Aladdin’s team has extensive expertise in every category, from picture books through young adult.

Kristin Gilson

Editorial Director

Kristin joined the Aladdin team in Fall 2019 after many years as Editorial Director at Puffin Books, and spent the early part of her career in the children’s divisions of Random House and HarperCollins. During her time at Puffin, she edited a broad range of titles including movie novelizations written by Lynne Reid Banks and Peter Lerangis, multiple books by National Book Award finalist Kathleen Duey, several titles by Schneider Award-winning author Jonathan Friesen, the Young Readers’ adaptation of Al Gore’s Our Choice, and a variety of series including Hank the Cowdog, Sweep, Vet Volunteers, and more. She also published numerous new editions of beloved classics and contemporary favorites, many containing new or never-before-seen material, and has had the good fortune to work with authors such as Gayle Forman, Al Gore, Jacqueline Woodson, Nancy Werlin, S. E. Hinton, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

A lifelong book enthusiast, Kristin firmly believes in the power of a good story, and still has her very first library card. She’s excited to start building her list at Aladdin.

What’s on Kristin’s Wish List?
On the fiction side: realistic fiction with a focus on building representation for the Asian/South Asian, Latinx, LGBTQ, and physically challenged communities. I’m particularly drawn to quirky characters who are looking to figure out (or create) their place in the world. I like stories with honesty and heart; books that can make readers laugh, cry, think, and feel. I love a strong, smart, nerdy girl protagonist, strong sibling stories, and snarky humor, and am also looking for books that will help keep middle-grade boys devoted to reading. On the non-fiction side: I’m looking for stories of overcoming adversity, books about young people who are making a difference, celebrations of unsung heroes, and humorous approaches to unusual subjects.

Karen Nagel

Executive Editor

Karen Nagel has had the great good fortune of a career in children’s book publishing. From #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling books to Coretta Scott King, Society of Illustrator, Christopher Medal award–winners, as well as NAACP Image Award Nominees, she has worked with many of industry’s most noteworthy authors and artists. Today she is the Executive Editor at Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin Books, where she not only has continued to work on bestselling books, but perhaps more significantly has conceived and created new formats for emerging—and reluctant—young readers, planting the seeds for a lifelong love of books. A graduate of New York University, she’s a true believer in the transformative and transcendent power of the arts, the ocean, friendship, family, peace, and love.

What’s on Karen’s Wish List?
Fresh and funny stories and characters (picture book to chapter book, through younger middle grade) that will appeal to and engage beginning and reluctant readers; nonfiction stories in inventive formats that can be as fascinating on the page as they are in real life.

Karen’s Titles Include:

Alyson Heller

Senior Editor

Alyson joined the Aladdin team in 2008 after a two-year stint in the Simon & Schuster Associates Program. She acquires picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and the occasional YA, but her heart is in contemporary middle grade. Aly is actively looking for non-fiction projects as well for our list. On both the non-fiction and fictional side, she has a particular affinity for strong female characters who kick butt and take names, stories that represent the under-represented and stories that take on tough stuff in the middle grade space.  Some recent and upcoming books she’s edited range from nonfiction projects, (Life in Motion YR Edition by Misty Copeland, The Distance Between Us YR Edition by Reyna Grande, Born Just Right by Jordan and Jen Lee Reeves), picture books (Way Past Bedtime by Tara Lazar, illustrated by Rich Wake) to series (Goddess Girls and Thunder Girls by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams), to contemporary MG reads (Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee, Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen). Tweet her @EditorAlysonH.

What’s on Aly’s Wish List?
Diverse voices and stories that reflect our society today (through ethnic/racial identity, socio-economic, or physical diversity); stories that explore complicated family bonds, retellings of movies, ballets, or classics for a middle grade audience with a contemporary spin; a MG or YA that explores a story with an adoptee as the main character (but the story itself is not about finding one’s birth parent(s)). I would love to find more diverse voices in particular for our chapter book list. For picture books, I love humorous, high concept manuscripts with limited text—and a little dark humor never hurts!

Aly's Titles Include:

Jessica Smith

Associate Editor

Associate Editor Jessica Smith joined Simon & Schuster in September 2016 soon after finishing NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute. She received her BA in English literature and fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh where she fell in love with YA literature. Follow her on Twitter @ll_cool_jess.

What’s on Jessi’s Wish List?
Humorous stories with heart (huge bonus if they’re playfully dark/Tim Burton-esque!); middle grade that combines real experiences with an appreciation of the natural world; anything that will make me cry (happy, sad, or bittersweet tears—I love them all!); accessible nonfiction that uses visuals or humor to make facts fun, especially nonfiction about animals, the environment, and science.

Jessi's Titles Include:

Anna Parsons

Assistant Editor

Anna joined the Aladdin team in June 2018 after interning at The Overlook Press, Open Road Integrated Media, Holloway Literary Agency, and Tor. She received an MS in Publishing from New York University and has bachelor’s degrees in history and Spanish from Auburn University. When she isn’t reading, you can find her playing piano, watching shows on Netflix or Broadway, hosting game nights, or dreaming of traveling the world.

What’s on Anna’s Wish List?
High concept fiction with magic or mystery that takes the reader beyond of everyday life: character-driven fantasy and science fiction featuring diverse voices; suspenseful thrillers, mystery, and light horror; reimagined fairy tales, folklore, and mythology. In picture books I love humor and holiday themes, and in nonfiction I gravitate toward accessible narrative nonfiction or illustrated books about important social topics, uplifting stories, animals, and history.

Anna's Titles Include: