Dial Books for Young Readers
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 amplifying underrepresented voices 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 Fighting Words and The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; the Printz Medal for I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; a Geisel Honor for The Bear in the Family by Maya Tatsukawa; National Book Award Finalist When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed; the Morris and APALA Awards for Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram; 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; a Sibert Honor for Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery; Schneider Family Book Award Honors for Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen by Sarah Kapit and When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed; Stonewall Honors for Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder; and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors for Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram, The Best Man by Richard Peck, and It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee.
Established in 1961, Dial Books for Young Readers was an innovator 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’sA 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 Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld, If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen, and the Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos.
Dial’s history of publishing change-making books by Black, Indigenous, and creators of color includes 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, s, Jerry Pinkney’s Caldecott Honor winner The Talking Eggs (written by Robert D. San Souci), and Joseph Bruchac’s acclaimed Code Talker.
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, Rob Harrell’s much-honored Wink, Jack Cheng’s award-winning See You in the Cosmos, Nancy Werlin’s National Book Award Finalist The Rules of Survival, Gabby Rivera’s acclaimed Juliet Takes a Breath, and Cassie Beasley’s New York Times Bestseller Circus Mirandus.
We do not accept any unsolicited submissions.
Meet the Team
Jennifer Klonsky, President & Publisher
Jen joined Penguin Young Readers in 2018, and currently oversees G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Razorbill Books, and Dial Books for Young Readers. Her select list includes authors David Yoon, Deb Caletti, Lisi Harrison, Sara Shepard, and actors Max Greenfield and Bobby Moynihan. She was previously Editorial Director at HarperCollins where she oversaw or edited the publications of many authors including Victoria Aveyard, Katharine McGee, Robin Benway, Sara Shepard, Misa Sugiura, Claudia Gray, and Jodi Lynn Anderson.
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Nancy Mercado, Associate Publisher and Editorial Director
Nancy Mercado (she/her) 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 picture books, chapter books, middle grade & young adult novels, and graphic novels.
Thrilled to continue in the Dial tradition of publishing books that will 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 first- and second-generation immigrant stories, joyful 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 ICT or an ELL classroom, and overall more humorous family and friendship stories with a hopeful quality to them.
Lily Malcom Vice President and Executive Art Director
Lily Malcom (she/her) 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, Senior Executive Editor
Kate Harrison (she/her) spent much of her childhood in a tiny town in Southern Missouri that is best known for its “Throwed Rolls” restaurant, where you actually have to catch your bread in order to eat it. It inspired a strong work ethic, a true love of carbohydrates, and maybe a weird sense of humor. She went to college in North Carolina and worked at Harcourt Children’s Books before spending the last thirteen years at Dial Books for Young Readers. She feels extremely lucky to work with so many incredible authors and illustrators, including Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed, Rob Harrell, Cori Doerrfeld, Ingrid Law, Maya Tatsukawa, Ursula Vernon, Paul Griffin, Hannah E. Harrison, Samantha Cotterill, Jory John, Liz Climo, Vanessa Roeder, Gideon Sterer, Lian Cho, Brad Montague, and many others. Her goal with every book she publishes is to inspire laughter, empathy, introspection, courage, creativity, a new perspective, or hopefully all of those things together. You can often find her wandering around a park (with a small or large child climbing and/or wiping boogers on her), listening to an audiobook, bingeing on podcasts, or reading and eating ice cream late at night when her three kids are finally asleep.
Jessica Dandino Garrison, Executive Editor
Jessica Dandino Garrison (she/her) 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 her Newbery Honor–winning Fighting Words, Deborah Underwood, author of The Panda Problem, and David Soman and Jacky Davis, creators of the Ladybug Girl series. Newer to Jess’s list are rising talents Jack Cheng (See You in the Cosmos), Helena Fox (How it Feels to Float), and Shana Youngdahl (As Many Nows As I Can Get), plus picture book veterans Jane Godwin and Blanca Gomez (Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse). Across all genres, Jess looks for nuanced and layered MG and YA fiction that has something to say. She seeks fresh voices, underrepresented points of view, a deep emotional pull, pacey storytelling, rich themes, and genre writing that transcends genre. A shot of humor also never hurts. Jess is drawn to clever pre-K fare and character-driven picture books that meld humor and empathy.
Ellen Cormier, Senior Editor
Ellen Cormier (she/her) is an editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, acquiring picture books, novels, and graphic novels with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ stories and creators. She is always on the lookout for voicey, character-driven books, especially ones that explore universal themes through the lens of hyper-specific experiences. She has a soft spot for witty banter, shenanigans that bring to mind The Parent Trap (1998), and bears. Ellen lives in upstate New York with two cats and several thousand honeybees.
Rosie Ahmed, Associate Editor
Rosie Ahmed (she/her) graduated with her master’s in creative writing from the University of South Dakota and joined Dial in 2018. She was a We Need Diverse Books internship grant recipient, a Representation Matters Mentorship Program mentee and junior mentor, and a co-instructor for the Children’s Book Academy summer 2020/spring 2021 middle grade and picture book writing courses. During her first year and a half at Dial Rosie was also an editorial assistant with Kathy Dawson Books, and before that an editorial intern at Bloomsbury Children’s. She is looking for children’s fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels for all ages by creators of color, particularly stories that are intersectional regarding disability, gender, and sexuality. In addition to editing her own books, Rosie assists Nancy Mercado and Lily Malcom.
Michelle Lee, Assistant Editor
Michelle Lee (she/her) received her M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the New School before joining Dial in 2019 and is a junior mentor with the Representation Matters Mentorship Program. She acquires picture books, novels, and graphic novels, and is looking for stories that present the world through a clever lens, have fresh takes on tropes, and celebrate community—especially from marginalized creators. In addition to editing her own titles, Michelle assists Lauri Hornik and Kate Harrison.
Zora Squish Pruitt, Editorial Assistant
Zora Squish Pruitt (they/them) is a genderqueer pun specialist full-time editorial assistant. After graduating with a BFA in Creative Writing from Ringling College of Art and Design, they were a 2021 We Need Diverse Books internship grant recipient and editorial intern with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group before starting at Dial. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, they spent their childhood finding the beauty of the rejects, and now are excited to work on books for the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities so that “reject” or “outcast” no longer apply to either. Currently, Squish lives in New York City with their six roommates (three human and three canine, naturally). They assist Ellen Cormier and Jess Garrison.