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Richard Robinson (1937–2021), CEO of children’s book publishing company Scholastic

by Linnea Crowther

Richard Robinson was the CEO of the children’s book publishing company Scholastic for decades, where he introduced book series including Harry Potter and the Hunger Games to the U.S.

Building the family business

Robinson’s father, Maurice Robinson, founded Scholastic in 1920. Though Robinson initially never intended to go into the family business, he became an associate editor in 1962 and rose to president of the company in 1974. The following year, he was named CEO, and he led Scholastic until his death. During those decades, Robinson built Scholastic into a powerhouse that became the largest children’s book publisher in the world. He brought in blockbuster series including Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, Captain Underpants, and Goosebumps. Robinson helped guide Scholastic in its mission of encouraging all children to read, and he advocated publishing children’s books on important and socially relevant topics.

Notable quote

“We strongly believe our books and magazines need to address tough topics that are relevant, even if we get backlash or boycotted.” —from a 2020 interview with the Associated Press

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Tributes to Richard Robinson

Full obituary: The New York Times

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