Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith, Robin Galbraith,
Gayleen Rabukukk & Kate Pentecost

Author/ Illustrator Insights

Donna Janell Bowman and Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words! By Adi Rule from The Launch Pad. Peek:

“Initially, I was a bit nervous about shining a light on an event that Lincoln himself was ashamed of, until I read his law partner’s recollection that Lincoln complained that biographies magnified perfections and suppressed imperfections.”

Author Q&A With Mystic Writing Debbi Michiko Florence by Nancy Burns-Fusaro from The Westerly Sun. Peek:

“I love mochi, a Japanese chewy treat! Knowing that traditionally, it is the men who pound mochi and the women who roll the mochi, I wondered what would happen if a little girl wanted to do the man’s job of pounding the mochi? Would her family allow her to?”

Michelle Leonard: Author and Bookseller at Quail Ridge Books from Emily Colin. Peek:

“It’s very exciting when your book’s available for preorder, but consider suggesting that friends, family, and fans order from their local bookstore or yours. You can locate local bookstores through Indiebound. Consider contacting local bookstores first and share their preorder links… instead of Amazon’s. Ask others to do the same.”

 Interview with Neal Shusterman from the Cybils. Peek:

“I write very visually. I tend to see the book like a movie in my head. The great part about writing a novel, however, is that you can really get into the character’s minds, and you can use language in a way you can’t in films.”

Rita Williams-Garcia

StoryMakers with Rita Williams-Garcia from KidLit TV. Peek:

“Award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia chats about her new book Gone Crazy in Alabama and shows us her very own childhood diaries!”

Coffee and Conversation with Laura Shovan! By Laura Bowers from As the Eraser Burns. Peek:

“I joined SCBWI in 2003 and signed with my agent in 2014. It [path to publication] was slow, and then very fast. Two weeks after I signed with Stephen Barbara, we had offers on my debut novel.” 


2018 Walter Award Book Giveaways from We Need Diverse Books. Peek:

“Our next book giveaway for classrooms is online now through April 30th, 2018.”

A New Generation of African-American-Owned Bookstores by Alex Green from Publishers Weekly. Peek:

“After a steep decline, the number of black-owned independent bookstores is growing.”

Submissions Now Open For Our New Voices And New Visions Award Writing Contests for Authors of Color from Lee & Low. Peek:

“This year, we’re opening submissions for our nineteenth annual New Voices Award and our sixth annual New Visions Award a month early. That means submissions for both awards are now open!”

Patrice Caldwell Believes Book Publishing Needs More People of Color, So She Founded an Organization to Make It Happen by Kerri Jarema from Bustle. Peek:

“The founder of the organization People of Color in Publishing — which started as a closed Facebook group for people of color who are working or want to work within book publishing — works each and every day to give POC the resources they need to make headway in the industry.” 

CCBC 2017 Statistics on LGBTQ+ Literature for Children & Teens from CCBlogC. Peek:

“In 2017, we expanded our CCBC diversity statistics to include books with LGBTQ+ content and/or characters, and the results have been both fascinating and eye-opening.”

A Culturally Responsive Approach to Earth Day: Key Questions for Classroom Discussion by Lindsay Barrett from Lee & Low. Peek:

“…an important element of both culturally responsive teaching and research-based practices for encouraging activism in students is to establish connections between students’ learning and their own lives and communities.”

Writing Craft

Make Your Writing Anxiety Disappear By Thinking Small by Jane Anne Staw from Jane Friedman. Peek:

 “Leaving too much time allowed the anxiety to creep in, and to avoid that feeling, I did anything but write.”

How Will Your Setting Affect Your Fight Scene by Jenilyn Collings from Thinking Through Our Fingers. Peek:

“…a martial arts class…pulled out the ground mats to simulate fighting on top of a building. The rules were that the first person to step off the mat lost..(fell off the building). Suddenly these boys, who had spent years kicking and punching together, completely changed their fighting styles.”

When You’re Not Okay: A Mental Health Checkup for Writers by Kim Bullock from Writer Unboxed. Peek:

“…writers in particular were common among sufferers of schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and substance abuse, and were almost fifty percent more likely to commit suicide than the general population.”

How Writing in Chunks Can Make You a More Productive Writer by Janice Hardy from Fiction University. Peek:

“Writing in chunks is a nice mix of plotter and pantser that pulls the best from both drafting styles. It allows you to be as spontaneous as you want, and or organized as you want, while still maintaining a framework to write in.”


Delaying an Agent Submission by Mary Kole from Kid Lit. Peek

“Writers are humans. They are, whether you want to think so or not, vulnerable to the quirks of human nature. And one of those foibles is impatience.”

How to Handle An Offer of Representation by Nathan Bransford from his blog. Peek:

“Don’t immediately yell, ‘Yes, Dear Lord, Yes’ even if you really want to. Take your time to make sure it’s the right fit.

If Graphic Novels Are Hip for Adults, Why Not Picture Books? by Bruce Handy from The New York Times. Peek:

“…the best picture books, far from being baby food, display a pictorial sophistication that puts many graphic novels to shame; think of them as visual haiku, an art form of juxtaposition and implication, bright colors notwithstanding.”

There’s No Female Conspiracy in Publishing —Your Book Might Just Not Be Good by Lauren Spieller from The Guardian. Peek:

“…I’m rejecting their books because they aren’t ready for publication in my eyes, or because the book simply isn’t my cup of tea.”

Skyhorse Reorg Results in Cutting of Children’s Staff by Emma Kantor from Publishers Weekly. Peek:

“As part of the restructuring, the publisher is cutting its workforce by approximately 20%, eliminating 16 full-time positions out of 77, including all four full-time editors who worked exclusively at its children’s imprint, Sky Pony Press.”

Cyn Note: Our condolences to all those who lost their jobs and those whose books are orphaned.


The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2018 Edition from Bank Street. Peek:

“The Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education strives to guide librarians, educators, parents, grandparents, and other interested adults to the best books for children published each year.”

This Week at Cynsations

Enter the Giveaway!
More Personally- Cynthia

Thank you for your ongoing readership of Cynsations! March 2018 was the all-time second highest traffic month (74,290 page views) after an all-time high in October 2014 (81,706 page views).

Have you been following our popular Suvivors Interview Series, featuring insights from children’s-YA authors who’ve actively published over the long haul?

I love this quote from our latest installment with author Martine Leavitt (shown above):

“I have had the privilege of writing what I needed to write, saying what I needed to say, playing my brains out, and putting whatever graffiti I wanted on the wall of the universe.

“My work is witness. That is the only success I can truly say I own, but I own it with my whole soul.”

Rock on with your awesomeness, Martine!

Attention, SCBWI Members! It’s time for round one of the vote for the Crystal Kite winner from your region. Login to the website, click on “My Home,” and then click “Vote in the Crystal Kite Awards” at the bottom of the left column. Good luck to all the nominees!

Personal Links- Robin