Cynsational News & Links

Motivating Young Readers: An Interview with Famed Children’s Book Author Joseph Bruchac by Claus E. von Zastrow from Public School Insights. “Bruchac spoke…about strategies for motivating children to read. He offered ideas for helping struggling readers, resources parents and teachers can use to combat stereotypes in children’s literature, thoughts on the promise and perils of the internet, observations the shortcomings of standardized assessments, and a preview of his forthcoming books.” See also Internet Resources on Native American Children’s Literature, also from Public School Insights. Note: leave a comment!

Zondervan, the evangelical Christian unit of HarperCollins, will begin publishing YA this spring. They plan to publish 10 titles a year.” Source: Children’s Book Biz News.

Meg Rosoff, Eoin Colfer, Melvin Burgess and Jonathan Stroud introduce Puffin’s finest classics… from Times Online. Source: Achockablog.

Update from Blooming Tree Press from Miriam Hees at A Publisher’s Life. Note: New successes, new imprints, a new award (“The Bloom Award”) for unpublished writers! Congratulations, Blooming Tree! Read a Cynsations interview with Miriam.

Congratulations to Marla Frazee on the publication of A Couple of Boys Have the Best Weekend Ever (Harcourt, 2008). Read an interview with Marla about this book! Win your own copy of the book! Also, look for Walk On! by Marla (Harcourt, April 2008), which is a fun, spirited, spot-on baby-centric baby book. Read a Cynsations interview with Marla.

TeensReadToo is giving away 100 prizes in March. Enter to win books by such wonderful authors as Dorian Cirrone, Carrie Jones, Sarah Dessen, and more!

To Cheer or To Covet by Liz Garton Scanlon from Liz In Ink. Here’s a sneak peek: “I’m here to admit right now that I’ve been on both sides of this thorny fence.” Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

Check out the delightfully kid-friendly new header at The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story (above). Note: if you have not already linked to this site, please consider doing so now. Read a Cynsations interview with the founders of The Brown Bookshelf. Visit The Brown Bookshelf at MySpace!

Concept Books: a bibliography of recommendations from the Horn Book. Read a Cynsations interview with Philip Yates on the recommended title Ten Little Mummies, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Viking, 2003). Read a Cynsations interview with Roger Sutton of the Horn Book.

Dealing with the Newbies: Five Tips for Handling People Who Want You To Critique Their Manuscript (for free, of course) by Jonathan Moeller from Absolute Write. Looking for a reader? See: Perspiration: Professional Critiques from Cynthia Leitich Smith Children’s-YA Literature Resources. Note: a listing for editor Deborah Brodie is forthcoming.

Simon Pulse Blogfest 2008 will be hosted March 14 to March 27 by Simon & Schuster. Featured authors include: Marc Aronson, Franny Billingsley, Holly Black, Judy Blume, Marina Budhos, Niki Burnham, Janet Lee Carey, Cassandra Clare, Rachel Cohn, Melissa de la Cruz, Kathleen Duey, Susan Fletcher, Lorie Ann Grover, Cynthia Kadohata, Annette Curtis Klause, D. Anne Love, Amanda Marrone, Alex Sanchez, Scott Westerfeld, Ellen Wittlinger, and many more! Note: most of the links above lead to Cynsations interviews.

Author Interview: Sara Zarr from Teen Troves. Here’s a sneak peek: “Most teens have already accumulated a lot of thoughts, opinions, and experiences having to do with religion and faith, but I rarely see that reflected in YA unless the topic is explicitly about something related to religion. I like to give my characters spiritual lives or spiritual thoughts. Everyone has them!” Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: fights censorship and defends First Amendment rights of comic book professionals.

The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle (Atheneum, 2008): a review by Norah Piehl from BookPage. Here’s a sneak peek: “Life in the suburb might seem orderly, but there’s a darker side. What happens to the people who suddenly disappear? And why is the government threatening to recall the latest batch of Wonder Children, the precocious kids—like Martin’s sister Cassie—who are asking too many questions?”

Surviving A Writer’s Hard Times: A Conversation With Bruce Balan from

Author & Illustrator Visits from Toni Buzzeo: Author, Library Media Specialist. Features include author wish list, visit tips, article links, resources, contacts, and more. Read a two-part Cynsations interview with Toni about school visits.

