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 many years with 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.
David Gale, Vice President & Editorial Director
David Gale is Vice President, Editorial Director of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Authors and illustrators that he works with include Neal Shusterman, Andrew Smith, Gary Paulsen, Jonathan Maberry, Katherine Rundell, Tim Federle, and Emily Gravett. Before joining Simon & Schuster in 1993, he worked at HarperCollins, Dell/Delacorte, as a book review editor at School Library Journal, and in textbook publishing. He holds a B.A. degree in English and history from Case Western Reserve University and an M.A. 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 Jaffery joined Simon & 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, award-winning, and critically acclaimed authors including Jenny Han, Becca Fitzpatrick, Mary H.K. Choi, Siobhan Vivian, Sarvenaz Tash, Lilliam Rivera, Sonya Mukherjee, and Octavia Spencer. Her nonfiction acquisitions include The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez, Hidden Girl by Shyima Hall, and Far from the Tree: The Young Adult Edition by Andrew Solomon.
In 2016, she began acquiring for Salaam Reads, an imprint that focuses on publishing books about Muslim children and families. Her projects with Salaam Reads include recently published middle grade novels Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan and The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi, as well as a debut young adult novel Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali. Upcoming Salaam Reads picture books include Salam Alaikum by Awakening Media recording artist Harris J, Yo Soy Muslim by poet and TEDx speaker Mark Gonzales, and Mommy’s Khimar by debut author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow.
Zareen served for two years as a member of the Children’s Book Council (CBC) Diversity Committee, and was appointed co-chair of the Diversity within ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) Task Force from 2016 - 2017. Prior to Simon & Schuster, Zareen worked at HarperCollins Children’s Books and Hyperion books, with award-winning authors including Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, novelist Fae Myenne Ng, and mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn. Zareen is a graduate of New York University.
Krista Vitola, Senior Editor
Krista is primarily interested in literary and commercial middle grade fiction that’s unique, voice driven, and emotionally layered. She is also looking for accessible middle grade nonfiction titles, with an affinity for animals and running. She gravitates toward strong friendship stories, sister stories, conflicting relationships, and environments that spark one’s imagination.
Since Krista joined Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2016, she has had the pleasure and honor of working with New York Times bestselling author Tommy Wallach, Scarlett Thomas, Sean Easley, Beth Turley, award-winning author Susan Hood and critically acclaimed author Barry Denenberg.
Prior to joining BFYR, Krista was an editor at Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, where she worked with New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck, multi-state award winner Dana Alison Levy, award-winning author Donna Gephart, and New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noel. She is a graduate of Villanova University. Follow her @kav_tepedino.
Liz Kossnar, Editor
Liz Kossnar enthusiastically joined the Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers editorial team in November 2013. 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. She has the privilege of working with authors and illustrators such as Jeff Mack, Stuart Gibbs, Whitney Gardner, Jessica Lawson, Michelle Hodkin, and many others. You can follow Liz on Twitter @liz_adventures.
Alexa Pastor, Associate 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.
Catherine Laudone, Assistant Editor
Catherine is primarily looking to acquire contemporary or literary young adult fiction with a strong narrative voice and original hook, and middle grade fiction that captures the magic of being a kid. She is also acquiring fiction and nonfiction picture books, and commercial chapter books with series potential. She is especially interested in stories featuring friendships, and sibling or parent-child relationships, as well as characters with unusual hobbies or passions.
Since joining Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in March 2013, Catherine has had the pleasure of working with a number of talented and New York Times bestselling authors, such as Tommy Wallach, Michelle Hodkin, Heather W. Petty, the Fan Brothers, Jessie Sima, A.L. Sonnichsen, Susan Hood, and Stacey Kade, among others. Catherine has some fabulous debuts on her list as well, including Kat Helgeson’s Say No to the Bro (a Junior Library Guild Selection and 2018 Illinois Reads Pick), Lauren Spieller’s Your Destination is on the Left, and Janice Lynn Mather’s Learning to Breathe.
