Jane O’Connor, former publisher of Grosset & Dunlap and president of mass market publishing at Putnam Books for Young Readers, and a bestselling author of books for children, has announced her retirement in April.
Early in her career she was assistant editor of School Library Journal, and worked as a magazine editor and book club editor at Scholastic. In 1984 she moved to Random House Children’s Books, and was promoted to editor-in-chief of Random House Books for Young Readers in 1989. In 1990 she was named v-p and publisher of Grosset & Dunlap, and in 1998 became president of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers’ mass merchandise group. In 2002 she became v-p and editor-at-large.
In her 33 years at Penguin, she created many lines of bestselling books, including the Night Before Series by Natasha Wing, the Zack Files by Dan Greenberg, Dragonslayers’ Academy by Kate McMullan, the easy-to-read line of early readers, and the Who Was? biography series, which now has more than 300 titles.
O’Connor is the author of the bestselling Fancy Nancy picture book series, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, and several other picture books and early readers, as well as two books for adults.
Francesco Sedita, president of Penguin Young Readers, said in a statement, “Jane has had a long and impactful career in children’s publishing. A true visionary, over the course of her career she has launched careers and built trendsetting brands that have shaped the landscape of kids’ books. We will miss Jane, and her incredible work. But what we will most miss is her generosity of spirit, her sharp sense of humor—and her commitment to getting children to read.”