Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Congratulations to Carol Lynch Williams on the release of The Haven (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014). From the promotional copy:

For the teens at The Haven, the outside world, just beyond the towering stone wall that surrounds the premises, is a dangerous unknown. It has always been this way, ever since the hospital was established in the year 2020.

But The Haven is more than just a hospital; it is their home. It is all they know. Everything is strictly monitored: education, exercise, food, and rest. The rules must be followed to keep the children healthy, to help control the Disease that has cast them as Terminals, the Disease that claims limbs and lungs—and memories.

But Shiloh is different; she remembers everything. Gideon is different, too. He dreams of a cure, of rebellion against the status quo. What if everything they’ve been told is a lie? What if The Haven is not the safe place it claims to be? And what will happen if Shiloh starts asking dangerous questions?

Powerful and emotional, The Haven takes us inside a treacherous world in which nothing is as it seems.

More News & Giveaways

How to Write YA by Seth Fishman from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “…how do adult writers, so far away from the source, successfully manage to create believable teen characters? …I’ve written a couple YA novels now and have a few handy hints for those aspiring writers who want to give it a go.”

Five Agents Share What Makes Them Stop Reading Sample Pages from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek from Suzie Townsend: “This might sound harsh, but I stop reading when I’m not hooked. Which means: I read the first line. If I’m interested, I read the second line. If I’m still interested, I read the third line, and so on.”

Black History Month: Interracial Teens in Historical Fiction by Diane Colson from YALSA. Peek: “These mixed race children have had to work out their place in society for hundreds of years. The books listed below focus on the choices available to teens of mixed white and black heritage.”

Ten Positive-Aging Picture Books for Pre-schoolers by Lindsey McDivitt from A is for Aging, B is for Books. Peek: “…internalizing positive images of getting older is more strongly linked to longevity than a low-fat diet or daily exercise, especially when we begin in childhood.”

Embracing Failure by Ginger Johnson from Quirk and Quill. Peek: “Rejection can be a slippery slope into a deep chasm of self-doubt and fear. As a matter of self-preservation, we’re advised not to dwell on our failures, our rejections, our bad reviews. That’s good advice. However…” See also When Publishing (Or Life) Has You Down on the Mat, Answer the Bell by Tiffany Trent from Adventures in YA Publishing.

Giving Up Our Stories from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: “My best stories aren’t the ones that give answers, the ones that support my most passionately held certainties. They are the stories that ask the hardest, most-difficult-to-entertain questions.”

Illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Do Great Work and the Rest Will Follow by Shadra Strickland from The Horn Book. Peek: “…interviewers would ask questions like, ‘Why do you only paint black people?’ To which I would reply: My choice of characters isn’t what defines my style; it’s how I paint them and the world around them. Would you ask a white male artist why he doesn’t paint black people?'”

Multicultural Children’s-YA Books Action List from CCBC-Net Discussion, compiled by Sarah Hamburg (with additions by Debbie Reese) from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “…how people could advocate for more books that are representative of all the peoples who, in some way, are part of the United States.”

Surviving the Cancelled Contract by Nicole Maggi from The Writing Barn. Peek: “…I’d been asked to do endless (unnecessary) edits and my acquiring editor had left. I never felt like my new editor was on board. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to get that awful call from my agent. But it was devastating.”

Interview with Renowned Publisher Neal Porter on the Current State of Picture Books by Leonard S. Marcus from The Horn Book. Peek (on picture e-books): “I think they are not going much of anywhere. The fact remains that there has yet to be a platform that is as effective from a cost point of view as well as from a delivery point of view as the physical book.”

You Are Not Lazy from Elizabeth O. Dulemba. Peek: “They’ve said I’m not lazy…and I relish the declaration. But it’s only true when it comes to those things, because those are the things I care about. And for them, I will never have enough time and never put in enough effort. Whereas for somebody else, it might be drudgery.”

How Manuscript Auctions Work by Deborah Halverson
from DearEditor. Peek: “The agent contacts the chosen publishers,
pitches the project, and explains the rules and timeline. It’s usually
blind, with the editors knowing the number of houses involved but not
the names.”

CLA Book of the Year for Children Short List

Short Lists Announced for the Canadian Library Association 2014 Book Awards from The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Peek: “…shortlists for its three Canadian children’s book awards — the CLA Book of the Year Award for Children, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award and
the CLA Young Adult Book Award.” Note: Ten books are listed for each award.

Why Playing It Safe May Be the Most Dangerous Game of All by Emma D. Dryden from Dryden Books. Peek: “Where but in stories can we allow our youngest readers to not play it safe, to try new things, to explore, to roam, to make mistakes and make amends, to reach higher, deeper, and further than we ever thought possible? And where but in stories can we allow ourselves the very same?”

If Writers Wrote Every Scene Like a Sex Scene by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker. Peek: “…let’s talk about details and at what point your reader stops reading and starts noticing that you’re cramming every sentence with far too many of them.”