Prior to starting at BFYR, Catherine graduated with a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and completed several internships at children’s publishing houses and literary agencies, including HarperCollins and Sourcebooks. When not reading for work or pleasure, Catherine can be found watching her favorite Gilmore Girls reruns while enjoying a cup of chocolate tea. Follow her on Twitter: @CatherineLaud
Amanda Ramirez, Editorial Assistant
Amanda Isabel Ramirez joined Simon & Schuster Books for Younger Readers in 2016, to much fanfare from her loud, Puerto Rican family. As David Gale’s assistant, she’s had the honor of working with talented authors like Neal Shusterman, Katherine Rundell, Tim Federle, Andrew Smith, and countless others. Amanda is passionate about diverse, commercial literature from contemporary YA to fanciful middle grade adventures to subversive, tongue-in-cheek picture books.
Prior to S&S, she was the assistant online editor at The Literary Review; a Barnes & Noble children's lead bookseller; the copy editor for Petite Hound Press; and a staff writer for The Celebrity Café, Puckermob, and elsewhere. Amanda has an MFA in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. A Long Island native, if she’s not reading, writing, or climbing filing cabinets, she’s probably napping. Follow Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaIsA_Ram
Alyza Liu, Editorial Assistant
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 loves reading tender, inclusive books that feature spirited protagonists, distinctive voices, and daring conceptual backbones across a wide range of genres, ages, and formats. She’s also a fan of translated genre fiction with a postcolonial bent. You can find Alyza tweeting about subversive YA, lowbrow television, and wuxia as praxis @muguiyings.
Lucy Ruth Cummins, Executive Art Director
Lucy Ruth Cummins is an art director who has happily spent the last 15 years crafting jackets and interiors for picture books, middle grade books, and young adult novels. Her design work has frequently appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. She is most known for her packages for novels by Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Becca Fitzpatrick, Tommy Wallach, Andrew Smith, and Stuart Gibbs (whose covers she also illustrates!). She has worked on numerous award-winning picture books with talented illustrators, including Jon Klassen, Alice Provensen, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Ben Clanton, Gemma Correll, and Mark Pett. She is also a published author and illustrator in her own right.
Laurent Linn, Art Director
Laurent Linn collaborates with both noted and new illustrators— including Tomie dePaola, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Bryan Collier, and Amy June Bates—on picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels. Laurent is on the Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit of children’s book illustration at the Society of Illustrators in New York, and is also an illustrator and author himself. He began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop, creating characters for various productions, including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. With Henson over a decade, he worked primarily on Sesame Street, becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. You can find him on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and at LaurentLinn.com.
Chloe Foglia, Art Director
Chloe Foglia joined Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Paula Wiseman Books in 2007. She has been art directing and designing young adult, middle grade, and picture books for the imprints' dynamic lists since then. Chloe began her publishing career at HarperCollins Children's Books several years after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has had the privilege of collaborating with many kind and accomplished people including Elizabeth Baddeley, Daniel Miyares, Scott Magoon, and Matt Cordell. One of the things Chloe enjoys most about her job is welcoming new talent into the world of Children's Books.
Krista Vossen, Art Director
Krista Vossen has been designing books for a looong time. She started out her design career in the adult trade cover division at Penguin Random House, but eventually made her way over to the kids’ table at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Paula Wiseman Books (with a brief stint in the Atheneum/McElderry group). Here, she has designed, art-directed, and re-designed a wide range of books, from picture books to teen. She has had the privilege and pleasure of collaborating with several talented illustrators, including (but not limited to) Iacopo Bruno, Elizabeth Baddeley, Lori Richmond, Tim O’Brien, Yuko Shimizu, Paula Franco, Eric Comstock, Kate Forrester, and Asaf Hanuka. She can wholeheartedly say she loves doing what she does.