Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win both Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa, illustrated by Ed Young (Philomel, 2009) and Hook by Ed Young (Roaring Brook, 2009)! See entry details at end of giveaways listing. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Ed.

From the promotional copy of Tsunami!: “Ojiisan, the oldest and wealthiest man in the village, doesn’t join the others at the rice ceremony. Instead he watches from his balcony. He feels something is coming—something he can’t describe. When he sees the monster wave pulling away from the beach, he knows. Tsunami! But the villagers below can’t see the danger. Will Ojiisan risk everything he has to save them? Can he?

“Illustrated in stunning collage by Caldecott winner Ed Young, here is the unforgettable story of how one man’s simple sacrifice saved hundreds of lives. An extraordinary celebration of both the power of nature and the power each of us holds within.”

From the promotional copy of Hook: “Hook is about the universal need to find oneself. An orphaned bald eagle is adopted by a caring but confused hen and must try again and again to rise to where he belongs in life. A very simple text sketches the story, while Young’s pastel drawings on speckled burnt sienna paper glow as they bring the story to life.”

Enter to win Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Ethan Long (Little, Brown, 2009). See entry details at end of giveaways listing. Read a previous Cynsations interview with J. Patrick Lewis.

From the promotional copy of Countdown to Summer: “Whether readers love poetry, riddles, and rhymes or just like to laugh, this richly varied collection of original poems is sure to keep them coming back for more! J. Patrick Lewis’s fun and accessible poetry features delightful wordplay and a variety of subjects and forms featured in a compendium that counts down from the first day of school to the last. Paired with Ethan Long’s lively art, these poems will have readers wishing there were more days in the school year!”

Enter to win a paperback of Stealing Heaven (Harper, 2008) and a hardcover of Love You Hate You Miss You (Harper, 2009), both by Elizabeth Scott. See entry details at end of giveaways listing. Read this week’s Cynsations interview with Elizabeth.

From the promotional copy of Stealing Heaven: “Dani has been trained as a thief by the best–her mother. Together, they move from town to town, targeting wealthy homes and making a living by stealing antique silver. They never stay in one place long enough to make real connections, real friends–a real life.

“In the beach town of Heaven, though, everything changes. For the first time, Dani starts to feel at home. She’s making friends and has even met a guy. But these people can never know the real Dani–because of who she is. When it turns out that her new friend lives in the house they’ve targeted for their next job and the cute guy is a cop, Dani must question where her loyalties lie: with the life she’s always known–or the one she’s always wanted.”

From the promotional copy of Love You Hate You Miss You: “It’s been seventy-five days. Amy’s sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her. And she’s really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia’s gone now, and she doesn’t want to talk about it. They wouldn’t get it, anyway. They wouldn’t understand what it feels like to have your best friend ripped away from you. They wouldn’t understand what it feels like to know it’s your fault.

“Amy’s shrink thinks it would help to start a diary. Instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. But as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past wasn’t as perfect as she thought it was–and the present deserves a chance too.”

To enter these contests, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Ed Young,” “J. Patrick Lewis,” or “Elizabeth Scott” in the subject line (Facebook and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the name(s) in the header). Deadline: Aug. 31. Note: you may enter more than one giveaway, but please send a separate email/message for each entry.

Reminder: the Eternal audiobook giveaway is ongoing!

June Giveaway Winners

The winners of Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009) were Kristen in Illinois, Erika in Florida, and Elaine Willis of Irwin County Middle/High School in Georgia. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Deborah.

The winners of The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, 2009) were Jeffrey in Florida, Kathi in Texas, Barbara at Farmington Public Library in New Mexico, Patricia at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and Stella (an LMS) in New York.

Listen to Mark Perzel’s radio interview with Chris on WBXU 91.7 in Cincinnati. See also a recent Cynsations interview with Chris.

More News

Congratulations to Justine Larbalestier and Bloomsbury USA on the new cover of Liar (2009)! Justine writes: “…given the paucity of black faces on YA covers, and the intensity of the debate around the original Liar cover, Bloomsbury felt really strongly that a more representative approach was needed. Rather than using a stock photo, Bloomsbury went the whole hog and did a photo shoot.” Note: you can catch up on the discussion–much of it about representations of diversity more broadly–which contributed to a change in Justine’s US cover, at her blog and several others. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Justine.

Cupa Chat with Author Karen Cushman by Jolie Stekly from Cuppa Jolie. Peek: “The Newbery Awards changed my life. Professionally, the awards mean my books will stay in print, I get letters from enthusiastic readers who ask enthusiastic questions, and I travel to bookstores and schools and conference and meet a lot of fabulous people and eat a lot of rubber chicken.”

Collecting Literary Tattoos by Jason Boog from Mediabistro. Peek: “According to the LA Times, bloggers Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge from HTMLGiant are looking for submissions for a literary tattoo collection.”

Texas librarians show wild side in calendar by Kelly Shannon from the Associated Press. Peek: “Texas librarians are baring their skin and revealing their tattoos – all to raise disaster relief money to help damaged libraries. Photos of the librarians and their body art appear in a new calendar sold by the Texas Library Association.”

