secret to happiness.Although real life pack rats (genus Neot... read more
The New York Times Bestseller!"This is The Most Inspiring Children’s Book We've Ever Seen.""The very first kids' book released by the iconic publishing house City Lights, Rad American Women A-Z navigates the alphabet from Angela Davis to Zora N... read more
Love to Langston

Tony Medina

Fourteen poems offer young readers an exciting glimpse into the life of Langston Hughes, one of America’s most beloved poets. Each poem explores important themes in Hughes’s life — his lonely childhood, his love of language and travel, and his dream of writing... read more
Pot that Juan built, The

Nancy Andrews-Goebel

Quezada creates stunning pots in the traditional style of the Casas Grandes people, including using human hair to make brushes and cow dung to feed the fire. This real-life story is written in the form of "The House That Jack Built," and relays how JuanÂ’s pio... read more
The first book in the Fighting for Justice series Winner, Carter G. Woodson Book AwardWinner, New-York Historical Society Children's Book PrizeWinner, Social Justice Literature AwardHonor Title, Jane Addams Children's Book AwardFinalist, 2017 Cybils AwardsNomi... read more
When Jasper the dachshund hears about the world's biggest dog sled race in Alaska, he just knows he can win. And when his family goes to watch the race, he decides to enter. Jasper tries every position, but he's too little and doesn't fit in the sled's harness... read more

Laura has 1 review





Guy B.

Guy B.

Feb, 2019

Laura really helped me think of ways I could bring my Manuscript to life. I'm thrilled that I decided to work with her. She answered all the questions I had promptly. If you take your craft seriously and would like to grow as a writer while expanding on your ideas, I would recommend collaborating. Thank you!!
Laura A.
Thanks, Guy! It was such a pleasure to work with you, and I'm really excited to see this book in the world. Now I look around and see clouds in a whole new way. :)

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