Meet a Lerner: Rachel Zugschwert

Meet Rachel Zugschwert, Lerner’s Group Marketing Director!

If you wrote a book, what would your author bio be?

I have written a book…in sixth grade. It’s about some friends who win the lottery, go on a cruise, get shipwrecked, and then get kidnapped by monsters. Strangely, I don’t have a publishing deal for it yet! Here is what my author bio would have said then: Rachel really likes cats, purple, and books, in no particular order.

Actually, that’s probably what my author bio would say now, too.

Rachel Zugschwert
“When one has the chance to take a photo with a digger in the front yard…one does so.”

How did you get into children’s publishing?

Over the course of my career, I’ve worked on books for both adults and kids, and that’s been a nice mix. I didn’t start working in children’s publishing until after my own kids were born, so I understand a lot more about how kids interact with books and what parents are looking for–that’s been very helpful. I started in publishing with the idea that I’d go into editorial but I accepted the second job I was offered in the publishing world which put me on a marketing track. (The first job would not have been a good fit.) I like marketing books much more than I would enjoy editing them, as it turns out–I joke that my job is to read books and tweet about them, and really, what could be better than that?

What were your favorite books as a kid? What are some favorite books you’ve read recently?

My absolute favorite book as a kid was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn–I still re-read it once a year. I also loved the Boxcar Children series, Nancy Drew (originals and Case Files), Harriet the Spy, the Xanth series, and, perhaps strangely, some of my mom’s books. Sidetracked Home Executives and The Unofficial Guide to Disney World were some of my particular favorites. (What can I say? I’m a planner.)

My 2018 new year’s resolution was to read more fiction, because last year I read so much nonfiction I got burned out. Recently, I’ve really loved We Are Legion, We Are Bob and am excited to read the rest of the trilogy (I am a huge sci-fi nerd and met my husband in a science fiction book club!). I also just read A Gentleman in Moscow, and The Underground Railroad, both of which are amazing. On the nonfiction side, I recently read Ghost in the Wires which was great (and reads like a novel so it counts for my resolution!).

Rachel Zugschwert

Say you’re trapped on a desert island–what 5 books would you want with you?

That’s a tough one. How long am I trapped there? Is this the five books I’d want to read over and over again forever, or five new-to-me books that will help me pass a short time until I am rescued? Do I get to also pick makerspace materials and therefore need a how-to-construct-a-hut manual, or is this for leisure time when I’m not fighting for survival?

Okay, I’ll split the difference. The More Than Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (bonus points: five books in one binding!), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (it’s been on my TBR for an embarrassingly long time), Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and Naked and Marooned: One Man. One Island.

What are your hobbies besides reading?

Once upon a time, I performed with a dance troupe which was a lot of fun. I look forward to getting back to dance as a hobby someday. I like all kinds of dance, from ballet to belly dance to ballroom. Now, besides reading for my own enjoyment, I have fun reading to my preschoolers, helping them explore the world, and going to the movies and live theater.

Rachel 4

If you weren’t in children’s publishing, you’d be a…

Probably a librarian–still surrounded by books! If I had to choose something outside of publishing altogether, I’d have my own NPR show. I was a deejay in college and my degree is in broadcasting, so I’d be putting my education to use!

Thanks, Rachel!

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