Connecting Science and Poetry by Sylvia Vardell from Poetry for Children. Peek:”Pairing science-themed nonfiction or informational books and poetry may seem to be an unlikely partnership at first, but these two different genres can complement one another by showing children how writers approach the same topic in very different and distinctive ways.”

After the Call: a blog series from Caroline Richmond. Peek: “…chronicles what happens after you get an offer of representation from a literary agent. For instance, how do you choose between multiple offers? How do you communicate with your new agent? And what is the revision process like?”

SCBWI Golden Kite & Sid Fleischman Awards

Golden Kite Award Winners

Golden Kite Honor Recipients

Sid Fleischman Award for Humor: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (Arthur A. Levine)

Note: “The Golden Kite Awards and the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor will be presented to the winners at the Golden Kite Luncheon during the Society of Children’s Book Authors & Illustrators’s Annual Conference on Writing and Illustrating for Children, taking place in Los Angeles, California. An Honor Book plaque is also awarded in each category.”

2014 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

Winner: Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet, written by Andrea Cheng, with woodcuts by the author (Lee & Low).

Honor Books:

Note: “This prestigious award is named for Lee Bennett Hopkins, the internationally renowned educator, poet, anthologist and passionate advocate of poetry for young people. Selected by a panel of teachers, librarians and scholars, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was the first award of its kind in the United States. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Penn State University Libraries and Lee Bennett Hopkins share joint administration of the annual award.” See more information.

Lambda Literary Award Finalists

Note: “Now in their twenty-sixth year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2013. Winners will be announced during a ceremony on Monday evening, June 2, 2014, at The Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th Street, New York City 10003).”

Children’s Africana Book Awards

Best Books for Older Readers

Best Books for Young Children

Note: “Collectively CABA winners show that Africa is indeed a varied and multifaceted continent. CABA titles expand and enrich our perspectives of Africa beyond the stereotypical, a historical and exotic images that are emphasized in the West.” See more information. Source: Monica Edinger.

Scottish Children’s Book Awards

From Scottish Book Trust: “A record breaking number of votes – over 38,000! – were cast to choose the winners, who took to the stage at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library on 5 March to present their books and receive their prizes.” See more information. Source: Bookshelves of Doom.

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win a signed and personalized copy of Robot Burp Head Smartypants! (Candlewick, 2014) and a set of alphabet-and-numbers foam stickers. Author sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Enter here. Note: scroll through the photos to the entry form at the bottom of the post.

Check out the OneFour Kidlit Preview & Seven-Book Giveaway at Adventures in YA Publishing.

Check out the One-Year Anniversary Giveaway from Diversity in YA. Seventeen winners will each receive a prize pack of four books. Eligibility: U.S. addresses only. Deadline: March 31.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond (Scholastic) from YA Highway. Peek: “What if Hitler Had Won World War II?”

More Personally 

Lucky me! I had a terrific lunch on Ash Wednesday with Austin SCBWI RA Samantha Clark and author Lesléa Newman at Z’Tejas on 6th Street in Austin.

See Lesléa‘s recent post, In Writing I Trust.

This week’s big event was the launch party for Varsha Bajaj‘s debut novel Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood (Albert Whitman, 2014) at Blue Willow Books in Katy/Houston, Texas.

With Varsha Bajaj; see more pics & learn more about the novel!
Clowning around at Mabis Patisserie in Houston.

I’m on a revision deadline for Feral Pride (Book 3 in the Feral series). First, I’m streamlining the antagonists’ logistical situation and then I’ll move to my protagonists’ interpersonal dynamics.

Congratulations, Laney!

Congratulations to Laney Nielson winner of the Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award and cheers to all the finalists!

Congratulations to Clint G. Young — Illustrator on his new official website. If you’re not already a fan of Clint’s work, you should really click the link and be wowed. Really, it’s breathtaking.

Cheers to Read Across America and World Book Day!

Interview with Bestselling Author Cynthia Leitich Smith by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf. Note: Get the scoop on my preferred apocalypse, legacy, hidden messages, theme song and more!

What Surprised Me in Writing the Feral Series? Find out from YA Series Insider.

Personal Links

Typewriter Cake by Akiko White
Preview the new Feral Curse & Feral Nights audio books (Brilliance) from Ambling Books.

Cynsational Events

The SCBWI-OK Conference will be March 29 in Oklahoma City. Speakers are: Liza Kaplan, Editor, Philomel; Melissa Manlove, Editor, Chronicle; Andrew Harwell, Editor, HarperCollins; Colleen AF Venerable, Design Editor, First Second and author of Guinea PI series; Kristin Miller-Vincent, Agent, D4EO Literary Agency; Tricia Lawrence, Agent, Erin Murphy Literary. See more information and registration.

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers will be held June 16 to June 21 at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. Keynote speaker: James Dashner; faculty includes Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith. Learn about the WIFYR Fellowship Award. See also Alison L. Randall on Choosing a Writing Conference.