Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Congratulations to Liz Garton Scanlon on the release of her debut novel, The Great Good Summer (Beach Lane, 2015)! From the promotional copy: 

Ivy and Paul hatch a secret plan to find Ivy’s missing mom and say good-bye to the space shuttle.

Ivy Green’s mama has gone off with a charismatic preacher called Hallelujah Dave to The Great Good Bible Church of Panhandle Florida. At least that’s where Ivy and her dad “think” Mama is. But since the church has no website or phone number and Mama left no forwarding address, Ivy’s not entirely sure. 

She does know she’s missing Mama. And she’s starting to get just a little worried about her, too. 

Paul Dobbs, one of Ivy’s schoolmates, is also having a crummy summer. Paul has always wanted to be an astronaut, and now that NASA’s space shuttle program has been scrapped, it looks like his dream will never get off the ground. 

Although Ivy and Paul are an unlikely pair, it turns out they are the perfect allies for a runaway road trip to Florida–to look for Mama, to kiss the Space Shuttle good-bye, and maybe, “just maybe,” regain their faith in the things in life that are most important.

More News & Giveaways

How To Meditate When You’re Too Busy to Meditate and Why You Should Care With Leo Babauta by Therese Walsh from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Fears are based on fantasies (I want to be an amazing writer who impresses everyone!) and the worry that they won’t come true. The antidote, in my experience, is to let go of the fantasies and just be present in the moment.”

I Am So Over Writing About “Strong Girls” from Kirby Larson. Peek: “Every time I write the words, ‘strong girl’ or ‘strong woman,’ I am implying that the default state of the female of the species is weakness. And I, of all people, know first hand that nothing could be further from the truth.”

Rewriting Again…and Again from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: “…the scariest question of all, was I using the quick-in, quick-out of verse as a way of avoiding exposing my own vulnerability?”

A Bi-cultural Narrative by Kim Baker from Latinos in Kidlit. Peek: “…people are often surprised to hear about my Mexican heritage. When people do find out (and I’m pretty open about it), sometimes we play stereotype bingo and they ask questions to see if I meet their preconceived qualifications (Do I have a big family? Yes. Do I like spicy foods? …Yes. Do I listen to mariachi? Please stop.).”

A Plea for Anger by Susan Vaught from Emu’s Debuts. Peek: “…positive, healthy things to do with anger, like exercise, or write a fiery speech or even an entire book, make a video, paint it out, write a bill to become law, walk away from a toxic person or situation, protest injustice–the list of healthy ways to spend anger is pretty limitless. Put it to work.”

Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary): Agent Looking for Diversity by Lee Wind from I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? Peek: “As a Londoner for most of my life, I come from one of the most racially diverse cities on earth. My sons went to schools where white kids were often in a minority and there was a huge racial mix. They had friends from all over the world, many were from first or second generation immigrant families, and my sons’ circles included Hindu, Muslim and Jewish children/teens.” See also Survey Seeks to Shed New Light on Publisher Diversity by Kathy Ishizuka from School Library Journal.

Change by Donald Maas from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Every change, big or small, knocks us readers off balance which in terms of emotional craft is good. Shake us out of our fog and our hearts open. We’re free to feel.”

Illustrator Shadra Strickland Takes Us Behind the Art of Sunday Shopping from Lee & Low. Peek: “The most challenging part of making the art for Sunday Shopping, was making sure that all of Evie and grandma’s ‘bought’ items were consistent in all of the small paintings. I had to draw the same small bits of paper in every scene as the wall of items grew and grew.” See also Lee & Low Announces 16th Annual New Voices Award from Lee & Low. Peek: “…given for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash prize of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500.”

A Writer’s Flexibility by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “…life has a way of twisting itself into a pretzel. Your well-planned life (and those of loved ones) takes many unexpected twists and turns. It happens to everyone sooner or later. And if you’ll bend a bit, the writing life allows you to be flexible as well, so you can keep your career and your sanity both.”

Will Awards Net More Author Visits? by Kim Norman from Cool School Visits. Peek: “I’ve always thought perhaps it would, so I posed the question to teacher and librarian friends on Facebook.”

