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Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith, Gayleen Rabukukk, Stephani Eaton and Gail Vannelli for Cynsations

Author/Illustrator Insights

Interview with Kevin Noble Maillard by Daryl Grabarek from School Library Journal. Peek: “I also set up a Tumblr page for Juana (Martinez-Neal, illustrator), and I would post pictures that I thought were important. Old pics of my family—like the one of the fancy aunt—necklaces,

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Author Interview: Bethany Hegedus on Crafting Picture Book Biographies With Heart

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Bethany Hegedus is an award-winning writer and a tireless champion of encouraging others to push beyond their fear and obstacles. I’m very excited to share Bethany’s insight on tackling tough subjects and writing from the heart with Cynsations readers!

Her newest book, Rise: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou, illustrated by Tonya Engel (Lee &

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New Voices: Caitlin Lochner & Nina Moreno on What Inspired Their YA Debuts

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Caitlin Lochner author of A Soldier and a Liar (Swoon Reads, 2019) and Nina Moreno author of Don’t Date Rosa Santos (Disney-Hyperion, 2019) talk about what inspired their YA debuts and the perseverance needed in the writing life.

Caitlin Lochner

Please describe your pre-publication craft apprenticeship. How did you take your writing from a beginner level to publishable?

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Author Interview: Elizabeth Rusch on Balancing Multiple Projects

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Elizabeth Rusch is an accomplished author who joins us today to discuss her newest picture book and share insight on juggling multiple projects.

Congratulations on Glacier on the Move, illustrated by Alice Brereton (West Margin Press, 2019)! It joins a long list of your other titles that includes both fiction and nonfiction, picture books, and even a middle grade graphic novel.

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New Voices: Meredith Davis & Nicole Valentine On Being An Author

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to introduce two debut authors to the Cynsations audience today. I met both at Vermont College of Fine Arts several years ago while we were all working on MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Both write middle grade, but their books are very different, illustrating the depth and diversity that exists in children’s literature.

Meredith Davis is the co-author of Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight To Walk (Scholastic,

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SCBWI’s Third Annual Literacy Initiative Gives Books, Builds Dreams, and Offers Hope to Readers In Need

The members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators join forces once again as part of the organization’s third Annual SCBWI Books For Readers book drive and literacy event to collect, curate, and donate new books created by its members to one of its two 2019 recipients: the Madison Reading Project in Madison, Wisconsin. (The other is REACH in Portsmouth, Virginia.)

The SCBWI Books for Readers literacy initiative grew from the organization’s desire to create an opportunity for its members to make an important impact in the lives of readers,

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Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith, Gayleen Rabukukk, Stephani Eaton and Gail Vannelli for Cynsations

Author/Illustrator Insights

Nikki Grimes Explains Why Mental Illness Is Not A Weakness by Vanessa Willoughby from School Library Journal. Peek: “[W]eakness is precisely the way we view mental illness. It becomes something to hide, rather than something to talk about, or even acknowledge. However,

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New Cynsations Reporter Linda Joy Singleton

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Linda Joy Singlton joins the Cynsations team as an at-large reporter covering children’s-YA writing, illustration, publishing and other book news from the world of children’s literature.

Welcome to Cynsations! Could you tell us about your vision for your coverage here at the blog? Why did you decide to take on this role in the conversation of books?

Cynsations has been so supportive of my books over many years,

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New Voices: Former Teachers Bea Birdsong & Vivian Kirkfield Discuss Their Storytelling Journeys

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am thrilled to get to introduce Cynsations readers to Bea Birdsong and Vivian Kirkfield, two former teachers turned writers.

With their background in education and having spent years reading to children, it is no wonder that their passion is writing the absolute best stories that they can for kids.

Bea Birdsong

In terms of publishing,

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Native Voice: Traci Sorell on At the Mountain’s Base & Indian No More

By Kim Rogers

For my first interview with Cynsations, I welcome author Traci Sorell! First off, so:ti:c?a to you and Cynthia Leitich Smith for this opportunity. I am thrilled and honored to join Cynsations as a reporter covering Native books for children and teens.

Traci, your debut picture book, We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge,

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