Aladdin’s team of editors has extensive expertise in every category, from picture books through young adult.
Aladdin Editorial Team
Vice President, Publisher
Mara is responsible for the overall editorial content, growth, and development of Simon Pulse and Aladdin Books. In her recent role as Deputy Publisher, Mara played a major role in the successes of New York Times and USA TODAY bestsellers such as Richard Paul Evans, Brandon Mull, Rachel Renée Russell, and Scott Westerfeld. Previously she has held positions managing subrights and trade sales at Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.
Fiona joined Aladdin in 2009. She has worked on almost every aspect of trade and licensed publishing for children: picture books, middle grade, young adult, and most genres from general fiction to nonfiction, including contemporary fiction, fantasy, and religious titles. Her current list focuses on middle grade and tween novels, particularly those with strong girl characters. Current series include Pegasus, Dead City, Crown of Three, and Michael Vey. However, her interests are wide-ranging and she requires the same things from any book she edits or reads: a well-thought-out plot, believable setting, and characters that come alive.
What’s on Fiona’s Wish List?
Stories about strong smart characters (especially girls) who don’t realize just how strong they are—the entire world doesn’t need saving, just their piece of it. Voices and characters that reflect diversity. Fantasy that feels grounded in reality. Witty, sometimes sarcastic, but never mean, humor. The thrill of that first crush/boyfriend/kiss (But don’t wrap it in sparkly pink paper!). Fresh takes on movies and classics, a good mystery, and the occasional gothic tale with creaking boards and haunted houses are all welcome as well (BTW, this applies to my taste in YA also, but there it can be grittier and darker).
Associate Editorial Director
What’s on Liesa’s Wish List?
Truly original fantasy worlds and action/adventure stories grounded by accessible characters with universally relatable wants and needs (think: how Star Wars is driven by father/son angst and The Lord of the Rings is all about people finding their places in their families, saving their home, etc.); humor with a dark edge (think the TV show Community, not Will Ferrell); magic realism; middle grade novels exploring heavier themes of trauma, grief, loss, and unusual family dynamics.
Karen joined the Aladdin team in 2011. She has been fortunate to work on children's books of every sort and genre, but has a preference for picture and early middle grade and chapter books (fiction and nonfiction), the stories that are the first to capture the youngest imaginations. Her list runs the gamut from chapter book series including Candy Fairies and Sparkle Spa to Sue Macy’s biography of Sally Ride; from Heather and Ethan Long’s MAX & MILO picture books to illustrated chapter books Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken by Sarah Dillard and Buck’s Tooth by Diane Kredensor.
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.
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 .
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!
What’s on Tricia’s Wish List?
In picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels, Tricia is looking for: character-driven narratives; true, diverse, and uniquely captivating voices; atmospheric speculative fiction, spanning magical realism to high science fiction and fantasy; contemporary realistic stories that are unassuming yet heartfelt; complex characters and relationships; differing perspectives; darker undertones; dry, irreverent humor.
What’s on Anna’s Wish List?
Middle grade and young adult fantasy, science fiction, adventure, and mysteries, featuring immersive worlds, fast pacing, diverse characters, and strong voices; narrative and historical nonfiction; humorous and memorable picture books.