Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Three Demigoddesses

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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Junior high is tough, and tougher when your dad is the dean; tougher still when, Oh My Gods!, he’s Zeus, and your classmates are gods. Authors Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick and illustrator Juliana Moon ponder the implications.

1. Which Greek god or goddess do you wish had been there for you in junior high, Juliana?

I’d have really appreciated having Athena around to help me with studying. She is such an intelligent and supportive friend, and you can just tell she can explain anything.

2. Yours, Stephanie?

I was athletic, and that was peak Spice Girls time. I was Team Sporty Spice all the way, and to me, Artemis is the Sporty Spice of Greek mythology.

3. Insha?

I would’ve wished for Hades and Hecate to be my best friends. That sounds so dark, but at that time, I was starting to really come into my own and be into things that other people weren’t, especially spooky stuff. I think Hecate and Hades would have loved that, and we could have had bomb slumber parties.

4. Would the three of you have been friends in junior high?

We think so! Juliana’s trick was to always be drawing and to walk around with books and comics, giving potential friends starter talking points. Insha and Stephanie were shy and weird. Had we all known each other, we could’ve bonded over Greek mythology much sooner and come out of our shells a bit more.

5. Top tip for starting at a new school?

Always, and we mean always, be yourself. Let yourself be weird, fun, kooky, or whatever. Always let your authentic self shine bright, and never hide from the world. Think outside the box and trust your gut; it’s rarely wrong. If you’re bookish or artsy, carry those things around proudly and let like-minded people find you and form connections. Don’t settle for people who don’t accept you for who you truly are.

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Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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