Penn Rising Senior Sarah Eisler Explores Children’s Book Publishing and New York City

Through a University of Pennsylvania internship, rising senior Sarah Eisler honed her skills and learned more about the children’s book publishing industry. 

Eisler spent eight weeks as an intern at Downtown Bookworks in New York City.

“I love idea of working in publishing, but there’s no way to get real experience of what that is without really getting to try it,” says Eisler, an English major from Potomac, Md. 

With just three full-time employees at the company, Eisler had the opportunity to learn every step of the process of children’s book publishing. 

At the open loft office in the Manhattan’s SoHo, Eisler edited content, helped with fact-checking and conducted research for upcoming projects by finding out about books that are already on the market.

“I loved the fact that this was a smaller place where I could do hands-on activities,” says Eisler. “We joked that I was learning by osmosis since everyone in the office was in such close proximity to each other.”

For the company’s “Do It Myself” kits and activity books, Eisler helped produce a step-by-step guide by creating crafts such as painting a rock to look like a ladybug or a bumble bee.

“That was actually fun to be like a little kid again, to paint rocks and make stick people,” says Eisler. “It was not the majority of what I did, but it was fun. It was like being at summer camp again.”

During free time, she toured the city, visiting museums and going to the theater.

“I love the theater,” says Eisler. “It was so much fun to be in the heart of that. I wanted to take full advantage of the fact that I was near where all of the big shows were going on.”

On the weekends, Eisler would stand in line at the TKTS booth near Times Square to get discounted tickets, including tickets for “The Color Purple,” “Fully Committed” and “Waitress.”

Eisler’s internship opportunity was possible through a $4,000 prize from RealArts@Penn to defray living and travel costs.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be a recipient of a RealArts@Penn internship, Eisler says. “My internship at Downtown Bookworks was a one-of-a-kind experience that I wouldn't find anywhere else. The stipend was helpful because New York City is an expensive place to live, even just for the summer.”

Eisler says having the opportunity to learn more about children’s book publishing “gave me this renewed sense of passion that I’m on the right track with my major and that this is the right thing for me.”

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