Robin Adelson, executive director of Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader, will resign her posts at the end of 2014 after eight years at the helm of the two organizations. The announcement was made by Betsy Groban, CBC chair and senior v-p and publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, and Judith Haut, chair of ECAR.
“Robin’s mandate was to raise the profile of children’s books and authors in our country, and she did it – with flying colors,” the announcement stated. Among Adelson’s accomplishments were re-establishing Children’s Book Week as an annual spring event and expanding it to become a nationwide celebration of reading, with hundreds of events taking place in 85 cities and all 50 states; and reviving the nonprofit literacy organization Every Child a Reader and developing its mission of instilling a lifelong love of reading in children.
Initiatives that the director inaugurated include the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards, which in just six years has expanded participation to more than one million voters; the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; the CBC’s Diversity Committee and awareness initiative; and a wide variety of programs to educate and connect people within the children’s book industry.
“With all of Robin’s accomplishments and initiatives, CBC has experienced huge growth and is now on solid and exciting footing,” Groban told PW. “Her departure is bittersweet, since she is so terrific, but we feel very lucky to have had her here as long as we have. We feel immensely grateful to Robin for her hard and creative work, and her shoes will be very hard to fill.” Groban added that an announcement is forthcoming about the formation of a search committee to find Adelson’s successor.
“I was so excited to take on this position eight years ago,” Adelson recalled. “Over the years I’ve laughed with the CBC board that if I’d really known what I was getting into, I’m not so sure I’d have taken on the job. But there is not a doubt in my mind that I’d do it again. I have loved working with a group of individuals who were not afraid to get the ball rolling to launch monumental programs. Each time, they jumped right in, dealt with flack, and powered through.”
Asked about her post-CBC career plans, Adelson responded, “I have absolutely no idea, which I’ve never been able to say in my entire life. For the rest of the year, I’m totally invested in getting new programs underway and shoring up existing ones. I feel very positive about the exciting changes and new opportunities in the children’s book industry, and I’d love to continue to be a part of it.”