Justin Chanda, VP & Publisher

Justin Chanda joined the editorial staff at Simon & Schuster in 2005 after an eight-year stint at HarperCollins.  A graduate of New York University, Justin was named publisher of the S&S Books for Young Readers imprint in 2007 and McElderry Books and Atheneum Books for Young Readers in 2009. He oversees the publication of two hundred and fifty titles per year ranging from the youngest picture book to the edgiest YA. He is keenly interested in publishing books that are equal parts commercial and literary, books that make a contribution to the tradition, while truly entertaining kids. Aside from having the honor of working with the best editorial staff in the industry, he also has the opportunity to edit some of its best talent, including the likes of: Jon Scieszka, Loren Long, Kenneth Oppel, Patricia MacLachlan, Peter Brown, Michael Ian Black, Karma Wilson, Debbie Ohi, and Morgan Matson.  Justin has been a board member of the Children’s Book Council and is also an adjunct instructor for the NYU Graduate Publishing Program.

Anne Zafian, VP & Deputy Publisher

As Deputy Publisher, Anne works closely with the Publisher on key aspects of our business.  She oversees our marketing team and marketing plans and works closely with both the sales team and supply chain organization to maximize sales and manage inventory. Anne joined S&S in 2004. Before joining the publishing team in 2008 as Deputy, she was a VP in our sales department, responsible for both adult and children’s book sales.  Prior to that, she worked in sales at what is now known as Hachette Book Group USA, including Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where her love of children’s books was first fostered.

Caitlyn Dlouhy, VP & Editorial Director, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Give her a voice that startles or sings, spits or seduces, or just plain cracks her up, and Caitlyn Dlouhy will be interested. She publishes everything from middle grade and teen fiction to picture books, as well as a smattering of graphic novels, nonfiction, and poetry and most prefers the unusual and the unexpected—stories that stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. Her books have been awarded a Newbery Medal and Honors, Coretta Scott King Awards in both writing and illustration, Edgar Awards and Christopher Medals, PEN USA Literary Awards,  have been chosen as National Book Medalist and Finalists, have topped the New York Times bestseller list (and the most banned books in America list), and most recently All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely won the debut WALTER Award. Some of her authors and illustrators include Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathi Appelt, Jennifer Bradbury, Ashley Bryan, Doreen Cronin, Frances O’Roark Dowell, Sharon Draper, Candace Fleming, William Joyce, Heather Henson, Richard Jackson, Cynthia Kadohata, Betsy Lewin, Alison McGhee, An Na, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Jason Reynolds, Peter Reynolds, Eric Rohman, Anna Shinoda, and David Small, just to name a few. Look for these recently released and upcoming publications to get a taste of what Caitlyn has been up to lately: Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson; Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce; Trouble the Water by Frances O'Roark Dowell; Bloom by Doreen Cronin and David Small; Brave as You by Jason Reynolds; Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu;  The Chicken Squad: Into the Wild by Doreen Cronin; Suite for Human Nature by Diane Lampert and Eric Puybaret; Have a Look Says Book by Richard Jackson and Kevin Hawkes; Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee; Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn; and The Last Execution by Jesper Wung-Sung.

Richard Jackson, Editorial Director, Richard Jackson Books

Richard Jackson has discovered some of the most significant authors in the field of youth literature, including Judy Blume, Paula Fox, George Ella Lyon, Virginia Hamilton, Chris Raschka, Angela Johnson, and Brian Floca. He has brought forth writers who have challenged and widened the range of acceptable topics for youth literature, as well as authors and illustrators who have broadened the reach of multicultural youth publishing.

Jackson co-founded Bradbury Press in 1968, Orchard in 1986, and DK Ink in 1996.  He retired from publishing in June 2005, but continues to be the Editorial Director of Richard Jackson Books, an imprint of Atheneum Books for Young Readers. In his forty-eight year career, Jackson has published many award-winning authors and illustrators, and launched many young careers. Citations for works he has edited or published include: sixteen Newbery or Newbery Honors; five Caldecott or Caldecott Honors; one National Book Award, two Coretta Scott King Medals or honors; one Edgar Award, two Sibert Honors, seven Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards or honors; one Scott O’Dell Award; one Charlotte Zolotow Award, and two Mildred Batchelder Awards.

He has served as the Chairman of the Children’s Book Council, gave the 2005 Arbuthnot Honor lecture, and has been honored with a LMP Award for Editorial Excellence and in March, 2002, the Otter Award, given by the booksellers of Northern California.

Reka Simonsen, Executive Editor

Reka Simonsen is the newest member of the Atheneum team. She edits all across the age range, though her favorite kinds of books to work on are middle grade and YA novels, especially fantasy. She is looking for believable, engaging characters and stellar writing with the power to move her in some way, whether to tears or laughter, rage, or undying love. She has been lucky enough to work with Lloyd Alexander, Paul Fleischman, Margarita Engle, Donna Jo Napoli, Lish McBride, Alethea Kontis, Catherine Jinks, Chris Moriarty, Lynne Jonell, Julie Paschkis, and Sean Qualls, among others. Books she has edited have received a Newbery Honor, a Geisel Honor, a Coretta Scott King Honor, Americás Awards and Honors, Pura Belpré Awards and Honors, Jane Addams Peace Awards and Honors, a Christopher Medal, a Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor, and have been finalists for the Morris Award, the Andre Norton Award, and the Edgar Award.

Emma Ledbetter, Editor

Emma joined Simon & Schuster in 2011 following internships at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr. She graduated from Yale University with a BA in Art History, where she wrote her thesis on the art of Little Golden Books and (re)discovered her passion for children's literature. Books that Emma has edited include Ida, Always by Caron Levis, illustrated by Charles Santoso, which The New York Times called "an example of children's books at their best," and The Sword in the Stove, a hilarious whodunit from Frank W. Dormer. Emma looks for captivating voices, enchanting artwork, humor, and charm in a range of formats—particularly picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels. She is especially fond of Edward Gorey, Clementine, and Frances the Badger. (Bonus points if you can decipher her Frances-related Twitter handle, @brdnjamforemma).

Alexa Pastor, Assistant Editor

Alexa Pastor joined Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, and Margaret K. McElderry Books in August of 2014. As assistant to Justin Chanda she is lucky enough to work with some of the most amazing talents in the industry including Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Morgan Matson, E. R. Frank, Kenneth Oppel, Mike Lupica, Dan Krall, and Karma Wilson. Prior to landing her dream job, Alexa interned at both Bloomsbury Children’s Books and Running Press Kids, was a bookseller at Barnes and Noble, and graduated summa cum laude from Villanova University with BAs in English and Honors and a concentration in writing and rhetoric.   She completed her master’s degree in Children’s and Young Adult Publishing at Rosemont College in 2015. She is acquiring picture books, middle grade, and YA with fresh, honest voices that demand to be heard and stories that make her laugh or cry enough that people look at her sideways on her long commute. You can follow Alexa on Twitter @Alexa_Pastor926.

Natascha Morris, Editorial Assistant

Natascha Morris joined Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books as an editorial assistant in May 2015. She assists Reka Simonsen on a wonderful range of young adult, middle grade, and picture books. Before joining Atheneum, Natascha worked as an Editorial Assistant at Thieme Publishers. Prior, she interned at Sourcebooks and Publishers Weekly. Natascha graduated from Hendrix College, where she earned her BA in English Literature and a minor in German, and holds a M.S. in Publishing from Pace University. Natascha is drawn to stories that transport readers' minds and imagination beyond their everyday lives through characters that stay long after the final pages.