Heartwarming beauties, lively humor, conversation starters, much-needed mirrors: classics in the making.
Dial publishes books for two through teen that aim to entertain, enrich, and encourage our readers. We care deeply about diversity and about artistic excellence, and we’re proud of the many awards that have highlighted our focus on these priorities. Recent awards include Newbery Honors for Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson and The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; the Printz Medal for I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to Jerry Pinkney for lifetime achievement; a Caldecott Honor for One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and David Small; a Coretta Scott King Honor for How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson; and a Sibert Honor for Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery.
Established in 1961, Dial Books for Young Readers was an early pioneer of titles for the very young, including the first quality board books published in the U.S., Rosemary Wells’s Very First Books line, and some of the first wordless picture books, Mercer Mayer’s A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog titles. More recently we continue to publish acclaimed and kid-popular picture books, such as the New York Times Bestsellers Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri, The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak, the Ladybug Girl series by David Soman and Jacky Davis, the Skippyjon Jones books by Judy Schachner, and the Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos.
Dial has a long history of being a leader in multicultural publishing, including such classic titles as Mildred D. Taylor’s Newbery Medal winner Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Julius Lester’s Newbery Honor winner To Be a Slave, Leo and Diane Dillon’s Caldecott Medal winner Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, and Jerry Pinkney’s Caldecott Honor winner The Talking Eggs (written by Robert D. San Souci).
Other exemplary middle grade and young adult titles from Dial’s backlist—all speaking to our “classics in the making” mission—include Richard Peck’s Newbery Medal winner A Year Down Yonder, Ingrid Law’s Newbery Honor Book Savvy, Holly Goldberg Sloan’s New York Times Bestseller Counting by 7s, John Corey Whaley’s Rainbow List winner Highly Illogical Behavior, Nancy Werlin’s National Book Award Finalist The Rules of Survival, Cassie Beasley’s New York Times Bestseller Circus Mirandus, and ALA Notable Books Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon and Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon.
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Lauri Hornik, President and Publisher of Dial Books for Young Readers, began her career as an editorial assistant at Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books in 1988, right after graduating from Harvard. She moved to New York City six years later as Senior Editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, and then joined Penguin in 1999 as Editorial Director of Dial. In her time at Penguin, she has edited the National Book Award Finalists A River Between Us by Richard Peck and The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin; New York Times Bestsellers The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak, Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, and the Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos; Caldecott Honor Book One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and David Small; Coretta Scott King Honor Books How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson and The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston and Jerry Pinkney; Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee; and Sibert Honor Book Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery.
Nancy Mercado began her career in the Scholastic Book Clubs in 1999 and has held editorial positions at Dial Books for Young Readers, Roaring Brook Press and Scholastic Press. Now back at Dial, she manages a team of brilliant editors and edits a select list of chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels, with an occasional picture book, non-fiction project and graphic novel thrown in for good measure. Over the years, Nancy has had the good fortune of editing books by Paul Acampora, Cecil Castellucci, Tommy Greenwald, Paul Griffin, Peter Raymundo, Isabel Quintero, Lauren Tarshis, Diana Lopez and many others. Thrilled to continue in the Dial tradition of publishing books whose aim is to have a lasting impact on the canon of children’s literature, Nancy is especially looking for diverse perspectives that remain underrepresented. She’d love to see more #ownvoices first- and second-generation immigrant stories, stories featuring characters with disabilities, a MG or YA novel that explored white privilege or colorism in the Latinx community, a school-based story about an inclusion or an ELL classroom, and overall more humorous family and friendship stories with a hopeful quality to them.
Lily Malcom is the VP and Executive Art Director of Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. As an art director, she has had the privilege to work with many talented, award-winning artists, among them David Small, Jon Agee, Jerry Pinkney, Judy Schachner, Erin E. Stead, Tao Nyeu, Zachariah OHora, William Wegman, and Corinna Luyken to name a few. Lily enjoys working with longtime professionals as well as new, first-time illustrators. She is always on the lookout for unique, memorable characters and stories with a strong visual narrative.
Kate Harrison grew up reading anything and everything, and while taking a children’s lit writing class at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, made the glorious discovery that she could actually make a career around books. She spent eight years at Harcourt Children’s Books before moving over to Dial Books for Young Readers. She feels lucky to work with many incredible authors and illustrators, including Victoria Jamieson, Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri, Ingrid Law, Ursula Vernon, Paul Griffin, Hannah E. Harrison, Kate McMullan, Tao Nyeu, Rob Harrell, Elise Primavera, and many others. When she’s not reading, you can usually find her wandering around a park (with a small child climbing and/or wiping boogers on her), or bingeing on podcasts and Netflix (and thinking about what she could be reading).
Jessica Dandino Garrison is an alumna of Emory University and joined Dial in 2004. She has edited bestselling authors, including Jandy Nelson and her Printz Award–winning I’ll Give You the Sun, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and the sequel to her Newbery Honor–winning The War that Saved My Life, Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda and their Here Comes the Easter Cat, and David Soman and Jacky Davis, creators of the Ladybug Girl series. Jess looks for layered middle grade and young adult fiction that transcends genre, seeking fresh, diverse voices, a deep emotional pull, pacey storytelling, and rich themes. She’s drawn to character-driven picture books that meld humor and empathy.
Lucia Monfried joined Penguin in 1985 as an editor at Dutton Children’s Books. Currently a senior editor at Dial, she focuses on picture books and middle grade fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She has edited acclaimed middle grade authors Lloyd Alexander, Jean Craighead George, Donna Jo Napoli, Gary Blackwood, and Joseph Bruchac, in addition to up-and-comer Abby Hanlon, author of the ALA Notable Book Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep. Lucia’s picture book list includes such notable titles as Judy Schachner’s New York Times Bestselling Skippyjon Jones, Marilyn Singer’s ALA Notable Book Mirror Mirror, Robert Byrd’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner Electric Ben, and Sarvinder Naberhaus and Kadir Nelson’s soon-to-be-published Blue Sky White Stars.
Dana Chidiac is an associate editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, where she works on picture books, middle grade, and YA. Originally from Michigan, Dana was a children’s bookseller at Politics & Prose in Washington, DC, and Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, MA, and earned a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College in Boston before joining Dial in 2013. Her favorite books feature unfamiliar settings and unforgettable voices that beg to be read out loud. She would drop everything to read a middle grade novel about the national spelling bee.
Ellen Cormier is an associate editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, acquiring picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She is a graduate of Smith College and the Columbia Publishing Course and has been with Dial since 2014. Ellen is on the lookout for voicey, character-driven stories that explore universal themes through the lens of hyper-specific experiences. She is a sucker for novels voiced by the kind of flawed, complex characters that stick with you long after the final page and picture books that make her laugh out loud. Across all genres and categories, Ellen is eager to publish books that represent the full spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ experience.