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IRDA Winner Mishka Migacz: “My hope is that by telling this story, I will encourage someone else to keep going and not give up. “

Childhood Canceled was the winner in the Best Cover Design/Non Fiction category of the 2021 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Mishka Migacz.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Childhood Canceled, Published December 2020

What’s the book’s first line?

I knew something was wrong when I saw my mother panicking behind the wheel of her fire-engine red Fiat.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

Childhood Canceled is about a girl, Mishka, who recounts the story of a lost childhood—of being in protective custody, beaten, and then released to her mother, a brilliant but unstable woman. Moving from place to place, with Mishka in and out of foster care, they eventually find a rundown apartment in the small, wealthy beach town of Carlsbad, California. There, they are the riff-raff, and Mishka is tormented by bullies. When her Mother succumbs to the bottle, Mishka becomes resourceful.  She digs food out of dumpsters, finds places to stay when homeless, and navigates her mother’s violence and mental illness.  Attempting to sneak in a childhood along the way, she finds herself in unfortunate, desperate, but also, at times, humorous predicaments.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I was inspired to write Childhood Canceled after moving to Brussels, Belgium, and settling down and starting a family.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

The main character, Mishka, is bent on surviving, and she’s determined to change the trajectory of her life.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Many people face obstacles that seem insurmountable. Childhood Canceled is a memoir that explores relatable themes — poverty, foster care, child abuse, homelessness, racism, mental illness, and alcoholism. My hope is that by telling this story, I will encourage someone else to keep going and not give up.

Did you design the cover yourself?  If not, who did and how did you find them (they did another cover you admired, they were recommended, etc)?

I collaborated with theBookDesigners (San Rafael, CA) and found the company while searching online for cover designers. The package I selected gave me the opportunity to be involved as of the conceptual phase.

What, if any, elements of the book did you want to convey in the cover design?

Childhood Canceled is about a girl who is denied a childhood. I wanted the cover to convey this by including an image of a child carrying a trash bag filled with her belongings while she stands in front of a California beach looking up at a sign that says “Childhood Canceled”.


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