Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith & Gayleen Rabakukk

45 Books to Counter Islamophobia Through Stories from Kita B World. Peek: “…we invite you to fight fear with knowledge. In the same spirit of solidarity, we ask – can you help us take these books to as many children as possible in homes, schools, libraries and communities? We are a small team but with these resources, we are offering you a way to have conversations about diversity, address fears, and create a sense of belonging and respect as we all raise the next generation of leaders.”

CCBC Multicultural Statistics for 2016 from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, analysis of approximately 3,400 children’s books published last year. Peek: “Two broad categories–Asian/Pacifics and Latinos–saw a notable jump in numbers this year for both ‘by’ and ‘about.’ The numbers for African and African Americans and First/Native Nations remained disappointingly static or dropped. Those mixed numbers reflect our mixed feelings: It’s both an both an exciting and frustrating time for multicultural literature advocates.”

Nine Statistics That Writers Should Know About Amazon from Jane Friedman. Peek: “Since 2013, the traditional book publishing industry has enjoyed about a 3% increase in print book sales. However, print book sales have grown largely because Amazon sold more print books.”

On the Use of Sensitivity Readers in Publishing by Christine Ro at Literary Hub, including perspectives from writer Becky Albertalli, reader Sangu Mandanna and publisher Stacy Whitman of Tu Books at Lee & Low. Peek: “Whitman advises authors to plan enough time with sensitivity readers early enough in the writing process so that major developmental changes can be made if needed. Otherwise, a sensitivity read could become a bandage, applied retroactively, when preventive medicine would have been more appropriate.”

Day 13: Ibi Zoboi at the Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “Why not a blockbuster book featuring a black girl that not only saves herself or her community, but saves the world? How about a love story featuring two black characters where no one dies?”

Want to raise empowered women? Start in middle school by Phyllis Fagell for the Washington Post. Peek: “It’s important that parents encourage girls to take credit for their work….girls worry about coming across as arrogant and just want to fit in, but the problem is that they start to believe their own rhetoric and experience self-doubt.”

Priscilla Chaves and the Art of Designing Book Covers by Sarah Johnson on Through The Tollbooth. Peek: “…I research ideas and look for images and typography that will work well on the cover.”

Brazos Valley Blooms: Celebrating Our First 25 Years Creating for Kids from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 4 in College Station, Texas.

Not Writing for Writers by Allie Larkin from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Many of the writers I know have hobbies and habits that fuel their writing either directly or indirectly. And, because I love talking to writers about how they tick, I reached out to some friends to ask how their non-writing time fuels their writing.”

Long-awaited Philip Pullman series The Book of Dust revealed by Heloise Wood for The Bookseller. Peek: “Pullman said the book was neither a prequel or a sequel. ‘In fact, The Book of Dust is… an ‘equel’. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it,’ he said. ‘It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before.’

Cynsational Awards

Congratulations to NAACP Image Award winners Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks, illustrated by Colin Bootman (Lee & Low, 2016) and Jason Reynolds As Brave As You (Simon & Schuster, 2016). See also, Black Scientists who Changed the World by Gwen Glazer, a biography list from the New York Public Library.

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaway

More Personally

With my literary agent, Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Wow! What a whirlwind week! I’m home again, after a wonderful time visiting second graders in conjunction with An Open Book Foundation, dining with my VCFA family at AWP, and touristy trips to the National Museum of the American Indian, National Air and Space Museum, and National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Social Media panel with Martha Brockenbrough, Travis Jonker & Matthew Winner 

From there–after two Delta flights cancelled for weather–I hopped onto Amtrak for the 18th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, where I spoke at a a PAL program session on Career Building, participated in a panel on Social Networking, and led a workshop on writing diverse characters and topics. It was a wonderful experience all around, filled with learning, inspiration and connecting with old and new friends. See my tweet deck for quotes and more photo coverage.

Thanks to Open Book, VCFA, SCBWI, and everyone who attended my programs! See also Twitter Highlights & Resonate Moments of #NY17SCBWI by Lee Wind and Cynthia Leitich Smith & Ellen Hopkins Workshop by Martha Brockenbrough from The Official SCBWI Blog

Now, I’m happy to be reading for my graduate students and rebooting my life here in Austin.

In other news, Bethany Hegedus will mentor the winner of the 2017 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award. Critiques submitted for the annual Austin SCBWI conference are considered by conference faculty who nominate a manuscript for the award. The nominated writers make up the finalists announced at the conference. Finalist manuscripts are then submitted to Bethany, who will choose the winner.

Reminder: Entries are still being accepted for the Katherine Patterson Prize, being judged this year by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Deadline is March 1.

Personal Links

More Personally – Gayleen Rabakukk

The Lego Batman Movie helped me get in touch with my inner child.

Personal Links