Longtime children’s book editor and writing instructor Deborah Brodie died on Wednesday, June 27, in New York City. She was 67 and had suffered from cancer.
Brodie began her publishing career in 1979 at Viking Children’s Books where she rose to the title of executive editor, a position she held until leaving the company in 2001. In January 2001, Brodie came on board as one of the co-founders of the Roaring Brook Press imprint at Millbrook Press, and in 2004 helped expand and develop Roaring Brook as it became part of Holtzbrinck USA (now Macmillan). Brodie and Roaring Brook parted ways in 2007 and she struck out into a freelance career as an editor, writing instructor/coach, and “book doctor.”
Throughout her time in the children’s book industry she worked with such acclaimed authors and illustrators as Patricia Reilly Giff, Tony Johnston, Seymour Chwast, Sarah Dessen, Mary Pope Osborne, and Jane Yolen. Among her many accomplishments at Viking, Brodie conceived and edited the long-running (and still in-print) Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler, and during her tenure at Roaring Brook she launched the careers of 21 debut authors and illustrators.
Nancy Paulsen, president and publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books at Penguin Young Readers Group, recalls her years working with Brodie: “Deborah Brodie was my very first boss in publishing. I was her assistant at Viking and right from the start got such a kick out of her. I thought she held the keys to the city. Deborah adored what she did for a job—she had decided at age 12 to leave Kansas and come to New York City and edit. She was always zooming in and out of our Madison Avenue offices with her green scarves flying. She was such a warm, encouraging boss, and later a gracious, supportive colleague. Deborah was witty and wise and so much fun—and we will all miss her joyous spirit.”
Brodie is survived by her sister, children Daniel and Rachel, son-in-law Adam, and two granddaughters.