HarperCollins Children’s Books has announced the appointment of Monica Perez as editorial director of Versify Books, a role she will assume on November 29. Versify published its first titles in fall 2019 as an imprint of HMH featuring a list curated by author Kwame Alexander. The line is committed to publishing accessible picture books, novels, and nonfiction that will “change the world, one word at a time.”

During her children’s publishing career, Perez has held positions at Candlewick Press, Houghton Mifflin, and most recently Charlesbridge, where she served as executive editor and edited books in the literary, commercial, and bilingual areas. In her new position, Perez will acquire and edit fiction and nonfiction titles across all ages for the Versify list.

“Versify exemplifies the best of what publishing can offer—a glimpse into all walks of humanity—and I’m grateful to be part of its mission,” Perez said in a statement. “Books steered the course of my life. I couldn’t be more thrilled to join senior editor Weslie Turner and editorial assistant Ciera Burch in cultivating new voices and showcasing talented creators who have the same impact on young readers.”

Forthcoming releases on the Versify list will include work by Pura Belpré Award winner Raúl the Third, award-winning author Lamar Giles, bestseller Tiffany Jewell, and acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni.

Mary Wilcox, v-p and director of publishing for the Clarion Group, forecasted a bright future for Versify under the new editorial director’s stewardship. “Monica is a deeply experienced editorial leader, and this is an exciting moment for her to take the helm of the immensely talented Versify team,” she said. “Her dedication to cultivating and supporting inclusive voices will enrich Versify’s mission to electrify, edify, and exemplify with storytelling that celebrates the lives and reflects the possibilities of all children.”

Reflecting on her next career chapter, Perez expressed optimism about the state of publishing and her new role. “I've had a series of strong, smart mentors during my career,” she told PW, “and it's my goal to be that person for the next generation of editors—folks who are coming into the industry better informed and with more passion to make a difference than ever. That shared vision is something I'm excited and humbled to be a part of—even while it can be intimidating to enter uncharted waters. However, publishing has always been about taking calculated risks. I fully believe we're well poised at Versify to face the challenges of publishing for a global society very much in transition.”

This article has been updated.