Stephanie Pitts, editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, works on picture books and middle grade novels. I listened to her speak at the SCBWI WWA Spring Conference in April.
In terms of subject matter, she is looking for diversity: racial, religion, ethnic, different ways of thinking. She feels, "there are not enough diverse authors coming up the pipeline." If you are not writing about your own experience make sure you are adding something to the mix. Do your research because you are representing the culture/voice that you're writing about.
She is always on the lookout for unique and irresistible picture book manuscripts, particularly smart, humorous texts, amazing-but-true stories, and picture book biographies. She is also interested in character-driven chapter books, middle grade and YA with a strong voice, and page turning narrative non-fiction for young readers. She would love to see highly original fairy tale retellings and literary graphic novels.
Her advice to writers?
2. Read widely in your own genre.
3. Apply elements you like to your own writing.
4. There are never too many dinosaur or truck picture books ;)
Submissions must go through Penguin Random House. I do not have a direct link for you.