cynsations

Cynsational Summer Hiatus

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Thank you, Cynsational readers, contributors, reporters, webmaster, and most of all, Cynterns, for your support, generosity and enthusiasm for our ongoing conversations!

Thsi blog is now officially on summer hiatus. We will return in the fall with more inspiration, insights and information on children’s-YA writing, illustration, literature and publishing.

In the meantime, keep up on all those topics with me on Facebook

Continue Reading Cynsational Summer Hiatus »

Guest Post: Mary Quattlebaum on Nonfiction, Connections & Environmental Change

By Mary Quattlebaum

At a recent book event, a little boy was nonplussed to discover that humans are animals, too.

“You mean, me?” he asked incredulously. “I’m an animal?”

Yup, welcome to the family!

I loved doing the research for Brother, Sister, Me and You (National Geographic, 2019), especially since this nonfiction picture book was inspired by my own tumble-bumble pack of three sisters and three brothers.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Mary Quattlebaum on Nonfiction, Connections & Environmental Change »

New Voices: Creative Rulebreakers Among the Notable 19s

By Traci Sorell

For those of us newer to the field of children’s literature, the numerous writing rules for various age groups and in different genres can feel overwhelming.

As one who appreciates the guidelines but also creatively breaks them when necessary, I am thrilled to welcome a group of rulebreakers to Cynsations.

Members of the Notable 19s, all débuting their first picture books this year,

Continue Reading New Voices: Creative Rulebreakers Among the Notable 19s »

Survivors: Michelle Markel on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Michelle Markel is a successful children’s author with a long, distinguished career.

Reflecting on your personal journey, what bumps did you encounter and how have you managed to defy the odds to achieve continued success?

Let’s cut to the chase. There was a major turning point in my career—when I nearly quit writing for children.

A little background: My first book,

Continue Reading Survivors: Michelle Markel on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author »

In Memory: Judith Kerr

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Judith Kerr, beloved and inspirational author and illustrator, died May 22 at home after a brief illness. She was 95.

Obituary: Judith Kerr from BBC News. Peek:

“She was still producing stories and illustrations well into her 90s.

Best known for The Tiger Who Came to Tea and a series of picture books about Mog the cat,

Continue Reading In Memory: Judith Kerr »

New Voices: Vivian Elbee & Hannah Holt on Persistence

By Traci Sorell

Today we’re chatting with picture book authors Viviane Elbee and Hannah Holt, both members of the Epic Eighteen debut group.

Viviane Elbee

Viviane Elbee, debut picture book author of Teach Your Giraffe to Ski (Albert Whitman, 2018), crafts a story that according to Kirkus Reviews “conceals a how-to for conquering one’s fears.”

Illustrated by Danni Gowdy and told in second person,

Continue Reading New Voices: Vivian Elbee & Hannah Holt on Persistence »

Guest Post: Lisa Papademetriou on Writing Tools

By Lisa Papademetriou

What are we to make of the knowledge that we share DNA with a banana?

No, I’m not kidding. All life on earth evolved from a single-celled common ancestor—our genes and banana genes are over 60 percent identical.

I love thinking about this because stories are the same. The cellular structure that underlies the vast majority of fiction is descended from an ancient ancestor,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Lisa Papademetriou on Writing Tools »

New Voices: Writing Partners Katy Loutzenhiser & Nicole Panteleakos Discuss Their Paths to Publication

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Writers spend a lot of time alone which is why it’s so important that writers find communities and support. There are lots of ways to do that.

It just so happens that the debut authors we are celebrating today are writing partners and have shared with each other the struggles and joys of the writing life.

Meet Katy Loutzenhiser,

Continue Reading New Voices: Writing Partners Katy Loutzenhiser & Nicole Panteleakos Discuss Their Paths to Publication »