Cynsational News & Links

Aliens Are Coming! The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast by Megan McCarthy (Knopf, 2006): a recommendation by Esmé Raji Codell from The Planet Esmé Book-A-Day Plan. Esmé also discusses her review philosophy, noting, “I try not to read reviews until after I experienced a book myself, and sometimes I just can’t believe the critic and I read the same book[;] have you ever had that experience?” Read a Cynsations interview with Esmé.

Starting October 1st, Lauren Barnholdt (author of Reality Chick (Simon Pulse, 2006)(excerpt)) will be teaching her online writing course, “Writing YA for Girls.” Lauren’s students have gone on to be published by Random House, Simon and Schuster, and Penguin Putman, and have signed with top agents like Jenny Bent (Trident Media Group), Ethan Ellenberg (Ethen Ellenberg Literary Agency), and Rachel Vater (Lowenstein-Yost Associates). For more information, you can email her at lauren (at) To check out what people are saying about the class, visit her website at and click on “classes and consultations.”

“The Children’s Publishing Merry-Go-Round: Ten Exercises to Help Picture Book Writers Hang On” by Nancy Viau from the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Class of 2K7 Blog: Debut Children’s and Young Adult Authors of 2007. Authors to watch include: Ruth McNally Barshaw, author of Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel (Bloomsbury); Kelly Bingham, author of Shark Girl (Candlewick); Sara Zarr, author of Story of a Girl (Little Brown)(author site and blog); Greg R. Fishbone, author of Penguins of Doom (Blooming Tree)(author site and blog); Sarah Aronson, author of Head Case (Roaring Brook)(blog); and Jo Knowles, author of Lessons from a Dead Girl (Candlewick)(author site and blog). See the whole list.

Highlights of the Fall Children’s Book Sense Picks include: Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (HarperCollins, 2006))(author interview); Twilight and New Moon, both by Stephenie Meyer (Little Brown, 2006)(author interview); Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson (Clarion, 2006); Shug by Jenny Han (Simon & Schuster, 2006)(recommendation); Good Girls by Laura Ruby (HarperCollins, 2006)(author interview); Saint Iggy by K.L. Going (Harcourt, 2006)(author interview).

The Disco Mermaids are holding a contest to give away two autographed copies of The dePaola Code, their spoof of The DaVinci Code. Note: They report, “Both copies are signed by all three Disco Mermaids…and TOMIE dePAOLA!!!” The contest is open to both authors and illustrators.

Rebekah K. Goering launches critique service for children’s-YA writers. Rebekah has completed an editorial internship with Dial Books for Young Readers, reading and responding to manuscript submissions, and comes with the highest recommendation of Dial’s Editorial Staff as well as that of authors Jane Kurtz (author interview) and Nancy Werlin (author interview). Nancy says, “Rebekah served as an early reader for my most recent YA novel, The Rules of Survival (Dial, 2006)(excerpt), and I can’t recommend her strongly enough.” Rebekah charges $50 to critique picture book manuscripts and $1 per page to critique novel manuscripts. For more information and/or to request services, contact Rebekah.

“India Ink” by Pooja Makhijani, a guest column at Chicken Spaghetti, on comics/graphic fiction. Pooja is the anthologist of Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America (Seal, 2004)(read the introduction). She looks forward to the publication of Mama’s Saris (Little Brown, 2007). Learn more about Pooja. Note: Chicken Spaghetti also recommends the blog Wordswimmer, which featured an interview with me earlier this summer.

Kirchoff/Wohlberg Literary Agency: established in the early 1980s. Represents children’s book authors and author/illustrators to trade publishers. See the client list.

Cara Lockwood: Wuthering High (MTV Books): an interview by David Gill from ALAN Online. She says, “Wuthering High is the story of a haunted boarding school called Bard Academy.”

A Terrific Query Letter from Jenny Bent, literary agent. An example of a letter that works with an explanation as to why.

Trash by Sharon Darrow (Candlewick, 2006)(excerpt) is now available. From the catalog copy: “For sixteen-year-old Sissy and her brother Boy, trash is a reminder of one too many sorry foster placements they’ve endured, a way of life they can’t wait to escape. Now on the run in search of their big sister Raynell, ironically they are forced to rely on their trash-picking skills for sustenance and shelter. Reunited at last with Raynell in St. Louis, Boy and Sissy shed their old identities, reinvent themselves as graffiti artists, and splash their new names on city bridges and walls. But one night’s expedition goes horribly wrong, and Sissy looks again to trash, this time as the beginning of something artful and beautiful. Two teen siblings run from foster life — and find new expression as graffiti artists–in a stark but hopeful poetic novel.” Read a recent Cynsations interview with Sharon.

An Interview with Jennifer Zeigler from Random House. Jennifer is the author of Alpha Dog (Delacorte, 2006). Her recommended writing aids include: “Cups of extra strong Columbian Supremo with cream and an eensy bit of sugar.”