April 24, 2018

William Morris, VP of Harpercollins Children’s Books, dies at 74

By Walter Minkel

William Morris, who managed library promotion for HarperCollins Children’s Books and its predecessor Harper & Row, died September 29 at his home in New York City, less than a week from his 75th birthday. He had been ill with cancer for several months.

Morris, a familiar figure to many fans of children’s literature, gathered a large following of librarians and other educators who attended the popular breakfast gatherings and receptions he coordinated at conferences of the American Library Association (ALA), the International Reading Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English. In 1992, Morris was the first recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of ALA.

“Everyone trusted his judgment and everyone looked forward to seeing him,” says Sarah Belanich, a HarperCollins library and education marketing assistant. Children’s literature consultant and former school librarian Sharron McElmeel says, “I was so impressed with Bill’s genuine interest in people–no matter who or what they were. I never saw him without a smile.”