Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith & Gayleen Rabakukk

Poeta Rebelde by Guadalupe Garcia McCall from Latinxs in Kid Lit. Peek: “Poetry gives voice to my fears. It allows me to express my concerns with bold and powerful words.” See also Kwame Alexander & Nikki Grimes on the Power of Poetry from Publishers Weekly.

How to Use IBM’s WATSON Artificial Intelligence to Improve Your Writing — For Free by Martina Boone from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: “You can paste in a chapter of your work, or someone else’s work, and get immediate feedback on everything from the emotions displayed.” Text is analyzed both at the document and sentence level for emotion, language style and social tendencies.

Cooperative Children’s Book Center releases best-of-the-year list. Final CCBC Choices publication will be available March 4.

Can Poetry Keep You Young? Science Is Still Out, But The Heart Says Yes, by Ina Jaffe from NPR Morning Edition. Peek: “The early evidence suggests that the arts have positive cognitive, social, and emotional impacts on older adults.”

The Significance of Small Gestures by Vaughn Roycroft from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “We storytellers wield a mighty power to move people. We became storytellers because of our empathy—our intense desire not just to explore how others see and feel things, but to convey those outlooks and emotions to even more folks.”

Where to Find Opportunities to Teach (and Supplement Your Writing Income) by Eric Maisel from Jane Friedman’s blog. Peek: “Once you embrace the idea that running classes, workshops and retreats might be something you actually love and not just a revenue stream and a way to help you cobble a life, you may feel your enthusiasm grow.”

Rita Williams Garcia by Varian Johnson for 28 Days Later from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “Rita writes about real people in the real word. When I see the Gaither girls, I see my sister. My cousins. My daughters. Rita creates characters–Black characters–that showcase who we are and who we can be.”

Agent Spotlight Interview with Linda Camacho and Query Critique Giveaway by Natalie Aguirre from Literary Rambles. Peek: “My tastes are pretty broad, ranging from clean and lighthearted to edgy and dark. Diversity of all types (ethnicity, disability, sexuality, etc.) welcome, particularly #ownvoices projects!” Also, meet Linda in person at the Austin SCBWI Conference, May 20 and May 21.

A New Phase of ‘Goodnight Moon’ by Sarah Lyall from The New York Times. Peek: “…soon there will be ‘Good Day, Good Night,’ a previously unpublished book by (Margaret Wise) Brown that can be read as part variation on, part expansion of Goodnight Moon (Harper, 1947).”

The Importance of the Adversarial Ally by Jeanne Cavelos from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “A character who only helps works against the needs of story. He makes things easier for the protagonist, reducing conflict, suspense, emotion, and putting less at stake.”

MG vs YA When YA Is So Much Older Now by Stacy Whitman from Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire. Peek: “There’s a certain kind of voice you expect from a YA book that tells you ‘this is about a teenage experience.’ It’s different from the exploring/discovery of the world voice we generally hear in MG—it’s more mature, sometimes more cynical. It’s not an adult voice, but it is no longer the voice of a child.”

Why YA Books with Muslim Protagonists Are More Important than Ever by Sheba Karim from Harper Stacks. Peek: “When I told classmates my parents were from Pakistan, a country born of carnage only a few decades earlier, hardly anyone knew where it was, let alone its history.”

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaway
More Personally – Cynthia

My latest geeky fashion acquisitions!

This week, I transitioned from writing teacher to writer. After grading my first-round VCFA packets, I read through my work in progress and began cutting. The manuscript was too heavy on character pontificating, too thin on plot. No more. Tomorrow, I begin deleting and then contemplate how I can take the action up a notch or ten.

Cynsational Events

Cynthia Leitich Smith will be speaking at the Austin SCBWI Marketing Boot Camp on Feb. 25 at the Round Rock, Texas Library. She is also a keynote speaker for the 33rd Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on April 6 and April 7 at Kent State University in Ohio. In addition, she will deliver the keynote address at The Color of Children’s Literature Conference from Kweli Literary Journal on April 8 at the New York Times Conference Center in Manhattan.

Personal Links

More Personally – Gayleen

I was honored to be a judge for Letters About Literature at the Texas State Library last Friday, along with several other members of the Austin kidlit community.  

Gayleen, Anne Bustard, Cory Putman Oakes, Nikki Loftin, Donna Janell Bowman and Rebekah Manley.

Personal Links