Cynsational News & Giveaways

Guys Read: Thriller by Jon Scieszka from Debbie Gonzales at ReaderKidZ. Peek: “Gripping tales of ghosts, ghouls, and the odd pirate will most certainly enthrall the most reluctant reader. Who could resist reading about ghost vision glasses, monster hunters, or a wish machine that conjures up the desires of the dead?” Note: Melissa Sweet is the author-in-residence this month at ReaderKidz.

World Fantasy Con Wrap-up by Lena Coakley from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: “Enthusiasm for YA fantasy was contagious at this panel.  All four women spoke eloquently about how much they loved their children’s and YA audiences. ‘This is an area where you can really make a difference,’ said Tamora Pierce.  ‘If a kid says to me that a book of mine changed their life, I believe them because I remember the books that changed my life.'”

Vivid Descriptions of Faces Don’t Have to Go Into Detail from Science Daily. Peek: “They found that, in many cases, the face was not explicitly mentioned but that the scientific literature suggests this may be more beneficial for forming a vivid response to the description.” Source: Leda Schubert.

Author Tip: before you sent an autographed bookmark/bookplate/postcard in response to an online request, at least do a search of the address offered to make sure it isn’t a pawn shop, bar or other business indicative that there may be something shady about the request.

Neil Gaiman and the Disappearing Newbery Seal by Travis from 100 Scope Reviews. Note: interesting conversation in the comments.

Mastering McBean’s Machine (Or How to Find Your Way in the Publishing World) by Amber J. Keyser from Adventures in Children’s Publishing. Peek: “…my writing alone was not enough to get me the job. Just as I brought scientific expertise to my first foray into writing for children, I brought my expertise about this crazy business to the table.”

Congratulations to Lita Judge on the release of Red Sled (Atheneum, 2011). From the promotional copy: “In this almost wordless picture book, a host of woodland creatures take a child’s sled for a nighttime joy ride. Their whimsical ride is gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor, complemented by humorous expressions and pitch-perfect sound effects. With a timeless tone and classic characters, Red Sled will become a wintertime favorite.” Note: the book has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. See interior illustrations.

Writing Historical YA by Dianne Salerni from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “I keep hearing that historical fiction is a hard sell with teens. Yet the growing popularity of science fiction and dystopian fiction tells me YA readers are looking to break out of a world defined by school and social cliques. They want to expand their horizons, explore their destinies, lead revolutions — and save the world.”

An Interview with Award-winning Author Elizabeth Partridge by Hillary Homzie from The Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors. Peek: “I have always traveled to where a book is set, fiction or nonfiction. It helps me to see how things relate to one another geographically. I like to smell the air, feel what the rains feel like on my skin, see how people move in their environment. In Vietnam I spent time by the rivers, at the markets, in small villages, talking to anyone who would talk to me, soaking up stories. In Da Nang I visited an orphanage.”

Chris Westwood on Ideas, Inspiration and Gothic Horror from Tall Tales & Short Stories. Peek: “I now live in Hackney, East London, but I was still getting to know the area when I started MoP, and I soon found the alleyways, parks and canal towpaths between home and Islington triggering lots of ideas, almost becoming characters in their own right.”

Cover Stories: Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin from Melissa Walker. Peek: “I was surprised. The folks at Puffin hadn’t told me they were rethinking things for the paperback. The email said: ‘We all think that these images really capture the two girls (and the dynamic between them) perfectly.’”

“Fat Kid Rules the World” Movie: First Screening from K.L. Going. Peek: “When I arrived at Curtis Brown, they’d set up the conference room with a beautiful, celebratory movie spread. Wine, champagne, chocolate, popcorn…” See also Author Interview: K.L. Going on “Fat Kid Rules the World,” the Movie.

Shining a Light on the Finalists for the National Book Award by Nikki Grimes. Peek: “…some overdue, positive attention to the books selected.” Note: a discussion of the merits of the finalists.

New Mailing List for Fans of Cinda Williams Chima: sign up for all of Cinda’s latest news–books, events, and more!

