Names: Dr. Amanda Sullivan & Dr. Amanda Strawhacker, affectionately called “the Amandas” by our friends and the children we work with.
What you Write: We write STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) themed picture books, STEAM activity and curriculum books, and education/parenting related nonfiction.
Agent: Emily Forney
Why BookEnds? When looking for an agency, we wanted to find a place that was invested not only in our current book projects, but our overall careers as writers. BookEnds supports writers in all aspects of their professional journeys and we are so excited to be part of the family and benefit from the wonderful resources they provide! We also chose BookEnds specifically to work with our agent Emily Forney who read our manuscript and completely understands our creative vision. We know our books are in good hands with her!
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
When we aren’t reading or writing, we can usually be found doing something fun and silly with the little ones in our life. Whenever we get the chance, we are in classrooms co-teaching STEM and technology classes and camps for kids in pre-K through early elementary school. We are also both heavily involved with research and development of innovative new learning technologies for young children. So you might find us in a research lab, pilot-testing a new app, or staying up late tinkering with a new robotics kit.
If we aren’t working, Amanda Strawhacker can usually be found on a park or trail with her husband and their dog, Otis, while Amanda Sullivan can be found deeply entrenched in all things #momlife with her newborn baby girl and her preschool aged son.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
- Amanda Sullivan: Twitter @AASully & Instagram @keikisullivan. Website: www.amandaalzenasullivan.com
- Amanda Strawhacker: Twitter @ALStrawhacker & Instagram @ALStrawhacker. Website: www.amandastrawhacker.com
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
The first place we ever took a writing retreat together was a quaint little bed and breakfast in Middleboro, Massachusetts called On Cranberry Pond. It was the perfect weekend full of walks, wine, and lots of writing. In a post-COVID world we’d love to plan a trip to go back there and recreate the magic!
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
We love almost all of the STEAM picture books we see coming out these days, but we continually come back to Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. The message of persistence, creativity, and inclusion in that book always makes us tear up when we read it at circle time! We also love If I Built a Car by Chris van Dussen, for it’s whimsical peek into the whacky, awesome world of a child’s imagination. We love how both books weave the engineering design process into silly stories about play and hard work.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Don’t waste time second guessing yourself or your work. If you have created something you believe in, be bold and brave putting it out there. Also, don’t underestimate the power of social media like Twitter! Not only can you find a wonderful & supportive community of fellow writers, but you may even be connected with your future agent or publisher. We met Emily Forney through the #PitMad event on Twitter so it definitely works!
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
We love collaborating and working together, and we are thrilled to have found a literary agency that embodies that same spirit of collaboration and teamwork. BookEnds has so many experts with diverse backgrounds within the literary world and we are excited to learn from each of them. We are also beyond excited to work with our new agent Emily Forney! She completely understands our vision and “gets” what we want to do with our picture books. We know she will help us create beautiful, playful, diverse, and scientific worlds for children to explore through our books.