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Barton retires after nearly 40 years at Macmillan Children’s Books

Macmillan Children’s Books (MCB) publisher Stephanie Barton will retire on 28th April 2023 after 18 years at the company.

Her departure from children’s publishing after nearly 40 years will allow her to concentrate on personal interests, but she will continue to consult with managing director Belinda Ioni Rasmussen and author/creator Rod Campbell.

Since joining MCB 10 years ago, Barton has been a member of the leadership team and most recently headed the preschool, brands and classics division, including Campbell Books and Two Hoots. Working closely with author-illustrator Rod Campbell, she has overseen his early learning publishing, including Dear Zoo.

She has led the team working with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler on their classic books, their Tales from Acorn Wood, and The Gruffalo Advent Calendar Book Collection. She has also been “instrumental” in developing the Macmillan heritage list, launching The Macmillan Alice™ brand in 2015 for the 150th anniversary, and she instigated the creative relationship with Moomin Characters, whom MCB have published with since 2017.

Barton also negotiated the rights to publish new Winnie-the-Pooh poetry picture gift books, encouraged the late Jill Murphy to create a new Bear Family story picture book, Just One of Those Days, after a publishing gap of 37 years, and has most recently agreed a new creative partnership with Camilla Reid for a range of preschool titles.

She began her career at Ladybird Books as an editor where she honed her knowledge and enthusiasm for early learning and child development, and where she and her team commissioned Baby Touch, took on the publishing for Topsy and Tim working with Jean Adamson, acquired the Puddle Lane Reading Programme and an unknown animated property at the time, Peppa Pig. She moved with the imprint to Penguin Random House in 1999.

Barton went on to become preschool publishing director for DK and Ladybird before moving to Frederick Warne, where she became m.d. heading the Peter Rabbit business, The Flower Fairies and Spot. Added to her remit was BBC Children’s Books, and in 2009 she was made m.d. of Penguin Children’s Books.

She said: “I have been so incredibly privileged to work with the most wonderful people over my career, and how lucky am I to have had a job that has never felt like a job. I have so many people to thank for that. Some may say this is retiring but I don’t see it like that; I have so much I want to do and I see this next step as a brand new shiny thing and an exciting chapter in my life…”

Source: The bookseller