Industry Q&A with Trisha de Guzman, Associate Editor at Farrar, Straus, Giroux BFYR

Please tell us about the most recent diverse book you published.

I’m still at the very early stages of building my list, but I was fortunate enough to edit two books with diverse characters recently:

The Fantastic Body is a nonfiction, illustrated guide to the human body for kids. Because the book would be so heavily illustrated, we wanted the children depicted to be multifaceted and diverse. The book is nonfiction and prescriptive, so the text doesn’t actually address race in a direct way. It’s important to address serious issues of race, culture, and identity in diverse books, but it’s also important to show that children are children, no matter their background, and that there are more things that unite them than divide them. I firmly believe in publishing books featuring diverse characters without making race the main issue, so I’m proud of that book.  


I was also the developmental editor for a middle grade series of novels called Shred Girls. The first book, Lindsay’s Joyride, is about young girls who befriend each other through their shared love of BMX. What I loved about the book was how multifaceted every main character was. Lindsay likes comic books, but she also, it turned out, loves riding bikes. And she likes many other things: her new friends. Her Mexican grandmother’s cooking. The cute boy who rides at the same park. Kombucha. Mariana Pajón, Colombian cyclist and two-time Olympic gold medalist and BMX World Champion. No one thing defined her, nor any other character. While Lindsay is Latina and proud, her heritage informs the novel but isn’t its sole focus.

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Industry Q&A with Assistant Editor Melanie Cordova

Candlewick Press Assistant editor Melanie Cordova, with questions provided by summer editorial intern Isabella Corletto.

Interning at Candlewick has been my first experience in publishing. What made you want to get into publishing? How did your career begin, and how long have you been working in the industry? Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in publishing?

I didn’t know I wanted to work in publishing until my freshman year of college. Back then, I desperately needed a job and after many attempts, my boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to apply to a bookstore. Luckily, the bookstore I applied to needed a children’s bookseller immediately and they hired me on the spot. The experience changed everything. At the bookstore, I rediscovered my love for books, especially children’s books. By the end of my sophomore year I had changed my major from Journalism to Writing, Literature, and Publishing. After that, I interned and worked at a couple of publishing houses until I finally landed at Candlewick. If we count my bookstore experience, which I obviously do, I’ve been working in publishing for a decade now.

To be able to work with a text when it’s in its earliest drafts and then see it published has to be an incredibly special experience. So much more time, care, and hard work is put into every single book than I could’ve ever imagined. What is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had during your time in publishing?

When I was a sales assistant at Candlewick, I saw a press release about Candlewick acquiring Juana and Lucas. The story appealed to me so much, and I was so excited we had taken it up. After transferring over to editorial, I found out that my boss was the book’s editor and had just started working on it. From admiring this project from afar to working with the incredibly talented Juana Medina to seeing it win the Pura Belpré Award, working on this book has been one of my most rewarding experiences so far.

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Nikki Garcia: How I Got into Publishing

Assistant Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

To tell you how I got into publishing, I could start by mentioning that my mother always had a book in her hand, and taught me to do the same—or that I spent most of my time lost in books like One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte.


These experiences definitely shaped me to be the kind of person who would find myself in the world of publishing but, honestly, the idea of a publishing career didn’t even pop into my mind until the day I watched Margaret Tate and Andrew Paxton (played by Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) banter on the silver screen in The Proposal.

I remember that being a particularly difficult time for me. I’d just spent the last year working at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary while taking pre-med classes at night. Although I was proud of the idea of becoming a doctor, I wasn’t eager to go to work and class every day, but I didn’t like the idea of quitting either. Then one weekend, as I watched Margaret and Andrew throw humorous insults at each other, I noticed Margaret’s hardcopy manuscripts sprinkled across her desk. I was fascinated by the part where Andrew was trying to convince her to buy a manuscript that he loved. I remember thinking, Is this a thing? Does this career actually exist?! That night, I looked up the industry guides that my school had available, and ta da, there it was—an industry guide on publishing. Seriously…never doubt the power of media.

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