June 16, 2021

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Richard Robinson, longtime Scholastic CEO, dies at 84

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NEW YORK — Richard Robinson, who as the longtime head of Scholastic Inc. shaped the examining practices of millions of young visitors by these bestsellers as J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” novels and via a extensive array of educational products, examining clubs and guide fairs, has died. He was 84.

The children’s publishing large introduced that Robinson died Saturday, but did not promptly supply a result in. He experienced been in superb well being, in accordance to the publisher.

“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Dick Robinson,” Scholastic’s board of directors claimed in a statement. “Dick was a correct visionary in the entire world of children’s guides and an unrelenting advocate for children’s literacy and education and learning with a impressive passion his full everyday living.”

Scholastic
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is the world’s biggest publisher of children’s publications and has extended stated it distributes 1 out of every single 3 children’s e-book in the U.S. The publicly traded company’s estimated internet value is around $1.2 billion, down from more than $1.6 billion in 2016 but well earlier mentioned a very low of less than $800 million throughout final year’s pandemic.

Aside from the “Potter” textbooks, Scholastic also publishes this sort of well known series as Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Game titles,” Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” and Norman Bridwell’s “Clifford the Big Pink Doggy.” Scholastic is usually a classroom fixture through its golf equipment, newsletters and other applications, like a partnership with novelist James Patterson. Contributors in Scholastic’s once-a-year Artwork & Writing Awards for learners have incorporated Robert Redford, Stephen King and Lena Dunham.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden tweeted Sunday that “Robinson was a giant and a legend in children’s literature” and cited his “lasting legacy” as a supporter of libraries and examining.

Robinson, a Pittsburgh native and graduate of Harvard Faculty, was the son of Maurice R. Robinson, who established Scholastic as a classroom magazine in 1920. The young Robinson worked as a instructor and bricklayer, amid other positions, before signing up for Scholastic in the mid-1960s. He was named president of in 1974, CEO in 1975 and board chair in 1982.

Robinson’s time at Scholastic was marked by world-wide enlargement, by economic ups and downs, even with the historic achievements of “Harry Potter,” and occasional battles with censors who objected to textbooks like “Potter,” “Captain Underpants” and Alex Gino’s “George” as inappropriate for more youthful readers. Scholastic guides generally were in the annual checklist of “challenged books” that is compiled by the American Library Association.

“We strongly imagine our books and magazines have to have to address tricky subjects that are pertinent, even if we get backlash or boycotted,” Robinson told The Linked Push in 2020.

Robinson also presided more than historic modifications in the business and tradition, regardless of whether the increase of digital media or the improved emphasis on range and scrutiny of the past. In 2016, Scholastic pulled “A Birthday Cake for George Washington,” a photo story about one particular of Washington’s slaves, after common allegations that the guide presented a benign portrait of enslavement. This spring, Pilkey agreed to withdraw “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” due to the fact of what he named “harmful racial stereotypes.”

Talking to the AP last calendar year, Robinson stated that Scholastic aimed to educate audience in an even-handed way.

“We are working with problems like worldwide warming, racial inequality in a way that doesn’t polarize the problem but gives points of views on each sides and is a well balanced neutral placement but not in a feeling of being bland,” he said. “Here are the arguments on the other. Here is what persons are stating. Listed here are queries you can inquire to formulate your very own check out.”

Robinson is a former chair of the field trade group the Affiliation of American Publishers and a member of the Association of Academic Publishers Hall of Fame. In 2017, Robinson acquired an honorary National E book Award for his contributions to the literary neighborhood. Two decades later on, he was cited by PEN America for his contributions to free expression.

“Working with you and the team at Scholastic on Harry Potter has been one particular of the most major and significant partnerships in my daily life,” Rowling, the British author for whom Scholastic served as the U.S. publisher of her Potter publications, explained in a 2019 assertion offered for the PEN award. “A exclusive romance exists in between authors and the publishers who have supported them — and you, Dick, have supported me and my work in countless, indescribable methods.”

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