The History of NECBA

The New England Children’s Bookselling Advisory Council (NECBA) was established in the summer of 1987 by Bina Williams and Carol Chittenden. They were soon joined by Terri Schmitz, Suzanne Sigman, and others.  Though it originally functioned separately from NEBA (now NEIBA) – meeting only occasionally to discuss matters of interest to children’s bookstore owners – it thrived and was adopted into NEBA in 1989 as an interest group and advisory council.

In time, as the bookselling trade evolved, the emphasis moved away from children’s bookstore owners and toward the interests of children’s bookselling in general.

Since 2015, a committee of NECBA community members has curated an annual list of diverse and inclusive titles that they feel best represent the concept of Windows & Mirrors (best articulated by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop). After selecting titles submitted by publishers and booksellers, NECBA presents the final Windows & Mirrors list at the annual NEIBA Fall Conference, as well as at various ABA and NEIBA/NECBA events. Committee members write short blurbs for each title, which are then posted on the NECBA page of the NEIBA site, along with an Edelweiss collection. 

Now, NECBA focuses on the education of children’s booksellers to better improve and diversify the industry. Meetings are open to any NEIBA member who wishes to attend.

As part of NEIBA, NECBA follows specific bylaws:

  • Section 2. The President shall appoint a chairperson or Chairpersons of the New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council, which will be open to any member of NEIBA actively involved in children’s bookselling. The Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council will convene at least three times a year, including a meeting during the Annual Trade Show.

What do NECBA co-chairs do?

Co-chairs, as designated by NEIBA, serve two-year terms. Since their establishment in 1989, co-chairs set agendas, conduct meetings, and communicate ideaso the President, to NEIBA staff, and to NEIBA and NECBA members. The NECBA chairs also serve on the NEIBA Advisory Council.

NECBA co-chairs facilitate educational sessions throughout the year. This includes an annual meeting at the Fall Conference, where NECBA co-chairs also assist NEIBA selecting participants for theildren’s Author & Illustrator meal.

What has NECBA done?

Since its inception in 1987, NECBA has been involved in events, education, and encouraging discussion among booksellers. Previous activities and responsibilities have included:

  • Ensuring all discussions and communications are open and unregulated, but conducted with care to avoid competitive bias (est. 1987).
  • Aiding in the defense against infringement of trade allegations and litigation (est. 1994).
  • Helping NEIBA staff prepare and distribute for sale a directory of New England Authors and Illustrators of Children’s Books (1994-2007).
  • Planning and executing an educational session at the Fall Conference (est. 1992 – ongoing).
  • Selecting participants for the Children’s Author & Illustrator meal at the Fall Conference (est. 1992 – ongoing).
  • Assembling a Spring Review Project (est. 2005) and a Fall Review Project (est. 1996) to share reviews of forthcoming middle-grade and young adult fiction with the NEIBA membership and BookSense.
  • Occasionally sharing or exchanging inventory by mutual terms and agreement with other members (est. 1987).

The evolutionary description was first established by Carol Chittenden and Patty Cryan in April 2008 and updated in October 2018 by Nicole Brinkley and Julia Hobart.