After editing many Newbery and Caldecott Medal and Honor winners (including the Newbery and Caldecott Medals together, in 1952), McElderry was asked to take early retirement, a request that stunned her. "When I asked why, I was told that the wave of the future had passed me by," she says. "That was the exact wording, and it was a real slap in the face."
Obviously, many others thought otherwise, as McElderry soon received job offers from 12 publishers. The winner was Atheneum, where she launched her own line of books. In her words, "My imprint was given to me as an honor, and it was, since it was the first children's book imprint to have a person's name attached to it."
One of the authors she lured from Harcourt was Flora, who wrote and illustrated six books for McElderry's new imprint.