When Your Scenes Is Dragging: Six Ways to Add Tension by Anna Elliott from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Whatever issue it is that your characters are arguing about– try to raise the stakes as much as you possibly can, so that the pressure on them to make the right decision is that much greater.”

Finding the Humor: Jokes in the Midst of Tragedy by Rochelle Deans from QueryTrackerBlog. Peek: “When you’re working with heavy themes, the most important thing to remember is that to your characters, there is no overarching theme. There are the present circumstances and what they’re doing about them, nothing else.” See also Send in the Clowns by Robert Lettrick from Project Mayhem: The Manic Minds of Middle Grade Authors.

Muslim Representation in YA Lit by Kaye M. from School Library Journal. Peek: “Muslims are a beautiful example of diversity, in ethnic background and in practice, denomination and interpretation. The essence of our faith rests in diversity and universal humanity, on bonding through similarities instead of being forced away from each other due to perceived differences.” See also #WNDB Chat on Religious Diversity Storify.

An Indigenous Perspective on Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Books in Australia by Ambelin Kwaymullina from The Wheeler Centre. Peek: “In relation to greater publication of Indigenous works, there is not only a lack of opportunities for authors, but a critical lack of Indigenous editorial expertise.”

Bid on critiques by top children’s-YA literature agents and editors to benefit Hunger Mountain: The VCFA Journal for the Arts and Vermont College of Fine Arts.

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of Anywhere But Paradise by Anne Bustard (Egmont/Lerner, 2015) were Karen in New York and Jenn in Wyoming.

More Personally

Celebrate Children’s Book Week with Eternal (Candlewick)!

The highlight of the week was the launch party for Anywhere But Paradise by Anne Bustard (Egmont/Lerner, 2015) at BookPeople in Austin!

By Cakelustrator Akiko White
With Shana Burg, Carmen Oliver, Meredith Davis, Debbie Gonzales, Lindsey Lane & Varsha Bajaj
Debbie, debut novelist Anne Bustard & Lindsey

I’m delighted to announce that Erik Niells of Square Bear Studio is in the midst of redesigning my official author website. Look for a more streamlined, device friendly and definitely updated site soon.

Congratulations to Yamile Saied Mendez on her New Visions Award honoree from Lee & Low and on signing with Linda Camacho from Prospect Agency. Cheers also to New Voices Award winner Axie Oh and Award honoree Andrea Wang.

Congratulations to Children’s Choice Book Awards Teen Choice Debut Author Jennifer Mathieu (The Truth About Alice (Roaring Brook))! See more on the winners.

Interview with YA Author Cynthia Leitich Smith from T.A. Maclagan. Peek (to debut authors): “You are courageous. You are living your dream. Breathe, breathe, breathe and laugh as much as you can.”

Personal Links

Learn more!

Cynsational Events

We Need Diverse Books YA Author Panel, moderated by Cynthia, will take place at 1 p.m. May 17 at BookPeople in Austin. Peek: “After the public event, the authors will host a writing workshop at BookPeople. Space for the workshop is limited.” RSVP ASAP.

Join Cynthia at 11 a.m. May 30 in conjunction with the YA Book Club at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.

Cynthia will serve as the master class faculty member from June 19 to June 21 at the VCFA Alumni Mini-Residency in Montpelier, Vermont.

Cynthia will speak from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 28 on an Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) program–“We Need Diverse Books: How to Move from Talk to Action Panel”–at the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco.
Learn more!

Cynthia will teach on the faculty of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts from July 8 to July 19.

Join Cynthia from July 30 to Aug. 2 at GeekyCon in Orlando, Florida. See more information.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will lead a YA Writing Retreat for A Room of Her Own Foundation from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Cynthia will lead a breakout session on “Diversity in Children’s and YA
Literature” Aug. 22 at East Texas Book Fest at the Harvey Hall
Convention Center in Tyler, Texas.

Cynthia will speak Sept. 19 at the Mansfield, Texas Book Festival.

Cynthia will speak Sept. 29 at Richardson Public Library in Richardson, Texas.

3 thoughts on “Cynsational News & Giveaways

  1. Thank you for the mention, dear Cyn! Thanks also for your interview of Linda a few posts back. That completely changed the course of my career! I queried her the day after I read the interview, and today I could finally announce I'm represented by her. Thank you!

Comments are closed.