Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Get It Write This Summer from Nerdy Chicks Rule Summer School 2014. Peek: “Kidlit Summer School is a four week writer’s workshop that will run from July 21 through August 15. Because we (Kami (Kinard) and Sudipta (Bardhan-Quallen)) both enjoy teaching writing classes, we wanted to find a way to offer craft-based writing advice on a particular topic each summer. Our 2014 course is going to focus on writing great characters.”
Saying Something Simple by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: “Why do we have to twist ourselves into sentence pretzels and dive into the thesaurus to turn out a description that’s unlike any anyone has ever written?”
Speech! Speech! by Varian Johnson from Quirk & Quill. Peek: “Whether it’s for the Newbery, Printz, Boston Globe-Horn, or whatever, I love hearing authors talk about their process, or why they were drawn to write a book, or how, even with past success, each new book has its own traps and pitfalls.”
Swim Stroke Clinic by Marybeth Whalen from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Guess whose names I found on the stroke clinic list? The finalists from the big meet! Column after column, the names matched up.” See also Writers, What Are You Afraid Of? by Dan Blank from Writer Unboxed,
Four Characteristics of Author Attitude and Why You Need Them by Nina Amir from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “I have created an acronym to help you remember the four characteristics of Author Attitude. The acronym spells a word that recently has come into common culture: WOOT!”
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen Wins Kate Greenway Medal for Illustration from Candlewick Press. Note: “Published by the Walker Books Group – including Candlewick Press in the U.S. and Walker Books in the U.K. – Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat will go into the history books as the first ever title to win both the U.K.’s highest illustration honor with the Kate Greenaway Medal, and also win the most prestigious award for children’s book illustration in the US, the Randolph Caldecott Medal, which was awarded in 2013.”
Bid to Win a Phone Consultation with Literary Agent Anna Olswanger in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation’s online auction. Note: “…an international wildlife charity that works throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering.” According to Publishers Weekly, “After nine years at Liza Dawson Associates, Anna Olswanger has formed her own agency, Olswanger Literary, LLC. She and Liza Dawson Associates will continue to partner on selected projects.” Her focus will be picture books (author-illustrators only), middle grade fiction, and adult nonfiction.
Q&A with Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children’s Literature by Marieke from DiversifYA. Peek: “Biggest challenges I deal with are related to an overall lack of knowledge about who we were, and who we are.”
BookPeople’s Modern First Library Program by Chris Barton from The Bartography Express. Peek: “So we have put together some modern library starter kits to pair classic picture books that will never go out of style with a selection of other favorites that reflect the vibrant, global society of the 21st century. Perfect for baby showers or special occasions, we think these bundles make wonderful gifts for young readers ready to expand their collections or little ones just getting started. Come check out our display in the children’s section.” Note: BookPeople is an independent bookstore in Austin, Texas.
How Do You Reveal Character? by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog. Peek: “So revelation of characters, in my humble opinion, should be shown through the action they take in the various situations that the story requires them to move through.”
Speech! Speech! by Varian Johnson from Quirk & Quill. Peek: “I’m a junkie for speeches as well, especially author acceptance speeches (especially when I’m struggling with my own writing). Whether it’s for the Newbery, Printz, Boston Globe-Horn, or whatever, I love hearing authors talk about their process, or why they were drawn to write a book, or how, even with past success, each new book has its own traps and pitfalls.”
Q&A With Estela Bernal About Can You See Me Now? by Edith Campbell from Latinos in Kidlit. Peek: “Estela Bernal made her debut as an author this past May with Can You See Me Now? (Pinata/Arte Publico).”
Can I Bend Submission Rules for My Novel in Verse? by Deborah Halverson from DearEditor.com. Peek: “No one will think you’re trying to cheat if you single-space poems in a novel-in-verse submission.”
Happy Birthday, Helen Keller! by Carli Spina from The Horn Book. Peek: “To this day, Helen remains a popular subject for children’s literature with several new books about her life being released in the last few years.”
Five Surprising Ways Regret Can Deepen Your Hero’s Arc by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: “It’s grieving for what could have been. Even if there was nothing you could have done. But it also encompasses guilt, remorse, and contrition.”
