Publishers' Preview: Fall 2022: Five Questions for Tziporah Cohen

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2022 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Fall 2022, 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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On the Corner of Chocolate Avenue: How Milton Hershey Brought Milk Chocolate to America tells just how he did that.

1. So that’s why it’s called a Kiss?

Yes! According to the company, the name came from the kissing sound and motion the machine made depositing chocolate on the conveyor belt. Though at the time, the word kiss was used to describe any small piece of candy. So who knows? More Hershey’s Kisses trivia for you: the chocolates were wrapped by hand for the first fourteen years, until 1921, and by machine after that. The little paper strip, called a flume, guaranteed the customer they were getting the real deal, not a competitor’s copy.

2. Where can I buy some of Milton’s perseverance?

Don’t I wish I knew! But if we could purchase perseverance, it wouldn’t be perseverance, right? I wrote the first draft of this picture book in 2014 and sold it in 2020, which is about the amount of time it took Milton to develop his recipe for milk chocolate. The manuscript probably went through thirty or forty drafts. His perseverance inspired mine.

3. What is your go-to candy bar?

Perhaps not surprisingly, the old-fashioned original Hershey’s Bar. I love Hershey’s milk chocolate but only the bars sold in the U.S. The Hershey’s Bars in Canada (where I live) are made with a different recipe, more European-style, creamier and sweeter. It doesn’t work for me. Whenever I’m in the U.S., I stock up.

4. Which is your favorite among Steven Salerno’s pictures for your text?

If I’m forced to pick, it’s the spread toward the end accompanying the text “Chocolate and caramels made Milton a very rich man. But he never forgot what it was like to be poor.” Milton, in a fancy suit and hat, watches some bedraggled kids looking into the window of a candy store. Earlier, another spread features Milton as the poor kid looking into the store window while a wealthy family walks by enjoying some chocolates. Steven perfectly captured the essence of this part of the story — that Hershey used his fortune to give back to those less fortunate. You almost don’t need the words.

5. If they named a town after you, what would it be known for?

In my non-writing life, I work as a psychiatrist. So I’d like my town to be known for high-quality, low-cost, stigma-free mental health care for all.

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Photo: Jay Nathanson.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus 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 MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978.

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