Cynsational News

Interview: Don Tate — Illustrating Children’s Books by Donna Bowman Bratton from Writing Down the Kid-Lit Page. Peek: “I think the tool I use the most is my Sharpie. I like to sketch with a Sharpie marker because I can block in large areas and quickly see how shapes relate to each other.”

Q & A with Associate Art Directors Tracy Shaw and Alison Impey of Little, Brown by Alvina Ling from Blue Rose Girls. Peek from Tracy: “…the weirdest places I’ve found inspiration would have to be either a chewing gum ad or a perfume sample label.”

SCBWI Members Choice Crystal Kite Awards Announced from Austin SCBWI. Congratulations Maja Sereda, Claire M. Saxby, Deborah Underwood, Jo S. Kittinger, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, Monika Schröder, Ann Angel, Sydney Salter Husseman, Brian Lies, Kate Messner, Kathryn D. Erskine, Tammi Sauer, Marsha Skrypuch, Candy Gourlay, and Bonny Becker. Note: “The Crystal Kite Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to recognize great books from the 70 SCBWI regions around the world. Along with the SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, the Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers.”

Writing for Children & Young Adults: an online master’s level class taught by author-editor Jill Santoplo from McDaniel College. Peek: “Graduate & Professional Studies (GPS) introduces a new series of courses focusing on Writing for Children & Young Adults. Offered online, these graduate-level courses can be applied to the Master of Liberal Arts program at GPS, or can be earned on a non-degree basis.”

Winners of the 2010 Whitney Awards include The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Scholastic)(Best Youth-General), Matched by Ally Condie (Dutton)(Best Youth-Speculative), and Kiersten White (Best New Author). Note: “The Whitneys are an awards program for novels by LDS authors.”

Self-publishing and the New Gatekeepers by Chris Eboch from Write Like a Pro! A Free Online Writing Workshop. Peek: “Some authors are banding together into groups to approve each other’s work.”

A Nameless Protagonist by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “…for the most part, every novel you pick up is going to have a protagonist with a name, and there’s a reason for that. Because before your reader can identify with your protagonist, your protagonist has to have an identity.”

Organizing a Writer’s Workshop: Pre-Publicity and Marketing by Jane Friedman from There Are No Rules. Note: also discusses budget, faculty expenses, venue, housing, meals, social events, and schedule. Source: Phil Giunta.

Marketing Nonfiction Versus Fiction: Where the Similarities End by Christine Fonseca from Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: “With my nonfiction books, for example, connecting with readers has proven most successful using a combination of virtual chats (twitter, Second Life, online forums) and real life events (conferences and book chats).”

Why We’re Still In Love with Picture Books (Even Though They’re Supposed to Be Dead) by Allyn Johnston and Marla Frazee from The Horn Book. Peek: “The words in a picture book are written to be performed. They are meant to be read aloud. Each syllable, each line break, each sentence’s placement on the page and where those critical page-turns occur, the rhythm, the word choice, the repetition (and maybe even the rhyme, if it’s done well) — all of these are massively important.”

A Circus for the Brain: J. Patrick Lewis, the 2011 Children’s Poet Laureate Speaks by Sylvia Vardell from Poetry Foundation. Peek: “Children spend their whole lives talking, listening, reading, and dreaming in one language (or more, if they are lucky), so why not encourage them to do all those things in the most pleasurable possible way—with poetry.”

Cynsational Tip: Looking for somewhere to feature your book trailer? Consider Blazing Trailers: Book Videos and More. See the Blessed trailer page at Blazing Trailers!

Tiff’s Top Ten Secrets and Lies of Publishing by Tiffany Trent from Center Neptune. Peek: “It’s all about discovering your own process. Maybe you do need to write every day. Maybe you need to take a breather between novels to ‘refill the well.’ Maybe you write for a couple hours and then take a walk to keep the ideas flowing. You have to do whatever works for you.”

Cynsational Screening Room

Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Ballou Senior High School from Guys Lit Wire. Donations are much needed; see the Wish List at Powells.

More Personally

The highlight of this week was the Diversity in YA panel at BookPeople. From left to right, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Dia Reeves, Jo Whittemore, Bethany Hegedus, Cindy Pon, and Malinda Lo, moderated by Varian Johnson (in back).

Here’s a shelf shot of Blessed (Candlewick, 2011) at Voracious Reader, a terrific independent bookstore in Larchmont, New York, courtesy of the lovely Melissa Walker. Check out Melissa’s upcoming book, Small Town Sinners (Bloomsbury, July 2011).

Beyond that, I’m still thrilled about recent news that Blessed is a YALSA Teens Top Ten nominee and my 2010 picture book, Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton), has been selected for inclusion in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!

Personal Links of the Week

Cynsational Events

Chris Barton will be signing Can I See Your ID? True Stories of False Identities, illustrated by Paul Hoppe (Dial, 2011) at 7 p.m. May 14 at BookPeople in Austin. See discussion guide. See also Chris on Unbridled Silliness and Carefully Researched Truth-telling.

The Chills and Thrills Book Tour will be stopping at 2 p.m. May 15 at BookPeople. Turn out for authors Mari Mancusi, Tera Lynn Childs, Sophie Jordan, Jordan Dane, Lara Chapman, Jennifer Archer, and Tracy Deebs.

The First Annual BooksmART Festival will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 11 as part of Arts & Letters Live from the Dallas Museum of Art. Peek: “Come spend the day with authors, illustrators, musicians and actors, and enjoy talks, workshops, gallery tours, and entertainment, designed to appeal to every member of the family and every age group.” Featured children’s-YA book creators include Rick Riordan, Norton Juster, Laurie Halse Anderson, David Wiesner, Jerry Pinkney, Gene Luen Yang, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Duncan Tonatiuh, Antonio Sacre, Joe McDermott, Jan Bozarth, and Ann Marie Newman.

Authors Jennifer Ziegler and Cynthia Leitich Smith will speak to YA readers at 2 p.m. June 18 at Bee Cave Public Library in Bee Cave, Texas. Mark your calendars for book talk and pizza!

Austin Bat Cave Offers YA Writing Workshop with Margo Rabb from May 31 to July 5. See more information.