Margaret K. McElderry was a celebrated children’s book editor. At Simon & Schuster, her imprint, Margaret McElderry Books, was the first juvenile imprint to be named after an editor. She stayed with the imprint into her 90s serving as editor-at-large.

Margaret’s “first job in books” was in the New York Public Library’s children’s department. Her first job in publishing was at Atheneum Books. In 1952, she became the first editor whose books won both the Newbery (for writing) and Caldecott (for illustration) in the same year.

She was, as many of her authors would tell you, a dream editor. Intuitive, supportive, patient, but tough when necessary.

As an employer, she was challenging. Margaret was a perfectionist who did not believe in the achievement of perfection, but she did expect the very best of everyone with whom she worked. She inspired them to reach out and “do even better the next time”.

Margaret was fascinated with people. Those searching eyes of her would fix on you, making you feel as if she was looking inside your soul, and she would very unabashedly interrogate you until she was satisfied that she’d learned of you what she would or wanted. She was equally fascinating and entertaining.

People throughout publishing and all round the world  loved and respected her… even those who found her at times a singularly demanding employer.

Margaret McElderry passed away in February, 2011 at the age of 98. She will be missed.