The Bull's Eye

A Novel Experience

DBHS+1992+Alumna+Alvina+Ling+is+currently+Editor-in-Chief+for+Little%2C+Brown+Books+for+Young+Readers+in+Boston.
DBHS 1992 Alumna Alvina Ling is currently Editor-in-Chief for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in Boston.

DBHS 1992 Alumna Alvina Ling is currently Editor-in-Chief for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in Boston.

Photo Courtesy of TAIWANESEAMERICAN.COM

Photo Courtesy of TAIWANESEAMERICAN.COM

DBHS 1992 Alumna Alvina Ling is currently Editor-in-Chief for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in Boston.

Tess Guan, Web Editor

An early fascination with books and writing never ended for 1992 Diamond Bar High School alumna Alvina Ling. Once a writer for the The Bull’s Eye, she now works in publishing as editor-in-chief for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

She has been working with Little, Brown since 1999, and currently oversees the picture book, middle grade and young adult lists. She also edits various books for all ages, such as children’s books and young adult novels.

Ling attended UC Berkeley, initially undecided on her major. However, after taking a multitude of introductory classes, a colleague suggested she major in mass communications, as she had taken the prerequisites classes while exploring potential majors.

“That major was considered an interdisciplinary study, and students could basically build their own schedule based on a huge list of classes, so I liked that idea and that freedom,” Ling said.  

Ling didn’t know anyone living in New York City, the capital of book publishing, but was familiar with a childhood friend living in Boston, a city that also has a few publishing houses.

Before moving in with her friend, published writer Grace Lin, she decided to first move to Oakland, where she continued classes at UC Berkeley, focusing more on publishing.

While taking publishing courses, Introduction to Book Publishing and a copyediting course with UC Berkeley’s Extension program, she also spent time working at Barnes and Nobles.

“I learned so much—the most important thing being that I was always gravitating toward the children’s section. It didn’t take long for me to realize that was where my passion was,” Ling said in an interview with Publishers Weekly.

After moving to Boston, she continued working with Barnes and Nobles as a children’s specialist. After unpaid internships with Charlesbridge and The Horn Book, Ling applied for an open editorial assistant position at Little, Brown, at her supervisor’s recommendation.

Of the multitude of books she has helped edit and publish, some, such as “Thunder Boy Jr.” by Sherman Alexie and “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown, have become New York Times best selling picture books. Other publications have won awards including Caldecott and Newbery Honors. She has helped publish award winning books, including Lin’s novel “The Year of the Dog” and “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon”, which won a 2012 Newbery Honor.

“I feel really blessed to have found a career that aligns with my passions that keeps me fulfilled, one where I can continue to learn and grow,” Ling said in an interview with the official Taiwanese American website.

Ling also participated as a founding member of Diversity in Books, which includes a group of editors who advocate for more diversity in the current children’s publishing industry.

“The demographics of our country are rapidly changing—we are becoming a more multicultural population, and therefore I believe that books featuring multicultural and LGBT characters will continue to grow. We still have a long way to go before the media reflects our reality, but we’re making progress,” she said in an interview with the Diversity in YA website.

Ling graduated DBHS in 1992, where was an active member of the school’s band and journalism program. She worked as the news editor for the Bull’s Eye and also played the clarinet in marching band.

“I actually really loved marching band—[like] going to competitions, being competitive. Probably my geekiest moment for me was the fact that we had a ‘secret handshake’ in the clarinet section. I still remember it today,” she said.

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