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Our Team

Justin Chanda, Senior Vice President & Publisher


Justin Chanda joined the editorial staff at Simon & Schuster in 2005. 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: Neal Shusterman, Peter Brown, Seema Yasmin, The Fan Brothers, Aaron Reynolds, Michael Ian Black, Karma Wilson, Lucy Ruth Cummins, Debbie Ridpath 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, a massive willow where she hauled up books tip top high. From that perch, she could see the whole world…through the lens of those books. Her publishing choices have always stemmed from this: giving readers the opportunity to see themselves, and the rest of the world. The power of voice—voices unusual and unexpected, marginalized or yet unsung, voices that just plain shimmer and hum, that press and push and experiment—is utterly irresistible to her, and her books have always showcased this. Covering most every age group and format, her books have often been published to great accolade, including a Newbery Medal and Honors, Caldecott Honors, a National Book Award and Finalists, Printz honors, Coretta Scott King Awards and honors, Walter Awards, Edgar Awards and Christopher Medals, PEN USA Literary Awards, a Kirkus Award and finalists, a Pura Bel Pre Award and a Kate Greenaway Award. Many have also topped New York Times bestseller lists (and the most banned books in America lists).


It is her great honor to publish such luminaries as Marjorie Agosin, Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathi Appelt, Ashley Bryan, Doreen Cronin, Jennifer de Leon, Frances O’Roark Dowell, Sharon Draper, Candace Fleming, Jason Griffin, William Joyce, Desmond Hall, Heather Henson, Cynthia Kadohata, Naaz Khan, Uma Krishnaswami, Betsy Lewin, Alison McGhee, Matt Mendez, An Na, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Jerome & Jarrett Pumphrey; Jason Reynolds, Sujean Rim, Eric Rohmann, Raúl the Third, Judith Viorst, Briana Uchendu, and Alicia D. Williams, to name just a few.


Categorizing what she’s looking for could result in her possibly missing out on something that could quite possibly take her breath away, so, if you truly love it, she would truly love to see it!


Miloni Vora, Assistant Editor


Miloni Vora joined Simon & Schuster in January of 2022, after interning at W. W. Norton, the Feminist Press, and various agencies. She assists Caitlyn Dlouhy on a range of picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Regardless of genre and format, she loves stories with a strong, spunky, characters that make her laugh (and cry). She specifically enjoys multigenerational family stories, stories about language and connection, and stories about healing and hope. Her favorite fantasy books are ones rooted in inclusive worldbuilding, particularly from non-European cultures, and featuring multiple protagonists who use humor as a coping mechanism. For middle grade, she loves reading shenanigans featuring the class nerd and the class clown, and for picture books she loves everything from grumpy toddlers to stories filled with stunning, lyrical prose. On any given Sunday you can find her at her favorite café, crocheting baby animals, and watching dramas that give her serious second-lead-syndrome. Find her on twitter @Miloni_Vora.


Reka Simonsen, Editorial Director


Reka Simonsen loves to work on books all across the age range, 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, Carole Boston Weatherford, Jamie Sumner, Evan Turk, Brian Pinkney, Frank Morrison, Linda Urban, Lita Judge, Joy McCullough, and Lloyd Alexander, among others. Books she has edited have received a Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Awards and Honors, a Geisel Honor, a Sibert Honor, Walter Honors, A PEN USA Award, Pura Belpré Awards and Honors, Jane Addams Peace Awards and Honors, Americás Awards and Honors, Charlotte Zolotow Awards, and have been finalists for the Morris Award, the Andre Norton Award, and the Edgar Award.


Julia McCarthy, Editor


Julia McCarthy joined Atheneum after working on paperbacks at Penguin (and attempting a hodgepodge of other careers before that). She enjoys working on a wide range of voice-driven young adult, middle grade, and picture books; and is looking to expand Atheneum’s graphic novel list. Julia believes that each story has the power to engender compassion and courage within a reader and is committed to developing books that serve as a safe harbor. She is most drawn to magical realism; fantasy that addresses contemporary issues; stories that celebrate underrepresented communities; non-traditional folklore; LGBTQIA+ perspectives; empowering environmentalism; novels in verse; accessible science; stories of any age with a touch of clever humor, fantasy, or darkness; witches and goblins and ghosts and Halloweenish whimsy; STEAM-themed novels and picture books, and any sort of graphic novel you can imagine. If you’re a fan of puns, visit her on Twitter @TheJumbles.


Feather Flores, Editor


Feather Flores joined Atheneum in 2022 after four years at Chronicle Books. She works on smart, joyful picture books; middle grade romps with coming-of-age themes; distinctive, atmospheric graphic novels; and bold, open-hearted YA that reimagines everything our identities can be. Her list encompasses fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on stories by, about, and for people from marginalized communities.

Across the board, Feather is drawn to voice- and character-driven narratives with high-concept plots and solid command of their readers’ emotional responses. She champions books that depict the beauty and diversity of the human experience: the humor, the complexity, the curiosity, the magic. Anything that encourages young readers (especially queer readers and readers of color) to be more fully and unapologetically themselves, she wants to see it. Feather edits from the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find her expressing endless enthusiasm on Twitter @FeatherFully and explore her full manuscript wishlist at



Kristie Choi, Associate Editor


Kristie Choi joined Simon & Schuster in 2020 after interning at W. W. Norton & Company, McIntosh & Otis, and previously sleuthing as a private investigator. She's acquiring for a range of fiction and select nonfiction and loves working on everything from young adult, middle grade, graphic novels (early reader, MG, and YA), to picture books. Kristie is looking for stories that have an original and timeless feel that young readers of all backgrounds can get lost in and feel seen in. Regardless of format, she's drawn to underrepresented voices (especially Native/Indigenous, BIPOC, queer, ND, and disabled); evocative, immersive prose; lyricism; smart and absurd, silly humor; complex characters; big ideas; twists and turns and an air of the unexpected; literary fantasy; and a standout voice. Kristie has been a lifelong detective of sorts and loves reading about everything from mystery/thrillers written with beautiful prose to coming-of-age tales of characters discovering the secrets of the universe. Her taste tends to run literary or "upmarket" for genre fiction, and she loves when writing doesn't underestimate the intelligence of young readers. Many of the stories she's fallen in love with have been quirky or a bit innovative—the kind she would never have thought to ask for with a manuscript wishlist. In her spare time, she loves exploring the hiking trails and hot springs around Denver where she's based, rock climbing, and listening to true crime podcasts. Find her on Twitter/IG @MinjiPatterson.


Daniela Villegas Valle, Assistant Editor


Daniela Villegas Valle joined Simon & Schuster in 2021 and is now an assistant editor to Justin Chanda, Anne Zafian, and Denene Millner. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in both English and Spanish and a minor in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University, after which she completed the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. Born in Mexico, raised (mostly) in Chile, and graduated in the US, she is drawn towards multicultural voices that speak about identity and adventure. Whimsical picture books, cozy fantasy, and character driven stories are some of the things that she loves.