Emma D Dryden

photo courtesy Sonya Sones

I was born and raised in New York City. Yes, I’m a native New Yorker. My parents were New Yorkers and  my home base is in Manhattan. I love traveling around the world and will go anywhere at least once, but home is NYC.

In college I studied poetry writing and storytelling with Nancy Willard and took an immersive poetry writing seminar with former U.S. Poet Laureate, Richard Wilbur. The summer before graduation, I landed an internship as a “jack of all trades” assistant at Viking Children’s Books and once I earned my B.A in English Language & Literature from Smith College, I returned to New York City to be an Editorial Assistant at Random House Children’s Books. I was then hired as Associate Editor for the legendary Margaret K. McElderry, whose eponymous imprint was part of Macmillan Children’s Books, and was later named Senior Editor of the imprint. After Margaret McElderry retired, I was made Vice President, Editorial Director, and in 2005 I became Vice President, Publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, a position I held until 2009 when I launched drydenbks.​

Over the course of my thirty-year career I’ve edited more than 1,000 books for children and young readers, ranging in format from board books, picture books, novelty and poetry to MG and YA fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, and graphic novels.  As publisher, I oversaw a staff of editors and the annual publication of over one-hundred hardcover and paperback titles. The books I’ve edited have received starred reviews, were named to year-end “best of” lists, received regional and national publicity and acclaim, and hit the  bestseller lists in USA TodayThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, Publishers Weekly,  and other national publications. Books published under my guidance received numerous awards and medals, among them the Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor, Caldecott Honor, National Book Award nomination, Coretta Scott King Author Award, Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Coretta Scott King Illustration Award, Indies Choice Book Award, New York Times Best Illustrated Award, Museum of Tolerance Children’s Book Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, Christopher Award, Jane Addams Book Award, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, and National Parenting Publications Gold Award. [See book cover gallery here]

When I’m not editing or coaching, I’m doing some writing of my own. I am the co-author of the award-winning WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? published by Sourcebooks/Little Pickle Press in 2016. I also write poetry, have published several board books and coloring books, and share musings on my blog,  Our Stories, Ourselves. Writing books is far more difficult than editing books! So, to all the authors reading this, please know I empathize with the pain, struggle, and joy you go through every day of your writing lives.

I’m on the Advisory Council of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) and frequently lead workshops and intensives  around the country on all aspects of the craft of creating and publishing children’s books. Children’s books are my passion!