Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Dear Query Shark,

Molly is a seven year old with a big problem. Her mom has not been acting normally for days. She stays in her bedroom for hours and Molly can hear her crying. Why?

The answer will be revealed as the story unfolds. Molly's mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Molly and her family live with all the ups and downs of going through cancer.

This is a book to read to children to help them understand what to expect when breast cancer has become an unwelcome guest in their family.

As a breast cancer survivor and mother myself, I want to write this book to make it easier for parents to answer questions that children may have about Mom, Grandma, an aunt or a friend as they go through this very common cancer.

This is my first book, and I'd like your opinion of my idea. I'm planning on it being a 32 page book with illustrations. Thank you for your time.

First, you're not writing to an agent to get his/her opinion of your idea. You're writing to ask them to represent it. You don't have to say that, but the universal purpose of a query letter is "do you want to take me on as a client."

Second, you want to give us a sense of the story of the book. Molly's mom is sad...then what.

There are 100 books that come up when you look for "telling kids about cancer" on Amazon so you'll also need to mention what makes this book different/better/ special.


1 comment:

Julia said...

In addition to taking your wise advice, I think the poster should probably visit the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators boards and the forums at to get feedback from other children's writers.

Children's publishing has a lot of niche-specific shibboleths and customs, and this iteration of this query isn't on the mark with those.