President & Publisher
Children’s Publishing Division
June 15, 2022
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Valerie Garfield has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Publisher of the Licensed, Novelty & Branded Publishing Group.
Valerie’s tenure at Simon & Schuster has been a long and highly successful one encompassing the full range of the Children’s Publishing business, beginning with her hire in 2006 to head up our Licensed and Novelty imprints. In Licensing she has overseen partnerships with the biggest licensors in the field, including Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Universal, Sony, Fox, Paramount, Hasbro and Mattel. In 2012, she initiated what has turned into a vibrant decade-long partnership with The Fred Rogers Company to bring their hit PBS series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood to readers everywhere. She wooed the evergreen Peanuts license to Simon & Schuster, making these beloved characters staples on our list. And just last year, Valerie’s keen eye recognized the immense appeal of the Netflix mega-hit CoComelon, which she parlayed into a deal with Moonbug Entertainment to bring the phenomenon to the publishing world. Those first CoComelon books just went on sale a few months ago and have already shipped more than a million copies.
I tasked Valerie with revitalizing our Ready-to-Read beginning reader line, as well. With her typical aplomb, she first built up Ready-to-Read’s nonfiction offerings, making it a leader in that segment, and then tackled growing our fiction line-up, which led to two Geisel Honors and growing market share in the Beginning Reader format, with her eyes firmly fixed on being the category leader.
In Novelty publishing, Valerie faced down the digital revolution and handily defeated it, proving that for some books there is no such thing as an “e” replacement. Some notable examples include the fabulous pop-up creations of Robert Sabuda, picture book and CD packages (yes, they still sell incredibly well!), and of course, board books. In fact, Valerie has overseen a dramatic expansion of our classic board book program to encompass many of the strongest perennial titles in the Simon & Schuster backlist ranging from the works of Eric Carle, and Rod Campbell’s Dear Zoo series, to We’re Going On a Bear Hunt and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, which has become the entire division’s best-selling title. In the realm of original board books, Valerie has championed the adorable babies of Karen Katz to the tune of tens of millions of copies sold, to current best-selling releases like Ruth Forman’s Glow and Curls. Her creativity and inventiveness ranges from the creation of new, original lines like New Books for Newborns to growing our collection of classic characters with the acquisitions of Santa Mouse and Angelina Ballerina.
In 2020 Valerie took on responsibility for the Aladdin imprint, bringing her branding eye to one of our biggest imprints, and home to marquee authors and series, ranging from Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities franchise to James Ponti’s City Spies bestsellers, to Rachel Renée Russell’s Dork Diaries mega-series. Along the way, she has added new and upcoming contenders including Ben Costa and James Parks’ Dungeoneer Adventures, The Grip by Major League Baseball star Marcus Stroman and a new biography series by historian and National Book Award finalist Erica Armstrong Dunbar.
Valerie’s creativity shines the brightest when it comes to her ability to develop home-grown content for middle grade, graphic novel and chapter book series. Her very first effort, Cupcake Diaries is now up to some 35 titles, with sales in the millions. She recently launched an IP graphic novel program which already boasts a breakout hit with The Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly series. But it is in the Chapter Book arena where her impact has truly been made. Beginning in 2012, with just two series, Heidi Hecklebeck and Captain Awesome, Valerie has grown Little Simon Chapter Books into the market leader with a program encompassing dozens of series, across two hundred titles, and with cumulative sales of more than fifteen million copies – and still growing by additional millions of copies each year!
For these, and so many more reasons, Valerie is beyond deserving of this promotion. Please join me in congratulating her for everything she’s done, and all her amazing contributions to come.