Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Editorial

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Megan Tingley
Executive Vice President and Publisher

I began my career at Little, Brown in 1987 and now oversees the entire LBYR publishing program as well as acquires and edits select titles for my eponymous imprint. My books include: the worldwide phenomenon The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, the New York Times bestseller and E.B. White Read-Aloud Award winner The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, and the National Book Award finalists Luna by Julie Anne Peters and Harlem Stomp! by Laban Carrick Hill, as well as many titles by US Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman, author/artist Todd Parr, and New York Times Best Illustrated winner Naoko Stoop. 

For picture books, I especially love developing talented new author-artists and am drawn to strong read-aloud texts, innovative narrative techniques, an original hook, and unusual art styles. For middle grade and young adult, I’m interested in realistic fiction with emotional resonance and fast-paced plots, magical adventure in the vein of Roald Dahl and E.B. White, as well as narrative nonfiction. No genre fantasy or science fiction. Some of the themes of personal interest to me include:  survival stories, diversity, tolerance, human rights, historical, humor, and music.

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Alvina Ling
VP, Editor-in-Chief

Like many of my fellow editors, I’m a life-long bookworm, and I couldn’t be happier to have a career helping books make it to the hands of children. I started my career at LBYR in 1999, and currently oversee LBYR’s core picture book, middle grade, and young adult lists, and am selectively acquiring for all categories. For picture books, I love silly, laugh-out-loud picture books (like Shark vs Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld), as well as beautiful, thought-provoking ones (like Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young). For middle grade and young adult, I would love to acquire a commercial “next big thing” series (of course!), as well as strong literary fiction with award potential. As one of the founding members and former chair of the Children’s Book Council's Diversity Committee, I have a particular passion for books with diverse characters and themes. I’m also a sucker for books that feel completely unique, books that can make make me both laugh and sob, and books that can be described (in all seriousness) as “important."

Some of the books I’ve edited include the New York Times bestselling picture books Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales; Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown; Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld; Caldecott Honor book and Coretta Scott King Medal winner Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill and Bryan Collier; Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and National Book Award finalist When the Sea Turned to Silver, both by Grace Lin; The Candymakers by Wendy Mass; the #1 New York Times bestselling Land of Stories Series by Chris Colfer; the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor; Bang by Barry Lyga; The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black; Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin; and Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick. Before starting at LBYR, I worked as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, where I rediscovered my love for children’s book

You can find me on Twitter @planetalvina. 

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Andrea Spooner
Vice President, Editorial Director

I acquire and edit a wide range of fiction and select nonfiction titles for ages 3 through 17, with a special interest in artistically distinctive picture books. I am also seeking high caliber middle grade and young adult novels, as well as literary fiction, historical fiction and ambitious, genre-bending narratives (rather than straightforward genre fiction). For picture books, I would like to see substantive stories with strong storytelling, re-readability, and emotional resonance; my dual background in art and creative writing makes me particularly fond of working with author-artists. As Editorial Director, I oversee the trade picture book list and can consult with agents on matching picture book proposals with in-house editors.

Some of the projects I’ve acquired include the Caldecott Medal-winning picture book The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, the Caldecott Honor title Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell, and Dinotrux by Chris Gall, which inspired the Netflix original series. I also edit Elise Parsley’s bestselling series launched with If You Ever Want to Bring and Alligator to School, Don’t! Some recently edited novels include The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, a National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling The Tapper Twins Go To War (with Each Other) by comedy screenwriter Geoff Rodkey. I’ve also worked with award-winning and/or bestselling novelists Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and A. S. King. For ten years I also edited James Patterson’s bestselling series for young readers, including Middle School (now a major motion picture), I Funny, and Maximum Ride.

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Kara Sargent
Executive Editorial Director

I joined Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in January 2015. In my new role, I oversee editorial for the licensed, brand, and media tie-in book programs, including longstanding LBYR publishing brands such as the Sandra Magsamen publishing program and Tintin, and media tie-in brands such as Monster High, Ever After High, My Little Pony, Disney Fairies, and Marvel Studios film tie-ins. I also actively edit and acquire titles across a wide variety of formats. In addition, I oversee the Passport to Reading line of leveled readers, and am thrilled to have launched our Intellectual Property (IP) program.  

I am always seeking exciting new licenses to add to the imprint’s portfolio. In my career I have focused quite a bit on the preschool market on the licensed side of things, giving me a soft spot for brands that further educational goals and social/emotional skills for the youngest readers, but I love working on brands that target older kids as well, especially ones with strong and fun female characters like Monster High and Ever After High. I am on the lookout for authors with fresh voices who are experienced with and interested in writing for IP series, and because leveled readers are one of my very favorite formats of all-time, I am interested in building upon the already impressive backlist of the Passport to Reading program. Prior to coming to LBYR, I was Editorial Director at Simon Spotlight, overseeing the brand and licensed publishing program, which included brands such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Olivia, Smurfs, Rabbids Invasion, and Dreamworks movie tie-ins, and I spent my “early years” in publishing at Sesame Workshop working closely with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird.

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Farrin Jacobs
Editorial Director, Poppy

I oversee nonfiction and Poppy, an imprint that focuses on commercial fiction for teens. Once known as the home of Gossip Girl and The Clique series, Poppy’s recent titles include the New York Times bestseller The Duff by Kody Keplinger, IndieNext pick Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith, and Wildlife by Award-winning Australian author Fiona Wood. On the nonfiction side, I’ve edited the young readers edition of I Am Malala by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Aliferenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch. I am looking for both great commercial fiction and popular literary reads, as well as select non-fiction.I am drawn to distinctive voices and universal stories, especially sad stories told by funny people. 

