Why I Want to Work with Children’s Literature

by McKenzie Berry

Throughout college, I was convinced that I would be a teacher. I jumped from music education
to elementary education and eventually landed on English. I love books and wanted to share
this love with others, so what better way than to teach?

I started reaching out to teachers in my community and asking them about their experiences. I
kept getting the same answers:

  1. The school systems suck
  2. Everyone has to teach to a test
  3. Most of my students hate reading and the ones who love it struggle to find age-appropriate books that match their reading level.

After hearing these same answers time and time again, I started to rethink my career path. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for the hard job of being a teacher.

Needless to say, my whole plan folded in on itself—I had no idea what I wanted to do and, like
any college senior, I began to loath the inevitable question, “so, what comes next?”
After many tears and meetings with my mentor, I realized that I still had a passion for children’s
literacy. I began brainstorming: how can I combine my passion with a career other than
teaching? Then, one day while I was admiring J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (it was my first
time reading it ever!), it hit me. I knew I wanted to be part of the process of creating and
publishing books.

A few months later, I attended the Columbia publishing course. I finally felt as though I had met
my people and found my niche. Moreover, I realized why I wanted to focus my career on
children’s literature.

Here are three reasons why I want to work in Children’s Literature:


1. The Creation of a Reader
Readers are created in childhood. Many of my peers attribute their love for reading to series
such as Harry Potter, Series of Unfortunate Events, and Little House on the Prairie. Children’s
authors and their publishing houses/imprints have one of, if not the most important jobs in the
publishing world: creating a reader. If we fail, the publishing industry suffers.

2. In a Child’s Hands
Last week I had coffee with a woman who has been in the publishing world for 25 plus years.
While we were talking about our shared passion for children’s literature/publication, she said,
“the best part is, at the end of the day, that the book ends up in a child’s hands.” I loved this
quote. And it’s so true! Children’s publishers are trying to achieve one goal: inspire a younger
generation through literature.

3. It’s Fun!
And, of course, children’s literature is FUN! A book can take you on an adventure to a
mysterious world, or explore the life of a folklore classic. The sky is limitless.

These three points are just a glimpse into my passion for children’s literature. Needless to say, I
am excited for my future in the industry. I would also like to thank GenZ for giving me an
opportunity to learn and grow in the field.



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