Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

A Conversation with Author-Illustrator Matt Travers by Lila Quintero Weaver from Latin@s in Kidlit. Peek: “Once all my sketches are approved by my art director (after a couple rounds of revisions, usually), I start working on the final illustrations. That part usually takes four to six months. The whole process, from start to finish, can take nine months to a year, depending on the book.”

Tropes About People with Hearing Loss by Cristina Hartman from Disability in Kidlit. Peek: “Predictably, many of the tropes relating to D/deaf and hard of hearing characters deal with communication methods and degree of hearing loss. Most, if not all, of these tropes have to do with people’s assumptions and wishful thinking about hearing loss.”

Productive Procrastination by Maggie Hall from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: “The key is to have a list of everything I have to do nearby, and instead of letting myself drift away to the black hole of the internet when I have the urge to procrastinate, I tick off these other tasks one by one.”

Purging the Fear by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: “Sadly, for every person reading this post, fear (at some level) is an issue that must be addressed. It stifles creativity, encourages negativity, and exponentially increases our chances of failure. It’s a toxin that poisons us on a basic, human level. And it’s death to the writing process.”

Andrew Smith to Head Children’s Books at Abrams, Susan Van Metre Gets New Role by Claire Kirch from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Smith is a children’s publishing industry veteran who has worked for Hachette Book Group for the past 10 years. Since 2013, Smith served as deputy publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where he led the company’s efforts to increase its market share in licensed property publishing. Before joining Hachette, Smith was v-p of sales at Candlewick and v-p of marketing at Random House Children’s Books.”

KidLit Community Auction for Betsy and John MacLeo: “Recently one of our own in the KidLit community, Betsy MacLeod, and her husband John, were dealt a cruel blow when John was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). …John and Betsy are faced with enormous and mounting medical expenses, many of which are not covered by insurance. To help them financially and in spirit, we are offering wonderful items through this online Kidlit Auction, which will run from March 17 to March 30.” Items include “signed books, artwork, (editor/agent/author) manuscript critiques, vacation homes from Vermont and Cape Cod to Scotland.”

Dear Mrs. Cleary by Varian Johnson from The Horn Book. Peek: “I didn’t understand all the humor in the book at the time — and actually I was pretty ticked off that Mr. Henshaw didn’t write back very much — but I loved how Leigh Botts was turning into a writer. A real writer.”

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith, Austin Regional Conference Faculty, from Austin SCBWI. Peek:

“Remember that the world of children’s-YA literature is a small one. Err toward the professional over the petty. If you don’t find much to like in someone, seek out what you can respect–if only it’s that you have kid lit in common. Forgive readily. Give yourself–and everyone else–permission to stumble. Offer a hand up, even to those who’ve slighted you. Each of all us, all of us, need one another to offer our young readers the high quality of literary art that they deserve.”

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