Andrea Davis Pinkney
Publishing executive Andrea Davis Pinkney ’85 has worn many hats throughout her career. As vice president, executive editor for Scholastic, Pinkney has acquired and edited a robust mix of titles.
They include the Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winner Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis; Drawing from Memory by Caldecott medalist Allen Say; Odetta, a picture book created with the late folk singer; The Cruisers series by Newbery Honor author and National Book Award finalist Walter Dean Myers; and March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris, the sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In addition to her work as a publisher, Pinkney is The New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of many books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and non-fiction. Her novels include With the Might of Angels, a book in the Dear America series, and Bird in a Box. Her picture books include Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, a Parenting Publication Gold Medal winner, winner of the Jane Addams Book Award, the Carter G. Woodson Award for historical works for young people, the Anne Izard Storyteller’s Award, and the Flora G. Stieglitz Strauss Award for Nonfiction; Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, which also won the Carter G. Woodson Award; and Duke Ellington, a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor Book.
Pinkney began her editorial career at Essence magazine as senior editor, Contemporary Living, then went on to pursue a career in children’s book publishing. At Simon & Schuster, she served as an acquisitions editor, then served as editorial director at Disney Publishing’s Hyperion Books for Children. During her tenure at Disney, she was the founder of Jump at the Sun, the first African American children’s book imprint at a major publishing company. She launched the best-selling series, The Cheetah Girls, and created the Shanna Show book series, now a Disney Channel animated selection.
After Disney, she joined the Children’s Division of Houghton Mifflin as vice president and publisher. While there, she served as the chief architect of the children’s trade editorial program and oversaw the expansion of the company’s key franchises including the Curious George publishing program and the media tie-in program for the best-selling children’s classic The Polar Express. She acquired and edited many award-winning books, among them Toni Morrison’s Remember: The Journey to School Integration and A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson. She also published the teen book Serving from the Hip by tennis pros Venus and Serena Williams, which was featured in a two-part special on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Pinkney was named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, a publication for black professionals, and was listed among “The 25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives” by Children’s Health Magazine. She earned a bachelor of science degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and in 2008 received the Arents Award, Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor.