On December 31, Tessa Strickland is retiring as editor-in-chief of Barefoot Books, the publishing house that she cofounded with Nancy Traversy 25 years ago.

In an announcement on the Barefoot website, Strickland wrote, “This is the first time in my life that I have retired, and I expect it will be the only time, so I haven’t yet worked out what it means.”

Strickland is retiring from her day-to-day duties at the press in order to spend more time writing. She has published several books with Barefoot under the pen name Stella Blackstone, including a board book last spring, An Island in the Sun, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli. In addition, Strickland has a small psychotherapy practice that she intends to continue.

In a message on Barefoot’s website, CEO Traversy wrote, “I will miss Tessa. But I know that she will always be part of our Barefoot family. And we are more committed than ever to the mission we had when our children were very small, and to creating beautiful ‘pearls’ to inspire our children.”

Although Strickland and Traversy founded the press as a home business when they were both young mothers in England in 1992, Barefoot is now based in Cambridge, Mass. It has grown considerably from those early days and has published over 600 multicultural books for children to date. Acccording to Traversy’s posting, the editorial team at Barefoot will remain in place.