Kristina joined the INCLUDAS team during June of 2022 as the Summer Children’s Literature Intern. We are so excited to have her with us!
Tell us about yourself.
My favorite thing about myself is my creativity. I feel like I have a pretty good imagination. It always keeps me busy, and I’m never bored because I can just disappear into my imagination and do whatever I want there.
I feel like the media I enjoy has influenced me a lot: video games, movies, TV shows, some books I’ve read.
What makes you proud of yourself, and what are your aspirations?
Getting this internship is my greatest accomplishment so far. I just finished my freshman year of college, and I got an internship in exactly what I want to do with my career. I want to do children’s literature in publishing, possibly working as an art director for children’s picture books. This is exactly what I’m doing with INCLUDAS.
I’m a person who really likes to prepare and plan out what I want to do. I want to do the 4+1 publishing program at my college, then go to work at a children’s publisher in Boston or New York. I want to get a PhD at some point. I want to write my own stories and be an author as well.
Why are you interested in working in publishing?
It’s the only career field I’ve ever felt really drawn to. It’s a drive, a deep calling to be creative and put these ideas to books and put them out in the world.
When I was younger, I wasn’t really into books. I played a lot of video games, watched cartoons and anime. But I do consider myself a storyteller and someone who consumes a lot of stories. I really love the mode of storytelling books tell, and it feels like a magical kind of medium because it’s so abstract. It’s words on a page that create worlds and images. It’s essentially Nothing that creates Everything. It’s different from lots of other forms of media, visual or audio, where they’re very tangible. With books, you open it, and you give it your own meaning.
Why is disability diversity in stories important to you?
Coming from a kid with a disability, I never saw myself in anything at all. There was a time in my life where I truly believed I was the only person in the world like me. I really want to put stories out there for the next generation of disabled children to be able to see they exist. They’re part of the world, and they’re a worthy part of the world. They are valid, and there are others like them out there.
I would love to see more disabled villains in literature. A lot of authors who write about disabled villains use disability as a motivation for evil. But I want to see villains who just happen to be disabled. Villains are representative of humanity, and books should include all aspects of humanity. It’s dangerous to think that disabled characters should be written as pure-hearted, savior-spirited people. In every community, even the disabled community, there are terrible people. That’s important to remember: we are human before we are disabled.
What’s the most fulfilling part about being on the INCLUDAS team?
I’m most excited about seeing the process of a book being published. It was such an elusive thing before that I never truly understood, but now, it’s a lot more concrete. I am also excited to be working on new submissions. It’s so interesting seeing how it’s done, how publishers pick what to publish and how they perfect those stories.
Any advice for those wanting to work in the publishing industry?
Do a lot of self-study. I wanted to be an author starting when I was eleven, but at fourteen, I started studying everything about the publishing industry so that I could understand as much as possible about the process before diving into it. It gave me a lot of confidence, especially before starting college and before applying for this internship. I did my own research and figured a lot out for myself. I also learned what I specifically liked in publishing very early on.