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Meet Julia

Julia joined the INCLUDAS team during June of 2022 as the Summer Story Development Intern. We are so excited to have her with us!

Tell us about yourself.

I really care about doing what’s right and being a good person. I always try to do the right thing and try to help someone who needs it the most. 

The most significant thing that’s influenced me as a person is probably reading books. Since before kindergarten, I was so into books. By second or third grade, I wanted to work in publishing. It’s really had a big effect on my life.

What makes you proud of yourself, and what are your aspirations?

I’m still in school, but when I was getting my bachelor’s, I had a book editing class. We were assigned to different authors who were trying to get their book published to help them work on it. I worked with a guy who was developing a manuscript for his postdoc, and we spent so much time on it even after the class because it was just so interesting. It was so valuable to help, and his gratitude was so touching too, because we really reshaped the whole thing, and he seemed really happy with it.

I want to be a book editor at a publishing company that prioritizes diverse children’s books, especially middle-grade books. It’s an age group that is very vulnerable and impressionable, so I want to make sure they get their stories told.

Why are you interested in working in publishing?

I wanted to work in publishing because I used to write a lot, but after I took a few creative writing courses at Emerson College, I decided it was a little too much. I’ve really enjoyed the process of helping other people develop their passion projects into something that they’re proud of and that fits what they’re setting out to do. Whether that’s been helping friends with their scripts or bouncing off ideas or editing manuscripts, I find it all super fun.

Why is disability diversity in stories important to you?

I definitely I found that with other aspects of my identity — with being queer and being Latina — it’s just the importance of diversity in books. If I had been able to see myself more in the books I read when I was growing up, I think I probably would have been a happier kid. That’s why I think diversity of any kind should cater to every kid, who should be able to read a book and see themselves in it. 

My brother is on the spectrum, and he really struggled throughout high school and college, which he had to drop out of. I think it’s important for people to know what autism is, what cerebral palsy is, what someone’s life looks like if they’re blind or deaf or paraplegic. This helps not only people who look to be represented, but also non-disabled readers, who learn to be aware of the kind of challenges disabled people face. 

I recently read a book that involved African mythology and was fantasy, and one of the main characters experienced the most accurate written description of a panic attack I’d ever read. I think that should be a lot more normalized, no matter the genre. I also think there should be more queer representation across the board, but especially in middle-grade books because that is such a key stage in development and coming of age/coming to terms with identity.

What’s the most fulfilling part about being on the INCLUDAS team?

I’m excited about working on middle-grade books. I’ve started reading a few manuscripts, and I’m so excited to work with more INCLUDAS projects.

Any advice for those wanting to work in the publishing industry?

Reading a lot of the books that you’re interested in publishing is probably the biggest thing, so you can get an idea of what is selling and what is trending and how the books that are doing well are written and are different from one another. You’ll naturally pick up on things as you read more and more.

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