Cynsational News, Links & Return

Welcome back to Cynsations! Buckle up! 2008 will be our best year yet!

Very early on, I’ll begin with new features while catching up on a bit of slightly seasoned but still fabulous news–much of which I’m sure will still be fresh to everyone–and you can look for more weekend posts than usual. Highlights will include with interviews with several children’s and/or YA authors/illustrators, two editors, and two literary agents.

And in mid February, we’ll launch into the SCBWI Bologna 2008 series! We’re talking 32 sparkling interviews with authors, illustrators, agents, editors, art directors, and more from the U.S. and around the world! The conference takes place March 29 and March 30 in Bologna, Italy! Register to attend the conference in person!

Massive updates and polishing of the main site is ongoing, but I’m pleased to announce that it was ten years ago that I signed a contract for Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, and this is my tenth year of highlighting youth literature on the Internet. Look for a celebration in September!

Note: any posts mentioning that my winter hiatus is over will be greatly appreciated.

More News & Links

Class of 2k8: a group of 28 first-time authors who’ve joined together to spread the word about their books. Check out the latest releases from this year’s debut authors. Check out the blog and the LJ syndication.

The Nineteenth National African American Read-In, sponsored by the Black Caucus of NCTE and by NCTE. Join over a million readers Feb. 3, Feb. 4 for schools.

Bibliography of Recommended Books with Islamic Themes or Muslim Characters from author Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin. Learn more about her books, My Name is Bilal, illustrated by Barbara Kiwak (Boyds Mills, 2005) and The Best Eid Ever, illustrated by Laura Jacobsen (Boyds Mills, 2007). My Name is Bilal was winner of the 2006 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People in the category of grades four to six. Learn more about Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin.

Children’s Book Reviews: 2007 Titles from author-librarian Toni Buzzeo. Read a Cynsations interview with Toni.

The Brown Bookshelf has launched a MySpace page!

Editor Interview: Jill Santopolo of HarperCollins from Through the Tollbooth.

Teacher Guides from children’s author and reading specialist Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. More than 200 free book club guides, discussion guides, projects, and fun! Authors, order a guide for your book.

“You’ll Come Out Somewhere” by Patricia Weaver from the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Book Trailer for The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (Delacorte, 2007).

GLBTQ Fiction: recommended by The Horn Book.

Go Overboard Challenge Grant: Award-winning young adult novelist Justina Chen Headley, Burton Snowboards and Youth Venture are co-sponsoring the Go Overboard Challenge Grant to fund the best youth-led ideas to change the world. Justina has a longstanding commitment to tie community service benefiting teens to every single book she publishes. So in honor of her newly released novel, Girl Overboard (where a teen finds her true power through community service), she and her partners are giving away 12 grants, $1,000 each. Eligibility: students ages 12-20 who have an idea to improve their school, neighborhood, city, country, or the world. Students need an adult sponsor, such as a librarian or teacher, to endorse their grant application. Deadline: May 1, 2008.

A conversation with Austin YA novelist Jennifer Ziegler from the Austin American Statesman.

“The Path to Successful School and Library Visits, Self-Promotion, and Press Interviews:” a March 4 to March 9 workshop with Peter Jacobi from Highlights Foundation. See registration and additional information. Note: $995; limited to eight participants.

Pajama Promotion: Ten Tips for Writers from Mitali Perkins at Mitali’s Fire Escape.

Nine Bookstores Worth a Tourist Stop from the Associated Press at CNN. Source: Nathan Bransford, an agent at Curtis Brown Ltd., at MySpace.

More Personally

Congratulations to the recent winners of scholarships and awards at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults! Here’s a special cheer for my former advisees, Rebecca Van Slyke, winner of the Candlewick scholarship in picture book writing, and Marianna Baer, winner of the Houghton Mifflin scholarship in novel writing! Congratulations also to the “dedications” graduating class! And again, here’s a special cheer for my former advisees, Frances Lee Hall and Julianna Berry! See the Jan. 12 to Jan. 19 online journal entry of winter writer-in-residence Jane Yolen.

Thank you to author Jo Knowles for presenting me with a Lion Award. According to the Shameless Lions Writing Circle, the award highlights “those people who have blogs we love, can’t live without, where we think the writing is good and powerful.” Award recipients then give the award to five other bloggers.

In the spirit of the program, my award-winners are: Anneographies (highlighting picture book biographies, day by day on the subjects’ birthdays); readergirlz (“celebrating gutsy girlz in life and lit); The Planet Esme Plan (a book a day anyone?); Poetry for Children (from uber expert Sylvia Vardell); and The Brown Bookshelf Blog (new on the scene and “showcasing the best and brightest voices in African-American Children’s Literature, with a special emphasis on new authors and books that are ‘flying under the radar.'”) Read Cynsations interviews with Jo, Anne, Esme, and Sylvia!

Calling Ann Dee Ellis, author of This Is What I Did: (Little Brown, 2007) Please email me.

Do you have a Cynsational link to share? I’m interested in cheering quality content online and throughout the kidlitosphere! Of particular interest are substantive interviews, articles, writing/illustrating conferences, new or redesigned official author/illustrator sites, new blogs (or that one post you’ve been working for ages), etc. Keep in mind that while the audience is quite diverse, its core target is working writers–craft is key! I can’t guarantee to post everything submitted, but I will take a look. Please send the title of the site/page, a brief description, and URL. Thank you!