How to Avoid Parenting Your Characters by Sue Bradford Edwards from Writer’s Digest. Peek: “If you simply cannot get the parents out of your story, then make good use of them.” Source: Phil Giunta.

Heavenly interest sparks creation of ‘A Flight of Angels’ by Brian Truitt from USA Today. Peek: “With the holidays coming up, people start breaking out decorations and begin thinking more about angels as messengers of God, but they also play a big role in sci-fi, fantasy and other genres of pop culture.” Source: Louise Hawes.

Elise Howard Moves to Algonquin to Start Middle Grade-YA Book List by Marc Schultz from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “As for Howard, she says she will be looking for work consistent with Algonquin’s list as it is: ‘Books for serious readers, you could say, though that doesn’t mean all books on serious topics, by any means.’ She also hopes to publish books ‘that might entice a casual reader to become a true reader—that’s probably the biggest reward in creating books for young readers.'” Source: Austin SCBWI.

Delacorte, Nov. 2011

Iain Lawrence has won the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature ($20,000). The award celebrates an author’s body of work in the field of children’s literature and was announced on Tuesday evening at the 11th annual Writers Trust Awards banquet. Source: Cynsations Canada reporter Lena Coakley.

The 22nd Annual Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition is scheduled for Nov. 6 to Jan. 15 at R. Michelson Galleries (132 Main Street) in Northampton, Massachusetts. The opening reception is from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; ceremony and entertainment begin at 5:30 p.m. Peek: “Join us and meet more than 50 of the illustrators and writers behind your favorite children’s books. Our artists have garnered an astounding 12 Caldecott Medals and 29 Caldecott Honor Awards.”

The Red House Children’s Book Award 2012 Shortlist from the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. Source: ACHOCKABLOG.

My Very UnFairy Tale Life with Anna Staniszewski by Karen Schwartz from The Mixed-up Files…of Middle Grade Authors. Peek: “…I started thinking about all the magical quests I read when I was young about heroes who were whisked away to other worlds to save the day. I wondered what life would be like if those heroes spent years saving the day on a regular basis–wouldn’t they get sick of it?” Comment at the link for a chance to win! See also the book trailer for My Very UnFairy Tale Life (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2011).

Don’t miss This Week for Writers: Our Favorite Articles and Blog Posts from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing.

Celebrate Picture Book Month

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win The Flint Heart by Katherine and John Paterson, illustrated by John Rocco (Candlewick, 2011)!  To enter, comment on this post (click preceding link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with “The Flint Heart” in the subject line. Publisher-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Deadline: midnight CST Nov. 14.

Notes: Read a sample chapter (PDF) and A Conversation with the Creators of The Flint Heart (PDF), both from Candlewick. Listen to an audio of Katherine Paterson discussing the book.

Enter to win a signed copy of Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch (namelos, 2011)! To enter, comment on this post (click preceding link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia with “Waiting to Forget” in the subject line. Author-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Deadline: midnight CST Nov. 7.

The winner of The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones by Helen Hemphill (Front Street, 2008/Boyds Mills, 2011) was Jen from Ottawa.

This Week’s Cynsations Posts

Cynsational Screening Room

The 2011 Best Illustrated Children’s Books from The New York Times. The video below celebrates one of the choices, Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook).

In the video below, Kathi Appelt interviews Caldecott-winning author/illustrator Eric Rohmann about his new book, Bone Dog (Roaring Brook, 2011).

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is November. Peek: “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.”

Consider celebrating with Jingle Dancer, Indian Shoes, or Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith (all HarperCollins). Note: teacher/reader resources are available for all three titles, and include a free readers theater for Indian Shoes.

See also Native American Themes in Children’s & YA Books & related educator resources from Children’s Literature Resources, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Storytellers, American Indians in Children’s Literature from Debbie Reese, and the Oyate online catalog, which includes many hard-to-find and small-press books.

Note: be sure to continue celebrating Native-themed children’s-YA books all year long!

