Connie Hsu

Children's Book Editor

Chapter: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Class/Semester: Alpha, Spring 2001
Major: Advertising
 
Although Connie Hsu came to the U.S. when she was a baby, her family was a Mandarin speaking household. At school, she wasn't a confident speaker, and spoke in an accent and with grammatical errors. Connie did, and still sometimes do, misuse words and mix up idioms. This landed Connie in remedial reading groups, with her first grade teacher taking the extra time after school to help her. Basically, Connie thought she was terrible at English.

But she still loved to read. Whenever Connie went to the library, she would check out any book on the Newbery and Caldecott poster. Connie never knew how books were made, so it was a happy discovery when she learned what a book editor does. Not only does the editor read submissions and decide which books are right for publication, they also work hand-in-hand with authors and illustrators to reshape the stories and characters until the books feel just right. Now, Connie is a senior editor at Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan, where she gets to make children's books every day--and see the fruits of her labor both on bookshelves and with the parents and kids who read them. And just this month, she learned that a book she edited at her last publisher, The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat (an Asian American author/illustrator) won the 2015 Caldecott Medal and will now be featured on those very same posters that she used to follow at the library.

One of Connie's goals is to increase diversity, in the books they make, the authors they work with, and the people who work at publishing companies. She hopes this will inspire her fellow sisters to look into this industry and maybe also find a creatively fulfilling career.