Justin Chanda, Vice President & 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 nearly three 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: Patricia MacLachlan, Peter Brown, Jessie Sima, E.R. Frank, Mike Lupica, SJ Kincaid, Carter Goodrich, Aaron Reynolds, Michael Ian Black, Karma Wilson, Debbie Ohi, and Morgan Matson. Justin is also an adjunct instructor for the NYU Graduate Publishing Program.
Anne Zafian, Vice President & Deputy Publisher
Anne Zafian spent the first half of her publishing career at what was then the Time Warner Book Group—now known as Hachette—selling both adult and children’s books to every kind of domestic customer. She cut her teeth on children’s books with TW’s Little, Brown Books for Children, as well as TW’s distribution client, Hyperion Books for Children. Together these experiences fostered her love of children’s publishing, and in 2004, she joined S&S’s sales team, once again overseeing sales of both adult and children’s books, eventually managing our entire Distributor Sales and Retail Marketing team. In 2008, Anne made the move from sales to the Publisher’s office, where, as Deputy, she focuses largely on working with the Publisher and the sales, marketing, publicity and supply chain teams to help usher our books into the world, from cradle to… NOT the grave. Working to get books into the hands of booksellers, children, parents, teachers, and librarians—and doing so with a dynamic list of books and authors—is her favorite job, ever.
Caitlyn Dlouhy, Vice President & Editorial Director–Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Caitlyn Dlouhy likes to say she grew up in a tree…because it was in the massive willow in her parents’ backyard where she did most of her reading, hiking up the limbs with books tied to a rope to haul up once she reached just the right branch. From that perch in a teeny tiny coastal town, she could see the whole world… through the lens of books. She still sees books as most children’s most important lens to the world and the oh-so-varied people in it, and her publishing choices have always reflected that – from middle grade and teen fiction to picture books, as well as a smattering of graphic novels, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s most drawn toward the unusual and the unexpected—voices that stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. Her books have received great acclaim: a Newbery Medal and Honors, a National Book Award and Finalists, Coretta Scott King Awards and honors, Edgar Awards and Christopher Medals, PEN USA Literary Awards, a Kirkus Award, a Pura Bel Pre Award, have topped New York Times bestseller lists (and the most banned books in America lists), and most recently Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds was named to the National Book Award longlist.
She has the great pleasure of working with Marjorie Agosin, Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathi Appelt, Jennifer Bradbury, Ashley Bryan, Doreen Cronin, Frances O’Roark Dowell, Sharon Draper, Ian Falconer, Candace Fleming, William Joyce, Heather Henson, Richard Jackson, Cynthia Kadohata, Betsy Lewin, Alison McGhee, An Na, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Jason Reynolds, Eric Rohmann, and David Small, just to name a few. Here’s what Caitlyn has been up to lately: Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson; Patina by Jason Reynolds; This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson, illustrated by Suzy Lee; Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer; Bulldozer Helps Out by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann; Pablo & Birdy by Alison McGhee and Patina, also by Jason Reynolds.
And here’s a sneak peek at the future: The Place Between Breaths by An Na; Click Clack I Love You by Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin; I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni & Ashley Bryan; Checked by Cynthia Kadohata; Blues by Beth Kephart; and Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.
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 loves to work on books all across the age range, though she has a real soft spot for middle grade novels, especially those that can turn kids into lifelong readers. She looks for believable, engaging characters whose voices she can’t forget, and stories with that special blend of humor and heart. She has been lucky enough to work with such amazing authors and illustrators as Margarita Engle, Melanie Crowder, Carole Boston Weatherford, Evan Turk, Brian Pinkney, J. Anderson Coats, Sean Qualls, Lynne Jonell, Julie Paschkis, and Lloyd Alexander, among others. Books she has edited have received a Newbery Honor, a Geisel Honor, a Coretta Scott King Honor, A Walter Honor, A PEN USA Award, Pura Belpré Awards and Honors, Jane Addams Peace Awards and Honors, Americás Awards and Honors, a Christopher Medal, Charlotte Zolotow Awards, and have been finalists for the Morris Award, the Andre Norton Award, and the Edgar Award. Before joining Atheneum, she worked at assorted publishers and bookstores including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, and Books of Wonder.
Alexa Pastor, Editor
Alexa Pastor joined Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in August of 2014. First assisting Justin Chanda, and now working with Zareen Jaffery, Alexa has been fortunate enough to work with some of the most celebrated voices in the industry including Morgan Matson, Patricia MacLachlan, S.J. Kincaid, and Mike Lupica. She is also the lucky editor of the Anna, Banana chapter book series by Anica Rissi and several other projects by talented authors including Leah Henderson, Kathleen Krull, and Mary Taranta. 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 (Go ‘Cats!). She completed her master’s degree in Children’s and Young Adult Publishing at Rosemont College in 2015. She is acquiring literary and commercial 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.
Alex Borbolla, Assistant Editor
Alexandria Borbolla’s life as an editor began with her own name—please, call her Alex.
Alex joined Simon & Schuster in April 2015 as managing editorial assistant but was drawn more to story editing than copyediting, so she moved down the hall to Atheneum in May 2016. As assistant to Caitlyn Dlouhy and Richard Jackson, Alex has been lucky enough to work with award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Jason Reynolds, William Joyce, Ashley Bryan, Cynthia Kadohata, Alison McGhee, Kathi Appelt, An Na, Sharon Draper, Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin, Ian Falconer, Judith Viorst, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and Brian Floca—just to name a few. Alex is drawn to quirky, irreverent picture books; middle grade that balances tough subjects with light, accessible narratives; YA with a strong voice that has something to say; and humor in everything. She is particularly interested in acquiring literary stories featuring characters with disabilities, LatinX representation, and unusual storytelling structures.
She earned a B.A. in English and Communications from Rollins College, and holds a M.S. in Publishing from NYU. Follow her on Twitter @Alex_Borbolla.
Julia McCarthy, Assistant Editor
Julia McCarthy joined Atheneum Books for Young Readers as an editorial assistant in 2017. She assists Reka Simonsen and Emma Ledbetter on a brilliant range of young adult, middle grade, and picture books. Before joining Atheneum, Julia worked as an editorial assistant at Puffin Books. Julia believes that each story has the power to engender compassion, empathy, and courage within a reader, and delights in her opportunity to champion Atheneum’s list of powerfully imaginative books. She is most immediately drawn towards magical realism; own voices (especially LatinX); marginalized or underrepresented groups; folklore; stories of any age with a touch of humor, fantasy, or darkness; STEAM-themed picture books, and graphic novels. If you’re a fan of puns, visit her on Twitter @thejumbles.
Alyza Liu, Assistant Editor
Alyza Liu joined the Simon & Schuster team in August 2017. As assistant to Justin Chanda, she is excited to be working with such incredible talents as Aaron Reynolds, S.J. Kincaid, Morgan Matson, Tony DiTerlizzi, and many, many more. Prior to Simon & Schuster, Alyza interned at Roaring Brook Press, Foundry Literary + Media, and InkWell Management. She graduated magna cum laude from NYU, majoring in East Asian Studies and minoring in English and Studio Art.
She is looking to acquire books that are wryly humorous and character-driven, with distinctive voices, daring conceptual backbones, and tender hearts across a wide range of genres, ages, and formats. She’s also a fan of translated genre fiction and graphic novels with a slice of life sensibility. You can find Alyza tweeting about subversive literature, lowbrow television, and wuxia as praxis @alyzaliu.