Margaret K. McElderry Books

Justin Chanda, Vice President and 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.

Karen Wojtyla, Vice President and Editorial Director

Karen Wojtyla is looking primarily for literary fiction with commercial appeal for a variety of ages, as well as some poetry and narrative nonfiction.


Karen has edited a diverse list of writers including New York Times bestsellers such as Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series and Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales. She has edited many novels from Newbery Honor winner Zilpha Keatley Snyder, most recently William’s Midsummer Dream, the National Book Award winning Goblin Secrets by William Alexander, and the nonfiction A Savage Thunder from Newbery Honor winner Jim Murphy.  Picture books she has edited include bestselling author/artist Karen Katz’s Now I’m Big! and acclaimed illustrator Petra Mathers’ The McElderry Book of Mother Goose.


Her other titles include Newbery winner Susan Cooper’s Ghost Hawk; Holly Black’s Doll Bones; Moira Young’s third volume in the Dust Lands trilogy, Raging Star; Susan Fletcher’s Falcon in the Glass; debut YA novel Chantress from Amy Butler Greenfield; and a new trilogy from bestselling author Cassandra Clare, The Dark Artifices.

Anne Zafian, Vice President and 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. 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.

—  Our Editorial Team  —

Ruta Rimas, Editor

Ruta Rimas joined Simon & Schuster in July 2011. She edits and acquires picture books, middle grade novels, and teen novels for both the Atheneum and Margaret K. McElderry imprints. Prior to S&S, Ruta worked for the Balzer + Bray imprint at HarperCollins. She’s had the honor and privilege of working with some of the most talented authors and illustrators in the industry including Kimberly Derting, Claire Caterer, Elissa Brent Weissman, Melissa Wiley, Lucy Cooke, M.M. Vaughan, Janet Ruth Young, and many others. Ruta loves characters that come to life on the pages, stories that resonate long after the last page is read, and fiction that challenges our preconceived notions of the world.

Annie Nybo, Associate Editor

Annie Nybo joined Margaret K. McElderry Books in 2012 and assists Karen Wojtyla. Prior to joining S&S, she worked as an editorial assistant at Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and as a reader for Transatlantic Literary Agency. She’s been honored to have the opportunity to work with many talented authors and illustrators such as Susan Cooper, William Alexander, Gary D. Schmidt, Jasper Fforde, Hilary McKay, Susan Fletcher, Cassandra Clare, and Ellen Hopkins. She held an internship at Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group, and graduated magna cum laude from Allegheny College. Annie has a heart for middle grade and is looking for voice-driven literary fiction across all genres; witty, well-crafted picture books; and brilliantly original graphic novels.

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 tug at her heartstrings so much that people look at her sideways as she reads 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 Ruta Rimas 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 Colle, where she earned her BA in English Literature and a minor in German and holds a MS in Publishing from Pace University. Natascha is drawn to stories that transport readers’ minds and imagination beyond their everyday lives through characters that linger after the final pages.