It is an undisputed fact that internships are valuable sources of experience and exposure in whatever industry a person could hope to enter. I found my summer at Macmillan to be no different—I rubbed elbows with successful professionals who had years of experience under their belts, I sat in on crucial meetings, and I got a feel for the day-to-day work done in an active publishing office. But what most people don’t get a chance to see, and what I found was the most valuable addition that We Need Diverse Books provided, is the construction of the moral backbone of the industry. The WNDB program provided access to the work that goes into making sure the daily grind of publishing is part of a grander scheme to make the book world a better place.
The internship program encouraged us to attend and participate in the Children’s Book Council Diversity panels and dialogues, and I am so glad I took them up on the offer. It was inspiring to see people from all different aspects of the industry, with different backgrounds and from various publishers, come together to contemplate and problem-solve issues that are important to them. The attendance at these events showed me that pursuing a job in publishing will allow me to effect change for social issues that I value.
The We Need Diverse Books internship showed me what was possible for my future and made me feel like I was participating in real time as well. The fact that the CBC’s diversity planning committee asked the internship participants to come to their meeting and discuss how the program affected us proved that the organization valued the diverse perspectives of people of color. It helped me believe that I really did have a place in that world, and that it was important that I pursue it.