Margaret K. McElderry Books

meet Our Team

Justin Chanda
Senior 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 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, S.J. Kincaid, Carter Goodrich, Aaron Reynolds, Michael Ian Black, Karma Wilson, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and Morgan Matson. Justin is also an adjunct instructor for the NYU Graduate Publishing Program.

Anne Zafian
Vice President and 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 the 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 their 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.

Karen Wojtyla
Vice President and Editorial Director

Karen Wojtyla edits picture books, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novel fiction—and some nonfiction, too. She has worked with many brilliant writers, including New York Times bestselling authors Cassandra Clare and Margaret Rogerson, National Book Award winner William Alexander, Newbery winner Susan Cooper, Newbery Honor winner Holly Black, Costa Award winner Hilary McKay, Printz Award winner David Almond, Newbery Honor winner Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Katherine Battersby, Erin Bow, Emily Carroll, Susan Fletcher, Tessa Gratton, Deborah Ruddell, and Loriel Ryon. Karen is attracted to works with strong dialogue, vivid settings, and characters whose journeys move readers to laughter and tears, from authors and artists of diverse backgrounds and across a variety of genres. She is looking for fresh and true middle grade and young adult voices in contemporary settings, and picture books that inspire, whether heartfelt or laugh-out-loud funny.

Kate Prosswimmer
Editor

Kate Prosswimmer joined the McElderry team in 2019. She’s enthusiastically acquiring a list of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction and is excited to be working with a group of talented authors including Amanda Foody, Cat Valente, Chelsea Pitcher, F.T. Lukens, and Laura Silverman. She previously spent five years at Sourcebooks where she had the privilege of editing a number of award-winning titles including Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas series, Jess Keating’s Shark Lady, and Jen Calonita’s Fairy Tale Reform School series. Kate is always down for a great mystery, isn’t afraid of books that will make her ugly cry, enjoys atmospheric and unusual settings, prefers middle grade stories that are both whimsical and earnest, looks for picture books that favor story over message or concept, YA that feels escapist in both contemporary and speculative genres, and stories across all ages that make the ordinary feel extraordinary.

Sarah McCabe
Editor

Sarah McCabe joined Simon & Schuster in 2014 and is actively acquiring teen and middle grade, with a strong focus in the fantasy/sci-fi genres. She’s been lucky enough to work with a talented list of New York Times bestselling, award-winning, and critically acclaimed writers including Tracy Deonn, Chloe Gong, Lisa Maxwell, Nicki Pau Preto, Emily Suvada, Sarah Raughley, and many more. Sarah gravitates toward darker, character-driven stories in the teen space that explore the nature of humanity and morality, and she also adores inventive and escapist middle grade adventures like the ones she gobbled up as a kid. Across all age ranges, Sarah loves to see emotionally complex heroes and sympathetic villains, and she’s particularly looking for underrepresented voices who bring fresh perspectives to classic tropes.

Nicole Fiorica
Assistant Editor

Nicole Fiorica joined McElderry Books in 2017 and assists Karen Wojtyla and Kate Prosswimmer while also acquiring teen, middle grade, and picture book titles. She has the pleasure of working with a number of talented authors including Kit Frick, Bethany Mangle, Laura E. Weymouth, and Julia Lyon in addition to Cassandra Clare, Margaret Rogerson, Amanda Foody, and many more. Nicole is interested in acquiring books by marginalized voices that represent diverse experiences and imaginations, and is particularly drawn to stories that explore themes of identity, belonging, friendship, and family. She loves dark, romantic fantasy and contemporary YA that brings levity onto the page, and is on the hunt for big-hearted adventures and mysteries in the middle grade sphere as well as narrative-driven picture books. You can see more of her wish list at NicoleFiorica.Wordpress.com.

Alyza Liu
Assistant Editor

Alyza Liu joined the Simon & Schuster team in August 2017, where she assists Justin Chanda and Denene Millner. Prior to Simon & Schuster, Alyza was an intern at a variety of publishing houses and agencies, and graduated magna cum laude from NYU, where she majored in East Asians Studies and minored in English and Studio Art.

Alyza is primarily acquiring books about marginalized characters, or characters from the Global South. Having grown up on Asian dramas, she’s a fan of escapist, atmospheric, emotionally intense, and character-driven YA across a range of genres. She likes to describe her taste as being “murder and makeouts and nothing in between”—as long as it’s on either extreme of the light-to-dark range. In middle grade, she’s looking for projects that strike the same notes as Studio Ghibli films, Steven Universe, and Over the Garden Wall, as well as heavily-illustrated STEAM nonfiction. In picture books, she’s acquiring biographies of historically overlooked figures, including Sacheen Littlefeather, Thomas Sankara, and Grace Lee Boggs, among others. She’s also especially keen on translated genre fiction from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Find out more about Alyza’s taste and wishlist at AlyzaLiu.com, and talk to her about Buzzfeed Unsolved, angsty postcolonial speculative fiction, and wuxia as praxis @AlyzaLiu.