From GregLSBlog

Tim Wynne-Jones

Attention Children’s-YA Writers & Illustrators! In anticipation of the release of Chronal Engine (Clarion, 2012), Greg Leitich Smith is hosting a photo blog series called Writers and Illustrators and Dinosaurs, and you’re invited to participate!

All you have to do is email him a photo of yourself with any dinosaur image. Greg says, “These can be realistic dinosaurs or skeletons from natural history museums or theme parks or can be dinosaurs of the more cartoon-y variety (like toys, signs, books).”

So far, participants include Caroline Arnold, James Howe, David Ostow, Jane Yolen, and Jennifer Ziegler. The posts also offer information about the contributors’ writing/art and will be featured in a variety of book lover venues.

Greg adds, “I’m having fun promoting my fellow children’s-YA book creators and of course celebrating all things dinosaur!”

To join in the fun, write greg at gregleitichsmith dot com. 

More Personally

This week’s highlight was participating as an author-speaker via Skype in “The Many Media of Young Adult Narrative” on Nov. 3 at Salisbury University’s Teacher Education and Technology Center. In-person panelists were Michelle Ray and Douglas E. Draper, Jr. Fellow graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang also joined in via Skype.

On a related note, thanks to Debbie and John Gonzales and Lindsey Lane for their support in my recent Skype training effort.

My draft of Smolder is resting until after Austin Comic Con. Every once in a while you reach a pausing point with a manuscript, and it’s a good idea to step away for a while so that later you can see it with fresh eyes. I already know of changes that I want to make, and my fingertips are already itching to make them. When I go back in, my focus will largely be on deepening character relationships and making more use of a type of setting that’s new to me. In the meantime, I’m reading a YA manuscript for an author pal, continuing to market my books, and preparing to launch Diabolical in January.

I’m also excited to report that children’s author Kate Hosford will be joining Cynsations to coordinate a series of posts celebrating poetry for young readers in 2012. Read a new voice interview with Kate.

“We like to see aspects of ourselves reflected in the world of books.” – Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith by Voicu Mihnea Simandan. Peek: “Read. Focus on story first, the craft of writing. Publication isn’t writing. It’s what may or may not happen afterward. What’s more important is the process of putting together the text.” Note: it’s not every day I’m interviewed by a Romanian teaching in Thailand.

From Zombies to Vampires and Werewolves from Book Moot. Peek: “At a recent author appearance at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Cynthia described the process of working with an illustrator in this kind of storytelling.  She described a collaboration which made me think of the relationship between a movie director and cinematographer with each of them sharing both roles.”

Check out the super cute cover for Hollyweird by Terri Clark (Flux, 2012). Read a Cynsations snapshot interview with Terri.

Congratulations to Lisa Mantchev on signing with Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary AGency, and congratulations to Laura on signing Lisa!

Congratulations to Tiffany Trent and her agent Jennifer Laughran on the sale of the next book in the Unnaturalists series to Simon & Schuster.

Even More Personally

This week I watched “Ghost Busters II” (1989), “Bridge Jones’s Diary” (2001), “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” (2004), “Monte Carlo” (2011) and saw “Footloose” (2011) in the theater. “Monte Carlo” struck me as a cute flick for a tween girl slumber party.

I also watched the season premiers of the TV shows that I follow in real time: “Terra Nova,” “Glee,” and “Bones.” “Terra Nova” is more Greg’s show than mine, but I’m enjoying it. Dinosaurs rule in our house. I also love any show with singing and dancing, which “Glee” has in abundance. And with its combination of mystery, humor, romance, and brainy factoids, “Bones” is one of my all-time favorites. I’m particularly fascinated by the character “Angela’s father,” the Texan musician played by ZZ Top member Billy Gibbons.

Personal Links:

From Greg Leitich Smith:

Cynsational Events

Cynthia Leitich Smith will be appearing at Austin Comic Con, scheduled for Nov. 11 to Nov. 13 at the Austin Convention Center.

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