Justin Chanda, VP & 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.
Anne Zafian, VP & 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. Anne joined S&S in 2004. 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.
David Gale, Vice President & Editorial Director
David is especially interested in acquiring middle grade and teen fiction and has a special affinity for realistic contemporary novels. Novelists he works with include Tony DiTerlizzi, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Pete Hautman (National Book Award), Benjamin Alire Saenz (ALA Michael L. Printz Honor, Stonewall Book Award, Lambda Literary Award, Pura Belpre Award), Chris Lynch, Neal Shusterman, Katherine Rundell, Ellen Wittlinger (Lambda Literary Award, ALA Printz Honor), and Rick Yancey (ALA Printz Honor). His picture book authors and illustrators include Emily Gravett (New York Times Best Illustrated), John Lithgow, and Henry Cole. Before joining Simon & Schuster in 1993, David worked at HarperCollins, Dell/Delacorte, as a book review editor at School Library Journal, and in textbook publishing. He holds a BA degree in English and history from Case Western Reserve University and an MA degree in Early Childhood Education with concentrations in children’s literature and in the teaching of reading from New York University.
Zareen Jaffery, Executive Editor
Zareen joined Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in February 2011, continuing her focus on commercial and literary young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as teen nonfiction.
Zareen works with a number of New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed authors. Some of her titles include Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s Burn for Burn series, Tonya Hurley’s The Blessed series, Kresley Cole’s The Arcana Chronicles series, and Becca Fitzpatrick’s Black Ice. She loves discovering new talent, and has some fabulous debut authors on her list, including Claire Legrand’s The Cavendish Home For Boys And Girls, Avery Williams’s The Alchemy Of Forever, and Abby Grahame’s Wentworth Hall. She has also published Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective, a debut middle grade series by Academy Award–winning actress Octavia Spencer.
Prior to Simon and Schuster, Zareen worked at HarperCollins Children’s Books editing bestselling novelists Lauren Conrad (L.A. Candy), Jodi Lynn Anderson (Tiger Lily), LJ Smith (The Vampire Diaries), and Claudia Gray (Hourglass). Zareen is a graduate of New York University.
Christian Trimmer, Executive Editor
Christian Trimmer has been a member of the Books for Young Readers team since April 2013. He acquires picture books, middle grade fiction, and young adult fiction and is thrilled to work with crazy talented people like Michelle Hodkin, Non Pratt, Jennifer McGowan, Daniel Kraus, and Stacey Kade. In addition to his work with more established talent, he is proud to be editing the debut projects of supremely gifted folks like Arin Andrews, Katie Rain Hill, A.L. Sonnichsen, Tommy Wallach, Jen Brooks, Robert Venditti, and Ashlyn Anstee. While his tastes are varied, he is often drawn to the darkly comic, the cleverly creepy, and the unabashedly romantic. He gave a big chunk of his youth to the Walt Disney Company, where he spent thirteen years, eight of them with Disney Hyperion Books. Christian graduated from Northwestern University when “The Boy Is Mine” topped the charts. Follow him on Twitter @MisterTrimmer.
Kristin Ostby, Senior Editor
Kristin Ostby is primarily interested in literary and commercial middle grade fiction with humor, heart, sharp prose, and a fresh voice. She is also looking for accessible middle grade nonfiction and clever, commercial picture books.
Since Kristin joined Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2012, she has had the pleasure and honor of working with many talented authors and illustrators, including Marty Appel, Newbery Honor winner Marion Dane Bauer, Caldecott and Newbery Honor winner Tomie dePaola, Barry Denenberg, Edgar Award nominee Stuart Gibbs, Sarah Lariviere, Jessica Lawson, Rita Meade, Daniel Miyares, New York Times bestselling author and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan, Mark Pett, Anica Rissi, Robin Stevens, and Lindsay Ward.
Prior to joining BFYR, Kristin was an editor at Penguin Young Readers Group and Albert Whitman & Company. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Catherine Laudone, Assistant Editor
Catherine joined the Books for Young Readers team in March 2013. Assisting Christian Trimmer, she works with talented authors such as Michelle Hodkin, Non Pratt, Vikki Wakefield, Jennifer McGowan, Tommy Wallach, Jen Brooks, A.L. Sonnichsen, Arin Andrews, Katie Rain Hill, Daniel Kraus, Robert Venditti, Lenore Appelhans, and Brittany Geragotelis, among others. She also assists Anne Zafian, the Deputy Publisher for six imprints within the Simon & Schuster Children’s Division. Prior to BFYR, Catherine graduated with a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and completed internships at HarperCollins Children’s Books; Sourcebooks’ Jabberwocky and Teen Fire; Dystel & Goderich Literary Management; and the Kneerim, Williams & Bloom Agency. For both work and pleasure, Catherine loves reading realistic, literary YA and adventurous/humorous middle grade fiction. She’s also open to reading the occasional dystopian, fantasy, or historical YA/middle grade novel, so long as it has a fresh voice, original concept, and strong heart.
Liz Kossnar, Assistant Editor
Liz Kossnar enthusiastically joined the Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers editorial team in November 2013. She most enjoys reading whimsical middle grade and gritty, contemporary young adult fiction. As David Gale’s assistant, she has the privilege of working with authors such as Andrew Smith, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Tony DiTerlizzi, Neal Shusterman, Tim Federle, Katherine Rundell, Chris Lynch, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and many others. Prior to Simon & Schuster, Liz graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, focusing on mythology, folklore, and fairy tales; interned at Albert Whitman & Company; taught English abroad in France; completed the Columbia Publishing Course; and was the editorial manager at The Book Report Network for Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com.
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 make her laugh or cry enough that people look at her sideways on her long commute. You can follow Alexa on Twitter @Alexa_Pastor926.
Mekisha Telfer, Editorial Assistant
Mekisha Telfer joined the S&S Books for Young Readers editorial team in September 2014. As an assistant to Zareen Jaffery and Kristin Ostby she has the privilege of working with talented authors like Jenny Han, Stuart Gibbs, Emma Trevayne, Becca Fitzpatrick, Siobhan Vivian, Jessica Lawson, Kresley Cole, Heather Vogel Frederick, Tomie dePaola, and many more. Prior to BFYR Mekisha graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and modernist literature; worked at Avid Bookshop; interned with Prospect Literary Agency; and completed the New York University Summer Publishing Institute program. For work and otherwise, she loves reading YA and middle grade fiction that’s earnest and unpredictable and can make her laugh and cry on her morning commute.