Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 2013 (Books Published in 2012) from the National Science Teacher’s Association. Peek: “Science is not just one ‘way of knowing,’ but many.”

HarperCollins Aims Imprint at Lucrative Young Adult Market by Leslie Kaufman from The New York Times. Peek: “The imprint, called HarperTeen Impulse, will begin sales on Dec. 4 for short fiction in a variety of genres. Although the imprint is open to both new and established authors, it will lean heavily at first on some reliable names.”

Nonfiction Mistakes I’ve Made – And Ways to Avoid Them by Nina Kidd from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “My second mistake was researching too long.”

To My Mom, Who Taught Me Not to Wait by Janet S. Fox from Friend for the Ride. Peek: “Among her papers as I was sorting them – because my father couldn’t – I found a pile of unpublished children’s stories. They were sweet, old-fashioned, lyrical.”

Does the Digital Era Flip Our Definition of Censorship by Daniel Nayeri from CBC Diversity. Peek: “There are certainly great works of literature that could (and have been) called pornographic or racist. And conversely, there are many poorly written books that hold high literary standing.”

Native American Heritage Month: Children’s Books by ICTM Staff from Indian Country Today. Note: recommended titles include Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith (HarperCollins, 2002).

Z Is for Moose by Lolly Robinson from The Horn Book. Peek: “For me, that is the most essential criteria for evaluating picture books: text, art, design, and book making need to play well together without upstaging one another. Everything should be working toward the same goal.”

Independent Bookstores Find Their Footing by Lynn Neary from NPR. Peek: “These days, Bercu says the brick-and-mortar bookstores that are still standing have a loyal following.”

Scare Readers with Your Mind, Not Your Monsters by Deborah Halverson from Dear Editor. Peek: “Try tapping into your own deep-rooted fear, because if something scares you, you’re primed to convey your discomfort in your writing.”

Agent Spotlight: Gina Maccoby from Literary Rambles. Peek: “…a veteran of the industry and a passionate author’s advocate. She
represents Rick Riordan, Mary Ann Hoberman, Janet Taylor Lisle, and Jean Fritz among other prominent children’s book authors.”

Hanukkah Gift Ideas from Kar-Ben Publishing. Peek: “Give the book along with some cheerful, kid-friendly Shabbat candlesticks or crafting supplies to make candlesticks and inspire a life-long awareness of hiddur mitzvah!” See also Hanukkah Read Up! from Jewish Books for Children.

The First-Person Query Letter (and Why You Shouldn’t Do It) by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “…the agent is not sure if you’re psychotic or whether you’re actually threatening her kids or whether you’re confessing… What is this?”

Author Chat: Alan Woo on Maggie’s Chopsticks from Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup. Peek: “The characters are all based on different people’s personalities that I
know and that I grew up with. I remember being young and having adults in my life who were sometimes stern, strict, and grumpy. Then there were those that were helpful and friendly and genuinely caring.”

Author Insight: The Non-negotiables from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: “Is there one thing in your writing/novels you aren’t willing to bend on? Have you had to defend an instance of it in the past? If so, at what cost?”

Differences Between Published and Unpublished Manuscripts (or, rather publishable and unpublishable) by Libby Koponen from Blue Rose Girls. Peek: “It is amazing how much happens in a well-constructed novel.”

Joseph Bruchac: Teller of Tales by Nancy Bo Flood from The Pirate Tree. Peek: “My stories come from things I’ve read and heard, from people I meet, from my family and friends, and from a place within me that sometimes speaks to me–at times when I’m writing it’s as if I’m taking dictation. “

Industry Q&A with Author Tanita S. Davis from CBC Diversity. Peek: “I try to be inclusive of the sometimes invisible things – the differently abled or those with other challenges, multiracial blends, blended families, various faiths, etc. – because that’s real-world stuff, and I really feel there’s too much culture-less, colorless fiction being published.”

