Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 31, 2009

Catherine Onder, Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books

Catherine Onder is a favorite editor of the New Jersey SCBWI.  If you have been fortunate enough to meet her, you know why.  Not only is she a very good editor, but she is a very giving person who is devoted to improving the caliber of books in the children’s book industry.  

Author Jeannine Norris attended a New Jersey Mentoring Workshop where Catherine heard her first page, one thing lead to another
and Jeannine ended up with an editor for her book
Tonight You Are My Baby, which is available in bookstores now.

Whether funny and light or dark and mysterious, traditional or edgy, she
looks for strong narrative and voice, and a clear vision in all manuscripts. Authors and artists she has worked with include
Matthew S. Armstrong, Karen Barbour, Ann Cannon, Alex Flinn, Katherine Langrish, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jeannine Q. Norris, Laura Ruby, Terry Trueman, and Jenny Valentine.

Catherine develops picture books, chapter books, tween fiction and YA
novels. Below are a few of the books she helped develop during her
six years with HarperCollins Children’s Books.

  • Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine. “Valentine’s debut novel shines richly.” –ALA Booklist (starred review). A wholly original & assured novel and a 2009 William C. Morris Award finalist.
  • The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean—Winner of the 2008 Michael L. Printz Award. This thriller brings the Antarctic alive in all its brutal beauty as a teenage girl is dragged by her mad uncle on a devastating journey to the center of the earth.   
  • Tonight You Are My Baby: Mary’s Christmas Gift by Jeannine Q. Norris, illustrated by Tim Ladwig.  A gorgeous retelling of the Nativity, where Mary cherishes one night with her infant son.
  • Troll Blood by Katherine Langrish—Set in a world of Viking legends that Eoin Colfer dubs “captivating,” this action-packed middle grade fantasy features dark discoveries, stunning secrets, troll trickery—and a boy who can’t help being a hero.
  • The Return to Narnia: The Rescue of Prince Caspian—A beautiful picture book adaptation of Prince Caspian featuring the debut of talented new artist, Matthew Armstrong.
  • Diva by Alex Flinn— a talented singer strives to let go of her past and shape her future in this modern teen novel that Kirkus praises as “realistic and thoughtful.”

 She is open to working with authors and illustrators that are new to the field. The genres of interest include: commercial and literary teen fiction; humorous and serious tween contemporary fiction & fantasy with strong protagonists; picture books with prominent central characters (like Fancy Nancy) & quirky or funny storylines.  She does not consider herself the best editor for quiet picture books or quiet historical fiction.   

Catherine will be answering questions from children’s book writers and illustrators in the fall issue of Sprouts magazine, so feel free to send me your questions.

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