Martha M. Rago, associate creative director at HarperCollins Children’s Books, is leaving the company after 12 years to join Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group as creative director, a new position. Her first day is February 2; she will report to v-p, associate publishing director, and art director Cathy Goldsmith.
Mallory Loehr, v-p and publishing director at Random House/Golden Books for Young Readers, told PW that Rago’s position was created “because we’ve been growing and expanding our trade list and our brand list so quickly that we knew we needed to bring in someone with great experience and vision.” The recent growth at Random has led to the addition of new editors, including Maria Modugno, also from Harper, and Francis Gilbert from Sterling. But as the picture book list has doubled, Loehr believes that by bringing in Rago, Random House will “have the additional art support we need to grow and be successful.” Rago will work on all aspects of Random’s trade and brand business, from board books to YA. Her direct reports will be art director Jason Zamajtuk, associate art director Nicole de las Heras, and senior designer John Sazaklis.
Loehr called Rago a good fit for the company, saying, “Martha felt different because she’s really interested in strategy and big picture. To me that was really exciting.” Another draw was her previous work with longtime properties. “We know she will be able to bring something new and different to our longstanding series at Random House, with her impressive and extensive work on various legacy projects.”
While at HarperCollins, Martha oversaw art direction for the estate programs of C.S. Lewis and Shel Silverstein, as well as titles for Mo Willems (Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs), Kadir Nelson (Heart and Soul; Nelson Mandela), Antoinette Portis (Not a Box) and many others. Before Harper, Martha worked at Henry Holt, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Dutton Children’s Books, and G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Loehr said, “We’re all so excited to have her on board. We’re excited to have a future with her here.”