The Real Scoop on the Jane Yolen Mid-list Author Grant from the Official SCBWI Blog. Peek: “We write to be read, and sometimes we write to have written, and occasionally we write to be paid. Though not enough. Never enough, we

See also Cool Links Friday from Stina Lindenblatt and Publishing Pulse from

The 13th Sign Preorder Contest

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb is conducting a Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) fundraiser in conjunction with her 13 Days of The 13th Sign (Feiwel & Friends, 2013) pre-order contest. For every pre-order of her latest release, The 13th Sign, she is donating $1 to the literacy cause. Plus, participants can win prizes each day. For more details, please visit any of the 13 blogs who are a part of the fundraiser:

 Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of The Christmas Tugboat: How the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Came to New York City by by George Matteson and Adele Ursone, illustrated by
James Ransome (Clarion, 2012)
are Jennifer in Michigan, Alicia in Alabama, Heidi in Utah, and Margie in Michigan.

The winner of the last ARC of Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2013) is Carolina in Texas.

Don’t miss the Free Picture Book Edit Giveaway from Dear Editor and New YA Lit in Stores, Three-Book Giveaway from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing.

This Week at Cynsations

A Dino a Day: A Chronal Engine Celebration

Amy’s Ice Creams

Greg Leitich Smith is celebrating the season by modeling his 2012 release, Chronal Engine (Clarion) and his wardrobe of dinosaur T-shirts at Austin landmarks.

Got it? Every day a different rockin’ dinosaur T-shirt at a different super-fantastic Austin locale.

Please brighten his week (and mine, too) by clicking through, leaving a comment, and/or passing on the link(s). Please also feel free to compliment the photographer (cough) — ha!

Day 1: BookPeople 
Day 2: The Driskill Hotel
Day 3: Whole Foods 
Day 4: Texas State Capitol Building 
Day 5: Amy’s Ice Creams 
Day 6: Austin History Center 
Day 7: Run Tex 
Day 8: Waterloo Records

More Personally

Last week’s highlight was the 5-mile Austin Turkey Trot with Greg Leitich Smith (above), Donna Bowman Bratton and her son, Ethan. The weather was wonderful and the course was gorgeous. A well-run, family-friendly event. I hope to participate again in the future.

Thanks to Cory Putnam Oakes for this self-short of my 2012 release Diabolical (Candlewick (U.S.)/Walker (U.K.) at Waterstones in Piccadilly (the biggest bookshop in

Top 10 Multicultural Picture Books by Cynthia Leitich Smith from PaperTigers.Blog. Note: a bibliography of highly recommended favorites.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Cynthia Leitich Smith will sign from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 1 at The BookSpot in Round Rock. Also featuring Greg Leitich Smith, Liz Garton Scanlon & Shana Burg. Note: Greg is bringing cookies made with the Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe. Cookies!

Advanced Writing Workshops — Simon & Schuster Editor Alexandra
Penfolds, Deconstructing Children’s Literature Characters
Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 at The Writing Barn in Austin. Application deadline: Dec. 1.

Austin SCBWI Regional Conference Early-Bird Registration Deadline: Dec. 19. After that, the price goes up $25.

2013 Novel Writing Retreat for Middle Grade and Young Adult Writers will be March 15 to March 17 at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Study with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lauren Myracle and Candlewick editor Andrea Tompa.

Extended Three-Session Intensive Workshop:
Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson will be running a three-part
revision intensive in Westport, Connecticut, over three Saturdays in
January, February, and March. Peek: “Bring your picture book,
nonfiction, or novel manuscript and get multiple rounds of feedback as
well as revision techniques.”

Sneak Peek at New Year’s Workshops from the Highlights Foundation. Peek: “‘Whole Novel Workshop: Young Adult’ with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Greg Leitich Smith, Nancy Werlin. Founded in 2006, the Whole Novel Workshop is specifically designed for writers of young-adult novels. This unique program offers the one-on-one attention found in degree programs, but without additional academic requirements, lengthy time commitments, or prohibitive financial investments. Our aim is to focus on a specific work in progress, moving a
novel to the next level in preparation for submission to agents or publishers. Focused attention in an intimate setting makes this mentorship program one that guarantees significant progress.”