Rachael Stein

Rachael Stein – Editor

Experienced children's book editor who's passionate about helping you bring your stories to life.


I am freelance children's book editor with 5 years of in-house experience, specializing in developmental editing, line editing, and Americanization. At Sterling Publishing and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I've worked on children's books for all age levels - picture books, board books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. I've also worked on a range of genres, including contemporary realistic fiction, humor, science fiction/fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction. Some titles that I've edited include MARTIN MCLEAN, MIDDLE SCHOOL QUEEN by Alyssa Zaczek, which was a Kirkus best middle grade book of the year and a Winter 2019-2020 Indie Next pick; QUEEN OF PHYSICS by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang, which won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and is an NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Book; and the Sam Wu chapter book series by Katie and Kevin Tsang.

Beyond my in-house experience, I also have 2.5+ years of experience working directly with writers through writing course instruction, workshops, and critiques. I have co-taught two writing courses through Children's Book Academy, led group critiques through Inked Voices, and done workshops and one-on-one critiques for SCBWI conferences around the world.

I'm passionate about working with creators to help them tell the stories they're excited about. No matter what stage of the writing and publishing process you're at, I'd love to work with you to develop your project into a satisfying story and take your writing to the next level.
Children’s Non-Fiction
Middle Grade Middle Grade Fantasy Picture Books Social & Family Issues
English (US)

Work experience


Oct, 2018 — Present

I love working with children's book writers at all stages of the writing and publishing process, including agented and unagented writers who are pursuing traditional and self publishing. I provide editorial assessments/manuscript critiques, developmental editing, and line editing for picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA.

Sterling Children's Books

Sep, 2018 — Dec, 2019 (about 1 year)

Acquire and edit children's books for all age levels - picture books, board books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, and nonfiction. Titles I've worked on include MARTIN MCLEAN, MIDDLE SCHOOL QUEEN by Alyssa Zaczek, which received a starred Kirkus review and is a Winter 2019-2020 Indie Next pick; QUEEN OF PHYSICS by Teresa Robeson, illustrated by Rebecca Huang, which received a starred Booklist review; and the third and fourth titles in the Sam Wu chapter book series by Katie and Kevin Tsang.

Children's Book Academy

Aug, 2017 — Dec, 2019 (over 2 years)

Co-teach courses on writing picture books and writing middle grade/chapter books. Provide feedback and guidance to students through one-on-one sessions as well as group webinars. At least three students I've taught have received book deals for projects they started in the course.


Who’s afraid of spiders? NOT SAM WU! In this fourth book in the hilarious series, Sam must conquer his fears and help save the school pet tarantula. Sam Wu is NOT afraid of anything. Well, maybe some things—like ghosts, sharks . . . and the dark's pretty scary... read more
When two creatures are different, can they still be pals? A sweet pop-up book about friendship, from the creator of The Color Monster. Ralph is a roly-poly. Rita is a firefly. They are very different, and that is why they like each other . . . until, one day, ... read more
K-pop is HOT—and this is the essential guide to all the genre’s fiercest bands, including BTS, Blackpink, EXO, and Red Velvet! In 2018, K-Pop (Korean Pop) broke out on the global stage, with boy-band BTS releasing two number-one albums in the US and selling ou... read more
From a bestselling author, an edgy, voice-driven novel set in a not-so-distant-future world about teens trying to survive when attacks by an unknown terrorist organization throw the entire planet into chaos. Just right for fans of Tommy Wallach's We All Looked... read more
Gutsy girls and strong women make up the diverse and appealing crew of a pirate ship that battles intrigue and deadly monsters in an action-filled fantasy adventure. “Combine a pirate adventure of mythic proportions, a uniquely charming cast of characters, and... read more

Sarah L.

What’s for dinner? How about skizzle klumps n’ gizzardlumps? A hilarious look at mealtime with a pair of persnickety eaters, in the most fun made-up language ever! Would you like a bite of frizzle frazzle hotchy potch? How about a plate of mushy gushy bloobars... read more
Bunnies, pandas, and monkeys, oh my! For fans of Ada Twist, Scientist, this picture book about finding your perfect pet introduces basic STEAM and coding concepts—and some ridiculously adorable animals! Katie is an ordinary girl who longs for an extraordinary ... read more
The inspiring story of Dr. Patricia Bath, a groundbreaking ophthalmologist who pioneered laser surgery—and gave her patients the gift of sight. Born in the 1940s, Patricia Bath dreamed of being an ophthalmologist at a time when becoming a doctor wasn’t a caree... read more
In this bighearted middle-grade debut, Martin McLean struggles to find his voice—and his inner diva—as he navigates friendship, family, first crushes, and a whole lot of glitter.“An amusing story that's bursting with diversity at every turn. . . . A tasty trea... read more
Holidays are FUN—and this entertaining nonfiction picture book introduces kids to 14 celebrations from around the world! Across the globe, every country has its special holidays. From Brazilian carnival and Chinese New Year to France’s Bastille Day and our ver... read more
Musical Mac

Brendan K.

When a millipede can’t find a band to join, he finds a way to make his own special kind of music!“ . . . richly detailed artwork, colorful characters, and strong narrative will make for an enjoyable, musically oriented storytime.” —Booklist Online Mac the mill... read more
He’s faced ghosts, sharks, and now the DARK! This third book in the humorous series takes Sam Wu on a brand-new adventure: camping. Is he prepared for the scariest thing he may ever encounter? Sam Wu is NOT afraid of the dark—but proving how brave you are is h... read more
In this fun young-middle-grade novel with STEM appeal, Parker really wants to win the school Science Triathlon—but first she’ll have to figure out how to keep her BFF from being stolen.Budding scientist Parker Bell really wants to win the school Science Triath... read more

Rachael has 21 reviews





Elienne L.

Elienne L.

Feb, 2023

Rachael is smart, detail-oriented, professional, considerate, insightful and positive. It's been a delight to work with her and I will continue to do so.
Laura T.

Laura T.

Dec, 2022

Well done.
Diane C.

Diane C.

Nov, 2022

Rachael has been invaluable to me in my work on children's picture books. She's patient, extremely knowledgeable, and has many talents. I enlisted her help with my latest children's book, "What to do With a Ginormous Puppy," in editing the book but also preparing it for publication. The latter was especially helpful as I found the process confusing.
Anuoluwapo O.

Anuoluwapo O.

Oct, 2021

Working with Rachael has been an all-round positive experience. She is incredibly professional and transparent about her editing process. Her work on my manuscript applied a level of much-needed rigour to my book and I am very glad I made the choice to go ahead with her services. Thanks ever so much for being excellent in your craft, Rachael! I look forward to working with you on future projects.
Erica B.

Erica B.

Oct, 2021

Rachael was fantastic to work with. Supportive and constructive, she was able to pitch her feedback and answers to our questions in a way that we would understand it and stay motivated. She’s given lots of tips for us to progress on our publishing journey. As a parent supporting a young writer, I was also incredibly impressed by her ability to connect with a younger writer’s work and provide ...
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