Farm life holds lessons for little ones by Katie Lewis from BookPage. A round-up of recent picture books with farm settings.

“If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything“: “assisting Indian Communities in Increasing Literacy Skills While Preserving Native American Identity.”

What I’m Working on Now (Viewer’s Choice Blog) from Libba Bray. Note: WriteFest Update Alert! Read a Cynsations interview with Libba.

For younger fans of The Princess Diaries, a series all their own: an interview with Meg Cabot by Linda Castellitto from BookPage. Highlights Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day (Scholastic, 2008).

Teacher Guides by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. Authors, illustrators, and publishers may contact Tracie to order a guide for a specific book. Read a Cynsations interview with Tracie.

Wide-Eyed and Curious: Working with Young Children in Groups by Shutta Crum. Some great advice for public speaking. Read a Cynsations interview with Shutta.

Glossary: book and publishing terminology from Harold Underdown at The Purple Crayon. Read a Cynsations interview with Harold.

Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog offers recommendations of Shift by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, May 2008) and Thaw by Monica M. Roe (Front Street, April 2008), both by debut novelists. Read an interview with Greg from Debbi Michiko Florence. GregLSBlog is syndicated at LiveJournal.

Cranky by Justine Larbalestier on the question of whether YA writers include “edgy” elements to increase sales. Read a Cynsations interview with Justine.

Author Interview: Rosemary Clement-Moore interviewed by her character Maggie Quinn. Read a Cynsations interview with Rosemary.

Congratulations to Michelle Lord, author of A Song for Cambodia, illustrated by Shino Arihara (Lee & Low, 2008). From the flap copy: “A Song for Cambodia is the touching true story of Arn Chorn-Pond. His heartfelt music created beauty in a time of darkness and turned tragedy into healing.” Read a Cynsations interview with Michelle.

Congratulations to Mélanie Watt on the publication in the latest in the Scaredy Squirrel series, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach (Kids Can, 2008). From the promotional copy: “…the lure of the genuine beach is strong–even a dedicated homebody such as Scaredy can’t resist it forever. Can his back–up plans save him from its perils? Will his No.65 sunscreen protect his delicate complexion?” Read a Cynsations interview with Mélanie.

Do you love Austin, Texas? Do you love YA books? Visit BookPeople Teens, new at MySpace!


This month, my heroes at readergirlz are featuring author Sarah Dessen. Read the current issue of readergirlz. Note: if you have not already linked to this site, please consider doing so now.

Check out the limited edition readergirlz pendant at gypsywings. “Part of the proceeds will help underwrite all the fun free readergirlz programming to celebrate teen reading.”

Read a Cynsations interview with Sarah, a Cynsations interview with the readergirlz Divas, and an interview with the latest diva Mitali Perkins by Jocelyn at Teen Book Review. Visit readergirlz at MySpace!


The SCBWI Bologna 2008 series is ongoing here at Cynsations! Did you read today’s interview with Nancy Miles of Miles Stott Children’s Literary Agency in the U.K. yet? Take note: she represents Roaring Brook Press and U.S. agents Rosemary Stimola [interview] and Barry Goldblatt [interview], with whom she has a reciprocal relationship.

To register for the SCBWI Bologna Biennial Conference 2008, please visit and click on SCBWI@Bologna. Queries?

More Personally

Of late, I took the challenge to offer up 15 odd trivia facts about myself and tagged a few local friends. Don at Devas T Rants and Raves answered with 15 Random Things, Jo at Jo’s Journal responded with 15 for Team, and Alison at Alison’s Journal shared her own Funky 15 (bonus points for her son’s Yoda impression). Read Cynsations interviews with Jo Whittemore and Don Tate. Visit Jo and Don at MySpace.

Question of the Week Thursday: Cynthia Leitich Smith from Robin Friedman’s JerseyFresh Tude. Robin asks me: “What’s it like to write so many different kinds of books?” and I discuss pros and cons. Thanks, Robin!

Visit Robin’s official author site, Facebook, and MySpace. Learn more about The Girlfriend Project (Bloomsbury, 2007), and watch her eat ribs on YouTube. Read a Cynsations interview with Robin.