We are honoured to celebrate Barefoot Books Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Tessa Strickland, as she announces her retirement, effective December 31, 2016.
This marks the end of her 25-year story creating beautiful books at Barefoot. We are indebted to her vision and commitment, which have propelled us to our present position as an industry leader in diverse and inclusive children's books. Her work has assured our success into the next chapter of our Barefoot story.
Please read personal letters from Tessa and CEO, Nancy Traversy, below.
Our Barefoot story has had many, many chapters for the past 25 years, and I have been honoured and privileged to share all of them with my long-term business partner and dear friend, Tessa Strickland.
Sadly, I guess, every chapter in a story must come to an end, and I am writing to let you know that Tessa will step back from her executive role at Barefoot Books at the end of 2016 to begin a new chapter in her life.
Since we started as a small home-based business in England back in 1992 when our children were very little, Tessa and I have been committed to creating beautiful books that celebrate diversity, and nurture children's creativity, imagination and compassion. What has kept us going throughout our 25-year journey, perhaps despite all odds, is a shared and passionate belief in Barefoot's mission, a mutual respect for what we can each contribute, and a wonderful friendship.
As Tessa once said to a UK journalist, "We both have strong personalities and we argue a lot, but I think it's a case of the friction and the grit making the pearl."
I will miss Tessa's wonderful way with words, her wise counsel, her adventurous soul, and her serene, reassuring spirit.I will miss having the "friction and the grit".
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.
Thank you Tessa for creating an extraordinary legacy and for our unforgettable journey together over the past 25 years.
With love and gratitude,
CEO & Co-founder
'A word after a word after a word is power' - the voice of Margaret Atwood. I thought, 'Yes!' when I read this wise observation. And her repetition of 'word' - not just twice, but three times - reminded me of the extent to which writing, like any craft, requires practice. And practice requires time.
Many of you already know that I live in close proximity - closer than a heartbeat, in fact - to Stella Blackstone. She is my writing alias and she loves her work. Now that my children have flown, the time has come for me to give my writing self more space. Some of you also know that I run a small psychotherapy practice. So, at the end of this year I'll be retiring from my day-to-day executive duties at Barefoot Books to give myself more time to attend to these other areas of my life.
I cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to everyone who has supported us. The characters that fall out of the alphabet and into the stories that find their way into our books would all of them be worthless without champions to share them in the world. Whoever you are, however you found your way to us, I imagine you did so because, like me, you believe in the vital and transformative power of storytelling. And in cultural diversity and inclusivity. And in children's capacity to appreciate fantastic art. Thank you to everyone: to authors, artists and agents; to ambassadors and journalists; to booksellers and teachers; to librarians and literacy specialists; to parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts - and, of course, forever and always a big thank you to children.
I entrust the editorial team to the astonishingly capable hands of the talented Stefanie Paige Wieder, Senior Director of Product Development. Stef has alongside her two of the best editors I have ever had the good fortune to work with: the irrepressible Kate DePalma and the remarkable Lisa Rosinsky. This super-talented trio will continue to conjure up exceptional books.
I can't end this letter without sharing my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for my long-term comrade-in-arms, companion on many adventures and friend from the land of the maple leaf, Nancy. A long time ago in London, someone commented that here was a woman who seemed able to fit four lives into one. 24 years on, I still don't know how she does it. I do know that you will never meet anyone who is more dedicated to Barefoot's mission. I also want to thank everyone in the Barefoot team, past and present, for what they have each brought to the business. We have got to where we are now because everyone pulls together, often juggling a zillion tasks, but somehow, inch by inch, moving mountains.
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. However, in the spirit of lifelong learning, I will always be proud of this multi-talented worldwide family.
May your play be your work and your work be your play. I'll miss you.
(distribution by Littlehampton Book
Zuzana Miyahara Kratka
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