Carl Lennertz has been named executive director of the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader, effective August 8. The appointment was announced jointly by CBC board chair Jon Anderson and ECAR board chair Judith Haut. Lennertz will report directly to the CBC and ECAR boards.
"We're incredibly excited to have Carl on board," Anderson told PW. "Everyone in publishing knows him and we're thrilled to have him taking the reins." Haut added in a statement that she was "thrilled to have Carl's incredible experience, his full faceted knowledge of the book industry, and his unmatched passion for books now focused on the children's industry."
Lennertz has helmed a number of book-related nonprofits before. The former executive director of World Book Night and creator of the Book Sense (now IndieBound) Children’s and Adult Bestseller and Indie Next lists at the American Booksellers Association, he has also worked as a bookseller and held positions in sales, marketing, and publishing at a number of trade houses. Those publishers include HarperCollins, where he headed relations with independent bookstores and booked author tours for adult and children's authors alike, and Random House, where he was a salesperson representing both adult and children's titles.
“I’m really excited. It’s coming to me at the perfect time in my life and career,” Lennertz told PW. “It’s a combination of everything coming together.”
Lennertz comes to the dual nonprofits with a healthy mix of new ideas and a desire not to disrupt what he calls a "sweet spot of a great program already in place." His mission: “I just want to do what they’re doing more, better, faster.” That includes tripling social media numbers by the end of the year and going straight to the staff—as well as the "triangle of influencers" (teachers, librarians, and booksellers)—for ideas.
Some of Lennertz's own ideas include bringing in more partners and donors from outside the book world and developing a downloadable black-and-white graphic e-book in English and Spanish that can be distributed for free. "Just 10 or 15 pages!" Lennertz added. "Something that any teacher or librarian could print out from the computer.”
But perhaps most emblematic of Lennertz's ideas is his plan for Every Child a Reader's acronym. “My number one thing: You heard the acronym ECAR?" he asked. "The first thing I want to do is eliminate that acronym. 'Every Child a Reader’ are the best four words I’ve come across lately in my marketing life. It’s just a beautiful quartet of words."
As executive director, Lennertz will oversee the development and execution of both organizations' programming, including community literacy programs on both local and national levels and educational programs targeted toward the children's publishing industry. He will also oversee events that include Children's Book Week and the Children's Choice Book Awards, and literary honor programs including the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
Lennertz succeeds Jon Colman, formerly president of the National Down Syndrome Society, who left the CBC earlier this year for personal reasons. Josalyn Moran, former v-p of children's books at Barnes & Noble, took over as interim executive director while the CBC conducted the search to replace Colman. Before Colman, Robin Adelson piloted the organization from 2006 to 2014.