“I have always been a huge book lover, but I only recently realized that working with books could be more than just a hobby,” Broderick said. “This summer is me dipping my feet in the book world and seeing what I can do with it.”
Literary agencies house agents, who find and take on promising authors. Interning at JVNLA, a relatively small literary agency, means that Broderick gets to work closely with submitted book manuscripts. She recently finished reading a futuristic tale and is now reading a memoir about a lesbian growing up in Texas. Once she finishes reading the manuscripts, she writes reports on them, detailing such things as strengths, weaknesses, and points of improvement.
“I really love being able to read the manuscripts,” Broderick said. “It’s honestly a fun thing to do, to think that this could be a book some day and to be a part of those conversations.”
Beyond reading manuscripts, Broderick does classic intern work: organizing mail logs and tracking which publishing house editors have moved to. But at the small office, she’ll sometimes be called on for more exciting tasks. Just recently, a literary agent asked her to give input on different cover options for a book that is set for publication.
“People say don’t judge a book by its cover, but covers are important,” Broderick said. “They’re art, and it’s really important to make sure that art is reflecting the story inside.”
Through her internship with Start Lighthouse, Broderick also hopes to make sure that stories are reflecting the children who read them. Start Lighthouse is a nonprofit that aims to close the children literacy gap in the Bronx “through a social justice lens.” That means getting kids engaged in reading by giving them books in which they feel represented.
This is an important mission, Broderick said, noting that only 30% of children’s books in 2020 were about people of color according to preliminary data provided to The Associated Press by the CCBC, which has been tracking statistics on children’s book representation since 1985.
“As a kid, reading was a big part of my life,” Broderick said. “It really pains me that other kids don’t share that love of reading, not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t have the same access to books that reflect who they are.”
Sabrina Broderick ’24
Hometown: New York City
High School: Trinity High School
Since joining the Start Lighthouse mission, Broderick has been involved in two programs. The first, Literary Adventures, hosts book fairs at NYC public schools that allow each kid to bring home three books from their multiculturally diverse options. The second program, Literacy Hubs, takes unused library spaces in public schools and turns them into year-round sources for engaging, diverse books.
Broderick will continue with these two internships until the beginning of August. She is eager to learn more about the book world and the various facets within it. “I’ve loved seeing how differently people’s passions for books and reading manifests,” she said. “It’s been inspiring and reassuring for me that people who really love books have been able to do something with that passion in various ways.”