Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Kayla Miller and Jeffrey Canino

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2021 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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In Besties: Work It Out, illustrated by Kristina Luu, friends Beth and Chanda get a sweet gig caring for the home and pets of an out-of-town neighbor, but things go south fast.

1. Who was the glamorous grownup in your childhood?

KM: I used to raid my great-grandma’s closet: sparkly brooches, costume jewelry. She’d even let us neighborhood kids have fashion shows with her old dresses.

2. What was your most successful moneymaking project?

KM: A “perfume company.” A first-grade classmate and I mixed body sprays, watered them down, put them in used candy containers, and sold them to other kids. We were little stinkers…literally.

JC: At our neighborhood yard sale, I opened a lemonade stand like Beth and Chanda. I made money, but immediately spent it on my neighbor’s old Baby-Sitters Club books.

3. Have you ever posted something you regretted? Details!

KM: I cringe whenever a site shows me a post from five or ten years ago. No one needs to know what I thought about a random sandwich I had in 2015.

JC: I’m grateful LiveJournal has a “please wipe this from the internet forever” option. 

4. Which of those two girls is more you?

KM: Jeffrey says I’m Beth — but I think it’s just because he wants to be the Chanda.

JC: I can only aspire to Chanda’s creative, dramatic, bold, fashionable heights.

5. What did creating this book make you realize about friendship?

KM: You need to be open to seeing where the other person is coming from. 

JC: Life’s little disasters are always more manageable with a good friend by your side.

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Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. from 1996-2021. 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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