Cynsational News & Links

Big thanks to author Tanya Lee Stone (author interview) for highlighting my fall 2006 release Santa Knows (Dutton), which is co-authored by Greg Leitich Smith and illustrated by Steve Bjorkman.

Cheers to Cynsations LJ reader Tammi Sauer (Tammi’s LJ) on her thank-you comment about my linking to the ICL article “How to Write a Picture Book an Editor Will Love” by Gwendolyn Hooks, which featured Tammi’s picture book Cowboy Camp (Sterling, 2005).

Cowboy Camp also was a finalist for the 2006 Oklahoma Book Award in Children’s/YA. The other finalists were: Clabbernappers by Len Bailey (Starscape/Tor, 2005); Dancing with Elvis by Lynda Stephenson (Eerdmans, 2005); Czar of Alaska: The Cross of Charlemagne by Richard Trout (Pelican, 2005); and Pick of the Litter by Bill Wallace (Holiday House, 2005). The winner was Assassin by Anna Myers (Walker, 2005)(excerpt)(author interview). See descriptions of the finalists. See all the winners. Cyn Note: two of my books have been finalists for the OBA–Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2000)(feature illustration) and Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001).

Esmé Raji Codell (author interview), bestselling author of Sahara Special (Hyperion, 2003) and Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year (Algonquin, 2001) and one of the country’s foremost experts on children’s literature, is launching a unique blog with a special mission: getting America to read a book a day to its children. A long-time maverick in the field of literacy and education, Codell runs one of the most highly trafficked independent children’s literature websites on the Internet and for the past two years has operated an offbeat literary salon housed in a Chicago storefront. The blog,, is scheduled to launch on June 1st, and aspires to make everyone a children’s book expert one day at a time through pithy reviews and a pithier literary advice column. “Children’s trade books are our best hope for creating equal education in our country,” Codell explains. “We need to create informed consumers in order to unleash this tremendous potential in the bindings.” Cyn Note: Esmé has my vote for queen O the world.

Interview With Ally Carter by Liz B. at Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better. Ally is the author of Cheating at Solitaire (Berkley, 2005) and I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Hyperion, 2006). See more from Liz B at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy.

South Asian Stories to Tell by Pooja Makhijani, a guest column at Chicken Spaghetti: Books for Children and the Rest of Us, too. Pooja discusses Mixed Messages, a literary festival sponsored by the South Asian Woman’s Creative Collective.