Prior to joining LBYR in the fall of 2012, I was an editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books, focusing on teen fiction. My titles included bestsellers such as the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard; the L.A. Candy series by Lauren Conrad, as well as Lauren Conrad Style and Lauren Conrad Beauty; The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen; and the 2009 Printz winner, Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta.

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Lisa Yoskowitz
Executive Editor

My primary focus is on middle grade fiction, and I’m also selectively seeking narrative nonfiction and young adult novels with crossover potential. I’m excited to be editing middle grade series from Pseudonymous Bosch, Cressida Cowell, Melissa Marr, and Matt Christopher. I’m also looking forward to the 2016 publications of some of the first books I acquired at Little, Brown: Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, a stunning WWII thriller; The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone, a hilarious and moving contemporary YA debut; and The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White, a debut middle grade fantasy-adventure.  

I joined LBYR in 2014 from Dutton Children’s Books and Disney-Hyperion, where I worked with New York Times bestselling authors Cinda Williams Chima, Victoria Laurie, Tamara Ireland Stone, and Elizabeth Wein; and with Rick Riordan and Eoin Colfer on ancillary projects. Drawn to voice- and character-driven stories, I’m interested in projects across genres and am especially on the lookout for an epic fantasy that will sweep me away, middle grade humor and action-adventure stories with series potential, and genre-busting YA with a fresh perspective and strong hook. I have a soft spot for misfit, maverick, and mischief-making characters, and for books that can comfortably be called both literary and commercial.

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Mary-Kate Gaudet
Executive Editor

I edit a variety of licensed, brand, and media tie-ins titles and manage publishing programs with such partners as Disney (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Hasbro (My Little Pony), and Warner Brothers (Teen Titans Go!).

I also acquire and edit trade picture books—championing off-beat, yet poignant storytelling—and work with creators such as Liz Climo (Rory the Dinosaur Wants a Pet), Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora (Horrible Bear!), and Refe and Susan Tuma (What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night: A Very Messy Adventure).

A graduate of Fordham University, I joined Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2012 after having worked at HarperCollins Children’s Books, Sterling Publishing, and Denise Marcil Literary Agency.  

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Pam Gruber
Senior Editor

Since starting at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, I’ve worked on everything from novelty and picture books to novels. In my current role as a Senior Editor, I acquire for both Poppy and LBYR, focusing primarily on young adult novels for girls ages 12 and up, as well as select middle grade projects. To keep things interesting within that space, I maintain a really varied list, including acclaimed contemporary YA books such as What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton and Diamond Boy by Michael Williams, and the sci-fi duology Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones, all of which received starred reviews. I’m also excited to be the editor of Kass Morgan’s The 100 series and Virginia Boecker’s debut fantasy novel The Witch Hunter, as well as forthcoming titles like Eric Lindstrom’s hard-hitting Not If I See You First, and YouTuber/Paralympian/motivational speaker Josh Sundquist’s first fiction work, Sunrises Get All the Hype. Day-to-day, I also act as the editorial lead on LBYR’s NOVL imprint, publishing digital original novellas from our key YA and crossover authors, offering readers new stories from their favorite characters and worlds.

I love alternate histories, off-beat teen romances, witty voices that can make me laugh and cry simultaneously, and losing myself in fully realized worlds—realistic or fantastic. 

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Rex Ogle
Senior Editor

BOOM! CRACK! KA-POW! Sci-fi! Fantasy! Action! Adventure! Don’t forget laughs! (Can you tell what kind of books I like yet?)  I’m open to all kid-friendly stories, though have a soft spot for graphic novels and books that will grab the attention of reluctant young readers.  I also aim to promote positive themes around diversity, tolerance, and nature preservation.

Currently, I work on a variety of books, genres, and formats for every age—including middle grade, IP development, graphic novels, and licensed, brand, and media tie-ins.  I oversee programs for Despicable Me/Minions, Transformers, and Yo-kai Watch.  I am also the creative force behind new IP, such as chapter books series Peter Powers and The Adventures of Classroom 13.  I also helm Neil Patrick Harris’s middle grade debut series, The Magic Misfits. 

Previously at Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Scholastic, I’ve worked on everything from X-Men to Superman and Batman to MinecraftI.  I have edited and several New York Times bestselling series including the Star Wars: Jedi Academy trilogy by Jeffrey Brown, and the Secret Hero Society, which reimagines Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman as middle grade students.  

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Deirdre Jones

I work on picture book, middle grade, and young adult projects and am interested in just about everything! For picture books, I gravitate towards the silly, the over-the-top, the just-wacky-enough-to-work—anything that will get kids (and parents) laughing. Send me the next The Day the Crayons Quit or Dragons Love Tacos. I also love unique nonfiction topics and picture book biographies written in a narrative style. For middle grade and young adult, I’m looking for stories that pull me into an incredible world, so fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, and blends of these genres are right up my alley (as are occasional high concept contemporary/realistic projects). I’m looking for fast-paced plots and strong writing.

Among others, I’ve edited Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Caldecott award-winning artist Javaka Steptoe; Claymates by author Dev Petty and artist Lauren Eldridge; the Map to Everywhere series by New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis; The Star Thief by debut author Lindsey Becker; the New York Times bestselling Frostblood by debut author Elly Blake; and World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s Court of Fives series.


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