Last year, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern with Appen Media Group. It was an amazing experience that not only taught me about the job application process, but it also gave me an idea of what career I want to pursue. I have always had an interest in the literature field, mainly with writing, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. There are so many variations of careers involving literature that I didn’t know where to start looking. The Appen internship gave me insight into the writing field and showed me what an actual writing career is like. Though I do not plan to work at a newspaper in my future, it’s an experience I will never forget. Appen not only showed me that I want to be an active member in the actual writing process, but that I also enjoy reading over others’ work and editing it. I have had a knack for editing for years now. I have edited quite a few friends’ papers, especially this year. Since many of my friends, like me, have been applying to colleges, I have edited many of their college application essays. It’s something I truly enjoy to do, and Appen helped me improve my skills.

Once my internship ended as 2014 came to a close, it was time to start thinking about where to intern this year. I had a few options to look into (public relations, magazines, etc.), but I wasn’t quite sure which one to pick. Then, just to see what was out there, I looked online to see if there were any local publishing companies. Amazingly, there was one: Jera Publishing.

I had never heard of a self-publishing company before and was instantly intrigued. I brought it up to one of my high school internship teachers, Mrs. Drummond, and she said she would look into it. I desperately wanted to intern at Jera because I have always wondered what it would be like to work for a book publisher and also as an editor. As luck would have it, I was able to intern at Jera this year!

I was so nervous for my placement meeting. I had gone through the whole internship interview process once before, so I had somewhat of an idea of how the interview would go, but for some reason, the idea of interning at a place that I have imagined myself working ever since I was young made me extremely anxious. Fortunately, the interview went well, and almost immediately, I became a part of the Jera family. At Appen, the staff were like a mini family, and at Jera, they are, too, even more so. It’s such a great feeling being taken under everyone’s wing. Every member wants to help me learn all that I can, and it’s amazing that they care so much.

My first week, I met with all the staff and was briefly introduced to what everyone does to help in the process of self-publication. It was amazing to get such insight on what every member does to contribute to the process. I especially am intrigued by the editorial part of the process. I have already learned so much about editing from just one day last week! I can’t wait to keep learning, and I hope I make everyone at Jera proud.

Childhood Literature
Ever since I was a little girl, I have adored reading and writing. Unlike most kids, who would stay up in the late hours of the night playing games on their DS or computer, I would hide under my bed sheets or in the bathroom with a flashlight, staying up way past my bedtime reading. My mom would have to check on me throughout the night to make sure I actually went to sleep.

Reading allowed me to escape from reality. It allowed me to let my imagination explore its bounds and helped me embrace my creativity. My whole life, I have struggled with severe anxiety. Though I wasn’t diagnosed until my late teens, I have always known deep down that I had it. I stressed out about everything and anything way more than any of the other kids. It’s not a major issue, I’ve dealt with it my entire life, but reading gave me an escape that allowed me to take a breather. Even nowadays, I only truly feel at ease, all my worries forgotten, when I am reading or writing.

My childhood was filled with varying works of literature that not only helped improve my reading skills but also helped me foster my writing ones. Little House on the Prairie, Harry Potter, and many others—my youth was filled with finding a diverse array of splendid works. However, there are a few childhood stories that I remember sparked my love for reading in the first place. My mom would stay up late reading them to me until she told me I had to sleep, then once she left, I would sneak the books back into my bed and read them over and over again.

One of my absolute favorite childhood books was The Kissing Hand, written by Audrey Penn. As I previously stated, I was a very anxious child. The mornings of an exam or presentation were some of the worst. I had severe stage fright and testing anxiety. In The Kissing Hand, there is a baby raccoon named Chester that dreads going to school. He doesn’t want to leave his friends, family, and everything he’s familiar with. The mama raccoon kisses Chester’s hand and says whenever he is frightened or worried to place his hand on his cheek and remember she loves him. Later in the novel, Chester kisses his mother’s hand and says the same thing she said to him. The book helped me feel okay with my nervousness and reminded me that my mom loves me. In the back of the book, there was a sheet of stickers in the shape of a heart with “The Kissing Hand” written on it. Whenever I had an exam, presentation, or was more stressed out than usual, my mom would put the sticker on my hand and kiss it. Though the sticker may seem silly and childish, it truly helped me feel better.

There were two more books that made a great impact on my childhood: I Love My Little Storybook and its sequel, Bunny Love, written by Anita Jeram. Bunny Love is very similar to The Kissing Hand in that it focuses on family bonds (mainly the bond between mother and child) and how that love is everlasting. I have always had a strong relationship with my mom, so these books helped me live vicariously through the main character (even though it was a bunny). The climax of Bunny Love occurs when the baby bunny gets lost and has no idea where he is. He feels alone and scared. My parents got divorced when I was about four years old, and it drastically greatened my fear of abandonment, especially since I craved love from those I cared about so greatly. In the novel, the bunny is soon reunited with its mother, which made me feel comforted and reassured that my mom would always be there. Beyond the book’s message, I loved the way it is put together. I loved the syntax and diction Jeram uses. I was enchanted by the illustrations. Even then, as a child, I was intrigued at how books were put together, the relationship of pen and paper.

In I Love My Little Storybook, the bunny reads his favorite book and is taken away to a magical place. His imagination takes hold and allows him to do amazing things. The book takes hold of exactly what I feel when I read. I loved the little bunny and the adventures he goes on. Though the adventures only take place in his mind, that didn’t make it any less real for me. I Love My Little Storybook was by far my favorite story out of the three.

Many disregard childhood stories as naïve and inconsequential; however, these stories helped foster my love for reading and writing and my eagerness to learn more about the varying types of literature. Children’s novels, though fairly simplistic in nature, can have a great impact on how children view themselves and the world around them. The novels I read allowed me to accept myself for who I am and allowed me to explore where my mind could take me. Self-expression is vital for intellectual and emotional growth, which is why children’s novels play such an important role. These novels embrace self-expression, uniqueness, and self-acceptance. Life seems to get more strenuous, for both kids and teens, as time passes by. Enforcing the idea of self-acceptance at an early age can only help. This is why great children’s novels, such as some of the ones I read, are so important to societal growth. Though seemingly simplistic, they can make a huge difference.

Rachael Dier
Rachael Dier

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