Penguin Canada has hired Lynne Missen as publishing director for its children’s and young adult program, which the company plans to expand.

“We’re definitely investing and expanding, and Lynne’s hire is an indication of that,” said Penguin Canada publisher Nicole Winstanley. She added that “there is more news to come,” but said she could not discuss details at this time.

Missen, an editor with 20 years experience, was lured away from HarperCollins Canada where she had been for nine years, the last six as executive editor of children’s books. “It was simply a great offer and a fantastic opportunity. It seemed too good to be turned down,” she said, adding that Penguin already has wonderful authors such as Eric Walters and Teresa Toten, and she wants to build on that roster. Missen will be responsible for publishing strategy and editorial direction of Penguin Canada’s illustrated children’s, middle grade and young adult titles, including brand and licensed properties.

Missen takes over from Jennifer Notman, who decided not to return after a maternity leave. Winstanley said Notman brought some wonderful children’s writers on board, but when she decided not to return to the job “we decided to have a look at the potential for the children’s program to see what else we could do with it. And the fact that Lynne was open to a move was really exciting.”

Winstanley felt Missen was the right choice for Penguin because she has “a great track record of doing a diverse list of children’s and YA, everything from the traditional to the edgy, things that will appeal to boys and young men or girls and young women, Canadian and international. And I think it’s that diversity as well as her record for picking award winners and bestsellers that really appealed to us.”

Missen said she has always focused on fiction for children aged about eight and up. But she said that she is happy to take on other kinds of books and that she is excited about projects that are already underway at Penguin, including a picture book and some graphic novels. Missen has worked with such acclaimed authors as Kenneth Oppel, Susan Juby, Arthur Slade, Kit Pearson, John Marsden and Lemony Snicket.