Putnam Books for Young Readers president and publisher Nancy Paulsen is launching an eponymous imprint, Nancy Paulsen Books, with the first titles landing in 2011. Paulsen, who has led the division for 15 years, plans to publish 12 to 15 picture books, middle grade and young adult novels annually. She will continue at the helm of Putnam Books for Young Readers until the company finds a successor—a process that has already begun.

Paulsen has a long list of critically and commercially acclaimed authors in her stable, including Jacqueline Woodson, winner of three Newbery Honor Awards (most recently this year’s After Tupacand D Foster); Tomie dePaola; and Adele Griffin, a National Book Award nominee for Where I Want to Be. Under the new imprint, she will continue to publish and personally edit Woodson, dePaola, and Griffin, as well as Nikki Grimes, Dave Horowitz, Rachel Isadora, Maira Kalman, Robin McKinley, David Milgrim, Wendell Minor, Patricia Polacco, Polly Shulman, David Ezra Stein, Simms Taback, and Hudson Talbott.

Although she has held publisher and other leadership positions, Paulsen said, “my greatest joy has come from working closely with authors and artists to create books. I am thrilled with the opportunity to return to my true passion full time—editing.” She plans to publish “picture books that are eye-opening and inventive, along with fiction, from culturally diverse and distinct voices, that is enlightening and emotionally satisfying.”

A Putnam spokesperson said the house is currently searching for Paulsen’s successor and is “exploring many options for this position.”