The 2009 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Finalists: “The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the finalists for the inaugural Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction.” The finalists are: After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam); Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt); The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins); Me, The Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins); My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger (Dial). Source: The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.

The Bluebonnet List & Readers Theater: 2009-10 Master List Suggested Scripts from the Texas Library Association. Highly recommend to elementary educators, includes 11 scripts.

Brothers Delacorte: “Adam Selzer, James Kennedy and Daniel Kraus, three young Chicago authors who write young adult and middle grade novels for Random House’s acclaimed Delacorte Press imprint. They have joined forces to cross promote their books and appear at stores, conventions, and schools in Chicago and across the country.” See also Austin’s Delacorte Dames and Dude.

Be There by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “You have to be there in the scene you’re writing. You have to write it from the inside out and not the outside in.” See also Avoiding a Filter. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Brian.

Catching Up with Coe by Jeff Rivera from School Library Journal. Peek: “Writing about inner-city kids is near and dear to my heart, especially considering the fact that I used to be an inner-city kid myself! And since I live in the Bronx, it’s only natural that I’d be inspired by the things I see around me.” Source: April Henry.

Kendra by Coe Booth: the August feature from readergirlz. Peek from Lorie Ann Grover: “‘We were enthusiastic to discover this Bronx teen girl, working through abandonment, restriction, and physical attraction. Our community will engage with Kendra and the realistic cast that surrounds her. Brava, Coe!'”

Siblings in Children’s Books: You Gotta Love ‘Em, Right? by Stephanie Greene at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “I just want to talk about books which I feel portray siblings realistically. And those that don’t. And why kids love reading about siblings. And what, in the readers own experience as a sibling, affects their response to siblings in a book.” See also All Happy Siblings are Alike, Siblings, Siblings Everywhere, and There’s a Limit to How Interesting Siblings Find One Another.

What Fuels Your Writing? by Kristi Holl at Writers First Aid. Peek: “Energy from hurts and wounds and pain can be very useful to you as a writer. But, if you’re just wounded, does that automatically translate into books others will want to read? No.” See also What Motivates You? and Get Inspired Daily.

Hammond Starts Picture Book Line from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Themes of the new line will center around self-awareness, the importance of personal choices and social awareness.” Source: Children’s Book Biz News.

Congratulations to Debbi Michiko Florence on the release of Japan: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book, illustrated by Jim Caputo (Williamson Books, 2009)! From the promotional copy: “Are you curious about Japan? Do you want learn how to make omusubi and mochi? Do you celebrate Children’s Day? Would you like to learn some Japanese words? In Japan: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book, you can discover the amazing places, art, food, games, history, and holidays of Japan through over 40 hands-on/minds-on activities.” Read a previous Cynsations interview with Debbi.

Piper Reed Giveaways: Kimberly Willis Holt is sponsoring a whole month of giveaways of books from her Piper Reed series, including one entire classroom set, in celebration of the release of Piper Reed Gets a Job (Henry Holt, 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Editor Ruta Rimas of Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins from Terry Pierce: Children’s Author. Peek: “My taste in books…Well, it has to be something that moves me—in a humorous way, in a touching way, in a thought-provoking way…” Note: Ruta is on the Kansas SCBWI fall conference (“Wrangling Words and Works of Art”) faculty on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12. Source: Kidlit Central.

Check out this book trailer for Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert (MTV Books, 2009). Join the online release party. See also What’s Fresh with Stephanie Kuehnert’s Ballads of Suburbia from Kelly Para at YA Fresh.

Marvelous Marketer: Melissa Sarver (Literary Agent, Elizabeth Kaplan Agency) from Shelli at Market My Words: Rantings and ravings on how authors can better market their books to kids. Peek: “In fiction, I am looking for literary and commercial projects; I gravitate toward dark, edgy stories with brilliant prose and strong voice as well as quirky stories with a fresh sense of humor. I especially enjoy family sagas, multicultural stories and similarly emotional stories with dystopian themes.”

Working with Your Partner, the Writer: a guest post by Carly Wells from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “As a high school English teacher, I already have a life that drives me crazy with busyness, but I still want to be a part of my writer-partner’s journey toward being published, and I’m sure I’m not alone in those feelings. Here are the ways I’ve found that have helped out…”

Interview: Lara Zeises from Little Willow at Slayground. Peek: “The book had been optioned by its producer, Barbara Lieberman, on behalf of Lifetime the summer of 2006. I didn’t hear anything for months and months, but then, in the spring of 2007, my agent casually mentioned in a voice mail message that things were moving along with the movie deal. Shocker!” See also Lara’s newly redesigned website. Read a Cynsations interview with Lara.

Roxie Munro: official site of the author-illustrator of Amusement Park (Sterling, 2009), Inside-Outside Dinosaurs (Marshall Cavendish, 2009), Go! Go! Go!: More than 70 Flaps to Uncover and Discover (Sterling, 2009), Mazeways: A to Z (Sterling, 2007), Rodeo (Bright Sky, 2007), and many more (several Western-themed) books for young readers. Roxie was born in Texas and now makes her home in New York.

