By McKenna Freiss

We're looking back on some of our past interns to see where they are now and ask them about their experience working for Overcup. This week, we're spotlighting Denise Morales Soto, book designer and editor at A Kid's Book About!


Tell us a little about what you've been working on at A Kid's Book About.

Since I started at A Kids Book About, we’ve worked on so many wonderful kids' books and pushing the limits of what that looks like, so that’s been really fun! Just reimagining what a kid’s book can be and achieve. It’s been very interesting tackling these very difficult topics through the lens of a child and finding new and creative ways to explain something in a way that they would understand and resonate with them while not talking down to them or oversimplifying it. I’ve honestly learned so much, it’s crazy.
What do you love most about your job? And what's one thing that surprised you about working in publishing that you didn't anticipate?

There’s a lot of things that I love about my job, but surprisingly, one of the coolest things has been working directly with our authors. I’m kind of the author’s go-to in the company for a lot of things and seeing them get excited about their book and trusting me with their stories it’s kind of amazing. They’re so sweet and grateful. I’ve actually gotten a few emails that have made me cry (in the best way!) and I just consider myself very lucky to be doing what I do.  

I think the most surprising thing about publishing honestly is that you can’t just do one thing, you’re involved in everything, to some capacity. There’s no such thing as staying in your lane in publishing, not really. At least that’s been my experience. As an editor, you don’t just stay in editorial, same things as a designer, or marketing, or anything. Everyone needs to talk to each other and see what’s going on and ask for help and be involved in every conversation. It was really surprising! I didn’t expect to have to go to meetings about audio production as an editor, but there I was. It’s pretty wild seeing how every little piece of it is connected.

What projects and titles did you work on when you were an intern at Overcup?

While I was there I worked on two books Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege and Ground Truth. Both of which are fantastic. If you’re looking for good reading, Overcup style, those are great places to start.

What skills did you gain from Overcup that helped prepare you for your current job?

Working remotely! No one saw that coming I’m sure, but boy was it so helpful. My work at AKBA has been completely remote from the moment I started (given the state of the world in 2020) and Overcup really helped me get used to that in a publishing sense. Knowing how to hold myself accountable, set schedules, how to communicate, and keeping everyone up to date and informed, it’s been invaluable skill to me.  

We'd love to know - What's your favorite book? Also, what are you reading right now? And what's your most anticipated read on your TBR list?

This is always the hardest question! There’re too many good books out there. But I have to go with Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I think everyone knows this is my favorite book because I talk about it constantly. I re-read it almost every year, and it will always hold a very special place in my heart as the book that took my mythology obsession as a kid and amplified it by a thousand.

Currently, I’m reading Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (which is SO GOOD!!!), and my TBR just keeps getting bigger and bigger, but I’m really looking forward to reading Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega. It sounds like everything I didn’t know I wanted in a book and I can’t wait to pick it up.

What are you looking forward to in the future in book publishing?

So many things. It feels like publishing is going through some changes at the moment (though that may just be wishful thinking). So much has happened in the past couple of years that has really exposed all the holes in publishing that we’ve been overlooking or just accepting as normal, but it seems like we’re finally starting to not only acknowledge that there needs to be a change but actually trying to do something about it. Very slowly, but that’s better than standing still.
I love books and I love book publishing, so my dream is for it to be more accessible and open to everyone who shares that same passion. No one should have to sacrifice their comfort, security, or health to follow their dreams or do what they love. The way publishing works now keeps a lot of very specific people out, and that’s not okay. It never has been. Opening up the gates and allowing for more opportunities for marginalized and underrepresented folks will not only have a great impact on those individuals' lives and their communities, but it will mean great things for the industry, for the readers, and for books. 
Thanks so much to Denise for the great insight! Check out a Kid's Book About here. 


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