- an autographed copy of Lupita’s First Dance/El primer baile de Lupita by Lupe Ruiz-Flores, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo (Arte Publico, 2013)(U.S.)
copies of Daughters of Two Nations, by Peggy Caravantes, illustrated by
Carolyn Dee Flores (Mountain Press, 2013) and Canta, Rana, Canta/Sing, Froggie, Sing by Carolyn Dee Flores(Piñata, 2013)(U.S.)
- two copies of Hung Up by Kristen Tracy or a copy of Lost It or a copy of Crimes of the Sarahs (all Simon Pulse)(U.S.)
- signed copy of Paint Me! by Sarah Frances Hardy (Sky Pony, 2014)(U.S.)
The winners of Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj (Albert Whitman, 2014) were Nikki in Texas and Deena in New York.
The winners of Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn by Greg Leitich Smith (Roaring Brook, 2014) were Robin in North Carolina and Jennifer in California.
Enter to win Call of the Klondike by David Meissner (this year’s Golden Kite Award winner in nonfiction) from Lee Wind at The Official SCBWI blog. Note: post also includes author interview.
This Week at Cynsations
- Ann E. Burg on Serafina’s Promise
- Janci Patterson on Writing Contests
- In Memory: Nancy Garden
- Shannon Wiersbitzky on Fiction as a Form of Truth
Check out my contribution to School Library Journal’s expanded discussion on diversity. My focus is on the sort of self-censorship we as an industry–we, including Native writers and authors of color–sometimes engage in, based on assumptions and predispositions about which books will be supported in the marketplace. Peek:
“Because of the reality—or at least the perception of it—that only certain kinds of books will be championed, writers set aside stories, editors reject submissions, marketing dollars are elsewhere allocated, and, ultimately, young readers are presented a largely monochromatic sliver of the literature—that should rightfully be varied and diverse—and are missing out on diverse heroes and stories that could propel them to a lifetime of avid reading.”
Last week’s highlight was teaching one of the advanced novel writing workshops at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers in Sandy, Utah. (I also gave two speeches and participated in a panel discussion.) This was my second time at WIFYR, and I absolutely loved the experience.
|The Salt Lake City area is gorgeous–and, yes, it did snow (and rain)!|
|My wonderful assistant Michelle Hubbard! (Can you spot the zebra in the photo?)|
|Soon-to-debut Courtney Alameda, with her agent John Cusick of Greenhouse Literary!|
|WIFYR Queen & author Carol Lynch Williams at conference sponsor Barbwire and Lace.|
|Advanced Novel Workshop classroom; photo by Corrinne Lewis.|
|Miss y’all already, WIFYR advanced novel writing class!|
|Who’s a chicken?|
|Love you, Carol!|
Speaking of Greg, the buzz continues to build for his new release, Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook, 2014).
|Greg and I celebrate with little green men!|
- Ms. Yingling Reads: “This has some very good twists and turns, so I don’t want to give any of those away. Keep a close eye on Mrs. Fleance, though– never underestimate a woman in a flowered bathing cap!”
- The ABC Writers Guild: “The characters are well- rounded, full of paranoia and angst, and funny. That’s what really makes the book a great read: it’s funny and fun.”
- And Sukasa Reads gives the novel 4/5 stars!
- Lindsey Lane (New Author Site!)
- Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) Backs Kansas Boy in Little Free Library Controversy
- Good Solution Emerges in Leawood’s Little Free Library Controversy
- George Lucas Chooses Chicago Over California as Site of New Museum
- #YesAllWomen Deserve More
- Deconstructing Daniel Tiger or Why Children’s Programming Is Freaking Me Out, Man
- Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children from Birth
- Cat Sneaks Into a Zoo & Becomes Friends with a Lynx
- This Is Your Brain on Writing
- VCFA WCYA Auction Catalog
- The Perplexing “Problem” of Romance
- Caribbean Children’s Books
Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will speak at the Writers’ League of Texas 2014 Agents and Editors Conference on June 28 at the Hyatt Regency Austin in Texas.
Research for Fiction, Non-fiction and Historical Fiction Writers from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 13 at The Austin Centre (3809 South 2nd St.) from Austin SCBWI. Speakers authors Cynthia Levinson and Greg Leitich Smith, author-librarian Jeanette Larson and Carolyn Yoder, senior editor at Calkins Creek Books, the U.S. history imprint of Boyds Mills Press, and senior editor at “Highlights.”
|Get to know Austin SCBWI; header by Marsha Riti|