Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Esther Hershenhorn Recommends Snowflakes Fall by Patricia Maclachlan, illustrated Steven Kellogg (Random House, 2013) from Teaching Authors. Peek: “In a Feb. 25 Publishers Weekly interview, Patricia MacLachlan shared that the snowflake motif used to underscore each individual’s uniqueness and the power of nature and time to help heal was inspired by the Connecticut Parent Teachers Association’s efforts to encourage people to create paper snowflakes to decorate the new school Sandy Hook
students would be attending.” See also Diverse & Impressive Picture Books of 2013 from the International Reading Association.

Online Author Visits’ Holiday Offer from readergirlz. Peek: “We are a group of children’s authors that do Skype and Google visits with classrooms and book clubs across the country (we donate 25% percent of our fee to a chosen charity). To celebrate such a successful year, we are hosting a contest where two winners will get to each choose two books from among our talented author pool…winners will also get to choose a school library of their choice to receive a collection of five books valued at over $150!”

Creating an Ironic Tone in Your Fiction by Jack Smith from Elizabeth Spann Craig. Peek: “To create the right tone, you need to think about character actions, dialogue, and setting. All of these will affect the tone of your story or novel. But you also need to attend to matters of style. Being something of an iconoclast, I tend to go for irony. An ironic tone is, of course, the right tone for satire—which is my usual medium.”

The winner of SCBWI’s 2013 Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award is Eve Feldman, author of such works as Billy and Milly Short and Silly (Putnam) and Dog Crazy (Tambourine). Eve has been a children’s book author and SCBWI member for over twenty years. Honor grants also were awarded to authors Verla Kay and Deborah Lynn Jacobs. Verla Kay is the author of Civil War Drummer Boy (Putnam) and Hornbooks and Inkwells (Putnam) among others. Deborah Lynn Jacobs is the author of the young adult novels Choices (Roaring Brook Press) and Powers (Square Fish). See also Gifts by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Diary of a Writer.

BookPeople, Random House Partner on Pen-Pal Literacy Initiative by Paige Crutcher from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Inspired by Shana Burg’s middle grade novel Laugh with the Moon, BookPeople and Random House Children’s Books have teamed up with the Austin Independent School District to launch Words Across the World, a pen-pal program connecting Austin, Tex., students with students from Malawi, Africa.” See also Words Across the World from BookPeople.

Middle Grade Novels and Relationships by Dianne K. Salerni from Project Mayhem. Peek: “Chances are they will never tame a gryphon, battle a Cyclops, or find a lost treasure, but they will experience broken promises, unexpected friendships, betrayal, and random acts of kindness.” See also Things Left Unspoken by Robin LaFevers from Writer Unboxed.

Where’s the Diversity? The New York Times Top 10 Bestseller List & Interview with Author Charles Yu from Lee and Low. Peek: “Only three out of the 124 authors who appeared on the list during 2012 are people of color.” See Audrey’s Top Eight Multicultural Titles for 2013 from Rich in Color.

Character Descriptions: Learn from the Pros by Jodie Renner from Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: “…my clients often tend to over-describe characters, with too much emphasis on specific visual details. Readers…enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of piecing things together and drawing their own conclusions about characters.”

Lasso A Daydream by Nikki Grimes from Teaching Books. Peek: “By the time I was ten, I could lasso a daydream and ride the wind.”

Multicultural Holiday Books: a bibliography by Nicole Lee Martin from ALSC Blog. Peek: “The Public Awareness Committee makes a special effort to promote programs and books that celebrate multiculturalism through promotion of El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, commonly known as Día, and…you will find some of my favorite multicultural holiday picture books.”

More Awards

Cynsational Screening Room


Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of sets of Mitchell Goes Driving and Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand (Candlewick) are Jeri and Anastasia.

See also a giveaway of a paperback copy of The Diviners by Libba Bray and tie-in tote from Jen Bigheart at I Read Banned Books and a five-book giveaway of World After by Susan Ee from Adventures in YA Publishing.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Seussville at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
It’s almost time for Cynsations holiday hiatus. I’m still writing, still on deadline, but the great news is that I think I’ve figured out a more exciting, satisfying and costly ending to my work in progress. 

First review! Kirkus Reviews says of Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014): “Campy humor is paired with themes of social justice in this fast-paced, clever second volume in the Feral series….A neat, smart middle novel that clearly sets the stage for an epic showdown between those who champion the rights of shifters and those blind to their humanity.”

Congratulations to Cory Putnam Oaks on the sale of “Dinosaur Boy” to Aubrey Poole at Sourcebooks, in a two-book deal!

Congratulations to the Spirit of Texas Reading Program 2014 Middle School Authors, including Cynthia Levinson, Katherine Catmull and Kelly Milner Halls!

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Writing for Children & Young Adults at 10 a.m. PST Dec. 18 from WritersWebTV. Peek: “…if you want to write for children, you need more than just a good story – what age group are you writing for, what are the demands of that market? How long should your book be? We’ll answer all these questions and give you essential tips and techniques to capture a young reader.” Featuring picture book creators Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick and Michael Emberley; Norton Virgien, Emmy award winning director of ‘Henry Hugglemonster’ and ‘Doc McStuffins’; literary agent Polly Nolan, (previously editorial director of Macmillan Children’s Books); and award-winning novelist Meg Rosoff. Note: Enroll to watch live for free or purchase for €49.