How do your critiques vary? by P.J. Hoover from Roots in Myth. P.J. takes a look at how she approaches first-page v. partial v. full-manuscript critiques. Peek: “I love reading first pages. I don’t want to be confused. I don’t want too many characters. And I really don’t want to see too many adjectives or adverbs. I want to see conflict. I want the voice to make me want to keep reading.” Read a Cynsations interview with P.J.

Interview with Author Kathleen Duey by Alice Pope from Alice’s CWIM Blog. Peek: “To move from my very competently written paperback series to the kind of books I am writing now, I had to recover the deeper parts of my own artistic process. It was tricky at first. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I set it aside and why, and I very purposefully set out to get it back.” See also a Cynsations interview with Kathleen.

Check out this trailer for the forthcoming Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe (Henry Holt, Sept. 15, 2009). See also Megan’s insights on the making of the trailer.

How to Write a Log Line by David Macinnis Gill at I Am Chikin, Hear Me Roar. Peek: “A ‘log line’ is Hollywood terminology that means a one-to-two sentence descriptor of a story. It gets its name, I imagine, from a time when someone had to log each story line, and they wanted to write as little as possible.” Read a previous Cynsations interview with David.

The age-old, oft-discussed, oft-annoying discussion: what is the difference between MG and YA? by Stacy Whitman at Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire. Peek: “Yes, the author needs to tell the editor what age group you see it as, because it helps us to know whether you have a firm enough grasp on the market to be able to place it. However, where you say it is may not be where it ends up.” Read a previous Cynsations interview with Stacy.

Neil Gaiman and Ashley Bryan at ALA: videos courtesy of Joyce Valenza Ph.D at School Library Journal.

Jo Knowles: Did It Happen To You? from Peek: “‘Where did you get your idea?’ Often when I give the usual answer, I can see a bit of disappointment on some faces. Or is it suspicion? I think this is because the real question some people want to know is, is the book ‘true’? In other words, did it happen to me?” Read a previous Cynsations interview with Jo.

More Personally

I’m honored that one of my favorite authors (and people), Carrie Jones, included being featured on Cynsations as the fulfillment as one of her Writing Dreams. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Carrie.

Please note that I’m on deadline for Blessed (Candlewick, 2011) until mid September. Unless you have a time-sensitive matter, please hold off on sending me email (to the extent practical) until after that time. Thanks!

Reminder: the Eternal audiobook giveaway is ongoing!

VCFA Day in Texas
Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Day in the Lone Star State: acclaimed authors Kathi Appelt and Sharon Darrow will lead a conference on the craft of writing for young readers on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 at Teravista (4333 Teravista Club Dr.) in Round Rock, which is located just 20 minutes north of Austin. Note: open to alumni and all other serious writers for young readers! Participants are incoming from nation wide. Spots are filling fast–register today! See more information. Read previous Cynsations interviews with Kathi and Sharon.

Central Texas Events

Liz Garton Scanlon will celebrate the release of her picture book, All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/S&S), with story time at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 26 at BookPeople in Austin. Read Cynsations interviews with Liz and Marla. See the All the World curriculum guide (PDF) created by Natalie Dias Lorenzi. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Liz.

Jessica Lee Anderson (Border Crossings (Milkweed, 2009)) and P.J. Hoover (The Forgotten Worlds Book 2: The Navel of the World (CBAY, 2009)) will have a joint book release party at 2 p.m. Oct. 18 at BookPeople. Read previous Cynsations interviews with Jessica and P.J.

Austin SCBWI

Cynthia Levinson will speak on “Writing for the Magazine Market” at 11 a.m. Aug. 15 at BookPeople and Chris Barton will speak on “Writing the Picture Book Biography” at 11 a.m. Sept. 12 at BookPeople, both in conjunction with Austin SCBWI. Read a recent Cynsations interview with Chris.

“The Main Elements of Story: Plot, Character, Setting, and Theme” with National SCBWI Speaker Chris Eboch sponsored by Austin SCBWI is scheduled for Oct. 10. Registration information will be posted on the Austin SCBWI website this week. Attendees will receive a $10 discount when registering for the local January 2010 conference. Seating is limited. Registration opens July 6. Note: Austin SCBWI events often sell out. From the author site: Chris has a new series, Haunted, debuting August 2009 [from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin] with two books: The Ghost on the Stairs and The Riverboat Phantom.

Destination Publication: an annual conference of Austin SCBWI will be held Jan. 30, 2010, and registration will open Sept. 1. Conference faculty will include Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson, Caldecott illustrator David Diaz, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein, author/FSG editor Lisa Graff, agent Andrea Cascardi, agent Mark McVeigh, agent Nathan Bransford, and a to-be-announced editor; see bios. Featured authors will include Chris Barton, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover, Jessica Lee Anderson, Liz Garton Scanlon, Jennifer Ziegler, Philip Yates, and Patrice Barton; see author bios. Read Cynsations interviews with Mark, Nathan, Chris, Shana, Jessica, Liz, Jennifer, and Philip.